By Pr Patricia Ron
Forgiveness is a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or a desire for revenge against someone who has hurt you.
It is often given to someone who does not want or deserve your forgiveness.
The best forgiveness means that regardless of whether the offender deserves to be forgiven or not, you are ready to release the desire for revenge and move on with your life.
The offender does not have to accept your forgiveness, apologize, or admit that they hurt you for forgiveness to take place. Forgiveness is ultimately about you.
Why do we forgive?
When people experience the pain and anger associated with being hurt by someone, the question, “why should I forgive?” often comes to mind.
The idea of letting go of the hurt, and moving forward often seems both impossible and illogical.
However, there are several good reasons to release those feelings of resentment and to resist the temptation of allowing them to develop into unforgiveness.
- As Christians, we are called to forgive. In Ephesians 4: 26-27, Paul urges the Christians at Ephesus to release their anger and forgive. He writes: “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”
- Paul is encouraging the Ephesians to let go of their anger each day and not to give Satan an opportunity to turn their anger into unforgiveness.
It is important to note that Paul does not say their anger is a sin – the sin he is urging them to avoid is ruminating on that anger and allowing it to grow into unforgiveness.
- Forgiveness is a gift to yourself. Unforgiveness has been described as carrying around a red hot rock, intending to someday throw it back at the person who hurt you.
Forgiving allows you to release the burden of anger and pain and lay that hot rock down.
Forgiving the person who has hurt you gives you the freedom to move forward.
- Forgiveness can benefit your mind and body. Studies have shown that forgiveness reduces rates of anxiety and depression; contributes to better sleep, and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.
Unforgiveness puts a strain on your heart, mind, body; and over time, can negatively impact your health.
In conclusion, refusing to forgive is like taking poison and you expect your offender to be affected by that poison.
The writer is a pastor at Miracle World Ministries, Mukono.