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Forgive and Forget

Posted by [email protected] on 6 April, 2021 at 16:50

Forgive and forget!

By Betsy Rodríguez MSN, DCES

Many people view forgiveness as an offshoot of love -- a gift given freely to those who have hurt you.

Forgiveness, however, may bring enormous benefits to the person who gives that gift. If you can bring yourself to forgive and forget, you are likely to enjoy lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system, and a drop in the stress hormones circulating in your blood. Back pain, stomach problems, and headaches may disappear. And you'll reduce the anger, bitterness, resentment, depression, and other negative emotions that accompany the failure to forgive.

Of course, forgiving is notoriously difficult. Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive. It is not an easy process. And sometime forgetting may not be a realistic or desirable goal.

Despite the familiar cliché, 'forgive and forget,' most of us find forgetting nearly impossible. Forgiveness does not involve a literal forgetting. Forgiveness involves remembering graciously. The forgiver remembers the true though painful parts, but without the embellishment of angry adjectives and adverbs that stir up contempt.

Forgiving (and Forgetting) Crushes Stress

Angry seems to carry serious consequences. As I said before, when focused on unforgiving responses, your blood pressure flow, your heart rates increase, brow muscles tense, and negative feelings escalate. By contrast, forgiving responses induce calmer feelings and physical pleasant responses. It appears that harboring unforgiveness comes at an emotional and a physiological cost. Cultivating forgiveness may cut these costs.

But how do we cultivate forgiveness? You can’t just forgive. However, you can create conditions where forgiveness is more likely to occur. There are specific practices that diminish hostility and self-pity, and increase positive emotions, so it becomes more likely that a genuine, heartfelt release of resentment will occur.

How to Encourage Forgiveness

I encourage you in the practice of gratitude -- the active effort to acknowledge what's good in your life. Gratitude is simply focusing your attention on the positive things that have happened and that creates a biochemical experience that makes it more likely that forgiveness will occur.

Stress management, whether through meditation, deep breathing, prayers or relaxation exercises, also helps quell the stress of anger and resentment

You can also change the story looking at you as a survivor who is hopeful about the future rather than as a victim with a grievance. You can change, 'I hate my husband because he didn't love me,' to, 'life is a real challenge for me because I didn't feel loved as a wife’. This statement makes forgiveness so much more possible.

The goal, however, is emotional forgiveness, in which negative emotions such as resentment, bitterness, hostility, hatred, anger, and fear are replaced with love, compassion, sympathy, and empathy. Reach for forgiveness- Revenge is based on powerlessness and it's doomed to failure.

I encourage you who are reading this blog to read the scriptures that offer biblical guidance on forgiveness and how important it is to forgive others as we have been forgiven by the blood of Christ. With the grace and mercy shown to us, we are always able to start new with God. When we repent, we are given full forgiveness of our sins because of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Considering our new beginning, God commands that in return, we forgive others and extend grace as we have been shown grace. It can be one of the hardest things we face in life! The pain and hurt others cause us is real and great. But, the pain of living with bitterness and unforgiveness can poison your soul and destroy you. When we forgive others, we are not saying what they did was OK, but we are releasing them to God and letting go of its hold on us. Forgiveness does not forget, but it does set free from bitterness and grudges.

Colossians 3:13- “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.




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