“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” ~Proverbs 17:22 KJV
In recent posts, we’ve been addressing the subject of how to forgive others, but now we must ask the question, why should we forgive others? Just understanding how to do something doesn’t necessarily give us the desire to do it. However, once we understand that we have a vested interest in this act of mutual forgiveness, we might be much quicker to forgive others.
Yes, there is a condition to receive forgiveness, it's determined by our willingness to give it. We should forgive others as we want to be forgiven. Why? Because this is what God uses as a measuring stick to our receiving His forgiveness.
“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” ~Matthew 7:2 NIV
We must become forgivers in order to be forgiven. However, this forgiveness thing goes far beyond the . . . we forgive/we get forgiven principle—not that that isn’t more than reason enough. There is yet another huge benefit to forgiving others, we will also be blessed in the here and now as well!
There are a number of both physical and psychological benefits to the act of forgiveness. By learning to let go of anger and resentment we will receive, what God calls, a merry or sound heart. We will experience less depression and anxiety, less stress and bitterness, as well as becoming more hopeful, confident, peaceful, and just plain happier!
Let’s take a closer look at some of these physical benefits. How about better health, both physical and mental? Everything from stronger immunity and quicker healing to drastically all around fewer health problems — fewer headaches, backaches, neck aches, insomnia, and even heart problems, the list goes on and on. Why do you think chronic illness is referred to as dis-ease? There are tons of Bible verses that correlate our spiritual heart condition to our physical health condition. In the Bible, the mind is literally referred to as the heart. Let that sink in!
“A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones.” ~Proverbs 14:30
Nevertheless, the biggest reason to forgive others is so God can also forgive us. If we can determine how much forgiveness we will receive according to how much we forgive others, we might want to consider forgiving everyone for everything unconditionally!
What is forgiveness…?
Forgiveness is letting go of our reaction to someone else’s words or actions. It’s the conscience act of allowing others to make mistakes. It’s forgetting what they’ve done to us and then turning it all over to God. We can’t ever forget, not until we give it up to God. By putting God in the mix we no longer have to be judge and jury, we can remove ourselves from the entire situation; forgive, forget, and just be happy.
Are you going in the right direction . . . are you following Jesus? He is the King of forgiveness. He forgives us even though we've all wronged Him by sinning.
In order to forgive someone, you don’t have to accept what they’ve done as acceptable behavior. Forgiveness doesn’t mean what the other person said or did is right. You’re simply making a choice not to live in a state of anger or resentment—you’re allowing them to make a mistake, and you’re consciously choosing to move on and forget.
Sometimes, especially when the guilty party doesn’t even try to change their behavior or apologize, it may seem impossible to forgive. But with the aid of the indwelling Spirit, you can choose to forgive and let it go, not allowing yourself to be obsessed with their wrongdoing or allowing it to continue to affect your life.
It’s said that it is easier to forgive an enemy than a friend. We expect to be hurt by our enemies, but not by our friends. When a friend does something mean, it hurts us far more than from a stranger. We instantly feel betrayed. These are the times we need to run to God for assistance. These are also the instances that are, nine times out of ten, nothing more than miscommunications.
Communication is difficult at best, especially in this day of emails, messaging, and texting. And honestly, this is one of Satan’s favorite ways to mess up relationships—to prompt people that care about each other to get angry and walk away. These are the times we need to swallow our hurt feelings, ask God for some help to find forgiveness, and quickly reconcile.
Anger is exhausting...!
I don’t want to waste any more time in a state of anger or upheave. If someone hurts my feelings, I usually say a silent prayer for them and simply move on. If someone I care about continues to be hurtful, I bring it to their attention as kindly as I can, and then give them, (and their unwarranted behavior) up to God.
When people act out inappropriately, there’s usually something going on in their lives that we don’t know about. They probably need our prayers more than we realize.
Our words are powerful! We all need to think twice before speaking. However, our emotions usually lead us into an argument when someone says something hurtful. Refrain from responding. Silently call to God for help, and then immediately pray for that person. You might be very surprised as to the results. God wants us to be at peace with everyone, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.
”Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” ~Matthew 5:23-24
Find forgiveness in your heart toward everyone. Give them up to God and He will take care of the situation far better than bombarding them with our anger-filled words.
I’m sorry, and I forgive you are two of the most powerful statements a person can speak, and also two of the least spoken. Sincere sorrow and genuine regret bring emotional healing and spiritual cleansing, and heartfelt forgiveness sets us free! Apologize when you are wrong, forgive often, and you will be blessed.
God has the perfect game plan for every situation. He wants us to freely forgive others and receive His blessing. Satan, however, wants us to get angry, argue, and turn away every relationship we have . . . because He knows there is great power in the joining of loving hearts. When we join together in loving relationships with other believers, God is also there to empower us.
”For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” ~Matthew 18:20
Now click here to learn "How do we forgive others?"