Unburden the heart and forgiveSunday, July 12, 2020
IS there someone you really find it hard to forgive?
The truth is, human tendency is to get even and harbour resentment. This, thinking we may be hurting the offender, may hurt us more, since being unforgiving brings a heaviness of heart that weighs us down.
Imagine someone falling ill, even dying, with a person 'in' his or her heart? Worse if the sickness or death stemmed, in part, from the lack of forgiveness.
The stress when you don't forgive
An unforgiving spirit stresses the body. Stress, in turn, is cater-cousin to all sorts of bodily illnesses. Says mental expert Dr William S Sadler: “No one can appreciate so fully as a doctor the amazingly large percentage of human disease and suffering which is directly traceable to worry, fear, conflict... unwholesome thinking and unclean living.”
Bitterness, hate, spite, revenge, and resentment are caustic emotions akin to an unforgiving spirit. A healthy body is no place for these unhealthy emotions.
Heart skipping a beat
Seeing an offender may invoke feelings of bitterness that cause the heart to palpitate or to experience premature ventricular contraction. Having our hearts beat unsteadily because of people is not good for us. The heart must remain a lever free of encumbrances and the heavy weight of others so as to function optimally to pump and purge the blood.
Forgive, since we need forgiveness
We sometimes excuse our actions, saying it's human to err, yet find it hard to extend that reasoning to others. The sad reality is, it's just a matter of time before we do something to someone that requires forgiveness. Comparatively, we may even do something worse. For this reason, using our human frailty to overlook the actions of others is a kindness that fosters inner peace.
Not the easiest, but probably the best
Being grievously wronged can cause deep pain, and as hard as you try, forgiveness seems impossible, as you wonder how, if ever, you can forgive someone who viciously betrayed and hurt you. Tell yourself such feeling is not healthy and that you are choosing forgiveness, a healthier lifeline.
You should also forgive, if the person expresses that they are sorry. And even if they are not, still try to forgive for the sake of your heart and health.
Remember, forgiveness doesn't necessarily mean that things are now hunky-dory with you and the offender. It means you are able to let go of the situation that causes deep pain. Focusing on life over feelings that slowly poison the body can push you to forgive.
This world has too many burdens to be walking around with people 'in' our hearts. Resentment and bitterness are deathly shackles. Free up yourself. Remember, forgiveness doesn't, in and of itself, mean that things are business as usual, it means you have matured to the point of letting go of the situation causing hurt or causing a disquieting feeling of the heart.
Safeguard your heart and let nothing slow down or speed up its natural process. In this way, you would be safeguarding life.
Warrick Lattibeaudiere (PhD), a minister of religion for the past 22 years, lectures full-time in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Jamaica.
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