You have to forgive to really live
By Emma Atkins
Many family practice doctors are discovering some extraordinary things about our health complaints. Almost ninety percent of all the complaints their patients tell them about in the examining room are stress related. In fact, many studies show over eighty percent of diseases, even cancers, are exacerbated by high stress levels, negative attitudes and over-extended lifestyles. We eat poorly, we sleep restlessly and our hormone levels begin yo-yoing. We put junk in to shove our emotions back down and do not replenish our bodies with nutrients such as acai berry antioxidants, calcium, vitamins and fiber.
Irritable bowel syndromes, headaches, high blood pressure and backaches can all begin with a little seed of discontent that can fester inside of us for years. That seed is called unforgiveness. Like the pea in all of those mattresses the princess could still feel, unforgiveness can irritate us deep down in our souls. But over time, if that princess was forced to sleep with that pea, she’d become so used to it she could not sleep without it. It’s the same with our unforgiving thoughts.
Maybe it’s the little things that build up over time. Perhaps it is a whopper such as abuse, abandonment or a false allegation. Maybe it is the unthinkable such as the act of death taking away the one we love. The bare bone harsh truth is twofold. First, “hurting people hurt people”, as Joyce Meyer is famous for quoting. Hurting people are focused on themselves more than the people they hurt. Perhaps it is a familial pattern or a way at getting back at someone they need to forgive. Yes, they are responsible for their actions. But, my friend, so are you. That is the second truth. You are the only one who can control how you react. Not your mom, your spouse, or your friends. You. And the longer you let negativity and hurt fester in you; sooner or later it will come out. Often it comes out in a physical way. You gain weight because you stress eat and the gut starts expanding and bloating. You can’t sleep in that deep restorative REM very long. You try not to let your moods be irritable so your bowels take over the job. I am not saying forgiving is easy. Far from it. It may be the most gut-wrenching, cleansing thing you ever do, but even through the painful process, it will be worth it. You need to realize that your unforgiveness is doing you more harm than they ever did to you. The longer you have lived with that unforgiveness, the longer it may take to release it from the grasp it has on you.
The Lord’s Prayer says “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those…” There is a reason that is in there along with asking for daily bread. Both are necessary for healthy living.