I have been on the other side of the law where I've had to apologize to persons for the wrong I did to them too. But the truth be told, "I forgive you," "I am sorry for what I did to you," these are among some of the hardest words in the English language to verbalize and rather than articulating them, persons are known to have stifled the words into non-existence. It is true that most of us can forgive and forget, but somewhere deep within, we just do not want the other person to forget that we forgave them. Over an extended period of time, this can have serious repercussions on both parties, especially the one/s transgressed against, and the unforgiveness can be experienced as negative emotions that result in a cascade of biological and brain responses.
How Often Do I Forgive?
Peter once asked the Lord how many times was he required to forgive his brother who had sinned against him. Then he supplied a possible answer to his own question. He said, "Till seven times?" From this Jesus gave a concise answer as 'seventy times seven,' then He elaborated in detail on the importance of forgiving others who have sinned against us. (Mat.18:21-22)
It took me many years to understand firstly and then put into proper perspective the words of Jesus that we forgive not just "until seven times but seventy times seven." Now if my calculation is correct that is 490 times. I found it even more difficult to comprehend His nature, that He being 100% human, is also God in His divine nature that in His final moments before His death upon the cross, He would let a bunch of Roman criminals (murderers) off the hook when He said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34)
Reality struck me indeed! The realization is this: It was not so much about the100% human nature of Jesus, a man who knew no sin, even though tempted like as we are - it has everything to do with His 100% divine nature as being God Himself and one of His many attributes being His natural ability to forgive us wretched men/women over and over again. It is what I call unlimited forgiveness that as often as we ask for forgiveness, He gives it to us. But that's God, He can do that. True I would say, but it is absolutely necessary for each one of us to walk in obedience and follow God's command to forgive others.
Unforgiveness! How Destructive Is It?
Catherine Ponder said, "When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steal. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free." In other words, when we choose not to forgive the persons who have transgressed against us, and when we choose not to even forgive ourselves for our past mistakes, failures, and when the frustrations of life gets the better of us and it is expressed through anger turned inside upon ourselves - we lock ourselves into an emotional prison with the person we refuse to forgive.
Research has shown that, "Holding on to hurts, grudges, annoyances, pet peeves or old wounds hurts the body, especially when the memories are triggered by current life events," this according to Duke University of Tennessee, and Stanford University. They confirmed a physiological link between negative emotional states like revengeful thinking and actions and how it produces stress on the body. They found that stress from revenge or hateful thoughts also lowers the immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to illness.
According to WebMD.com, while refusing to forgive may not directly cause disease, the negative impact of holding on through unforgiveness makes you more susceptible to succumbing to the dreadful illness of cancer. It is implied also that increased blood pressure, an increased level of stress hormones circulating in your blood stream, back pain, stomach problems and headaches has a strong degree of relation to anger, bitterness, resentment, depression, and other negative emotions that accompany the failure to forgive.
To be continued - stay connected and while you do:
"Power up your thoughts
Revolutionize your mind
Energize your life
Empower the world around you and at large
And witness the difference it makes"