In my life I have had, and still have, to forgive people for wrongs they do against me and move on from that, as these are people who I have to have regular dealings with. It can be difficult to maintain a godly perspective on forgiveness and I wouldn’t be human if I said that I don’t let my anger and resentment build up. But, in saying that, I have learnt how to let go and move on.
The forgiveness post I did back in July, 2008 set the scene for a whole new perspective on forgiveness for me. The trials I went through in the latter half of last year also did. I learnt to trust God and to move on. I also learnt to be more cautious in my dealings with the people who I’ve had “issues” with. I am too trusting at times, though, and do tend to let my guard down. But...no more!
I feel that it’s part of my battle plan that I incorporate strategic measures to ensure that I don’t become too trusting with some people, only to suffer their ire just because they may be having a bad day, or whatever the case may be.
Some internet research I did on forgiveness over the last week led me to a quote by Catherine Ponder, which I feel is relevant for tonight’s post –
“When you hold resentment towards another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”
I really like this quote! It is SO true! I could let unsavoury feelings about those who have wronged me well up and fester into resentment, which would then lead me down the wrong path - the worldly path. What I really like though is that not forgiving someone else actually means that there is an unseen, but very real, bond between you and the other person. And Ponder is right when she says that the “link is stronger than steel”. It can be life shattering.
This leads me to another discovery I made about forgiveness during the week – how it affects your health. Two links that I happened upon include Forgiveness and Health and an article by the Mayo Clinic Staff on Forgiveness: Letting go of grudges and bitterness. So not only is forgiving someone a godly requirement, but it is also good for your health!
I’ve been a strong believer over the years that resentment, anger, hurts and so on can manifest itself into physical conditions. Ailments include a chest infection from not getting something off your chest; shoulder aches from taking on an extra heavy and unnecessary burden, etc.
I do like the Mayo Clinic Staff article in how it ends with “Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life. As you let go of grudges, you'll no longer define your life by how you've been hurt. You may even find compassion and understanding.”
This is awe-inspiring stuff for someone who has been a victim, who has held onto a victim mentality (bearing in mind I now aspire to a victory mentality), and who does not want my life experiences to define who I am now. As for the compassion and understanding...that, for me, comes from Jesus.
Two of my favourite scriptures from 2009 are from Psalm 103 in the New Living Translation –
"3 He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases... 9 He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever."
There, in two verses, is why we should forgive. God forgave us and will heal our diseases, and He will let go and move on. If God can, so should we. How dare we undermine what He says and does by not doing it ourselves?
Not only is forgiveness freeing but it’s the chance to learn, grow and move on. It gives us the opportunity to live healthy lives, and it also helps us to see others through the compassionate and understanding eyes of Jesus.