Did you know that when we have unforgiveness it can lead to major health problems? I think so many of us believe that we can't forgive someone because they wronged us and they don't deserve forgiveness. However, when we have that attitude, we are only hurting ourselves, physically and emotionally. We need to forgive others because when you harbor unforgiveness it leads to resentment and bitterness which, in turn, wreaks havoc on our bodies. As it is stated within our Life Skills course, “When we choose not to forgive someone for their wrong, it is like taking poison and hoping the other person will die”. In most cases, the person with whom you have not been able to forgive doesn’t even know that you are still holding a grudge. In fact, they have probably long forgotten about the incident, if they even knew in the first place that there was an issue. Pretty amazing isn’t it? So much energy spent on “hating” someone and it only hurts you, not them.
From a Biblical standpoint, God’s Word tells us that “He will forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”. So, not only is it a mandate given to us by our Father in Heaven, it is the best thing to do for our own well being.
One of the things we recommend in Life Skills is to write a letter to the person you are having a hard time forgiving telling them how much they have hurt you, using as many specific feeling words as possible, as this really helps to pinpoint exactly how you feel. Next, tell them you are ready to forgive them and move on with your life. However, you DO NOT give the letter to the person! This is meant to help you process through your feelings and release yourself from the bondage that comes with unforgiveness. Many times, the person you need to forgive is not a safe person to talk to about your hurt or to share a letter with and then you put yourself into a position of just being hurt again. This is for your own health and well-being. Try it and see how much better you feel! You will be amazed at how much this helps you to heal and move on.
Melinda Eck is the Executive Director of Life Skills of Wisconsin, mother of 5 and grandmother of 6. She has been leading Life Skills Classes for both women and teens since 2009.