The Health Benefits of Forgiveness

The health of body, mind, and spirit are closely connected. The health of one affects the others. An unforgiving spirit is toxic.

We know that sin is toxic and leads to death. Jesus Christ came and died so that we can be forgiven of our sins. That’s an amazing gift and reason to celebrate! “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Ephesians 1:7

By accepting God’s gracious forgiveness, which we can’t do anything to earn, we have peace with God. In turn, we are expected to extend that same forgiveness to ourselves and others. Consider the following verses:

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave us, so we must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13 NLT. If the Lord gave His very life to offer forgiveness, who are we to withhold it?

“—and forgive us our sins as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” Matthew 6:12 NLT. “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15 NLT

“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” Mark 11:25 NLT. How can we expect to receive what we are not willing to give?

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV

“I–yes, I alone–will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.” Isaiah 43:25 NLT. “Then He says, I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” Hebrews 10:17 NLT. “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” Psalm 103:12 NLT. He forgives and forgets; shouldn’t we?

It’s pretty clear that God expects us to practice forgiveness. It restores peace to body, mind, and spirit, which is the opposite of stress.

Unforgiveness is most often fueled by anger, resentment, pain, jealously, hurt feelings, and other harmful emotions that negatively impact our health. Holding onto these emotions contributes to an excessive rise in adrenaline and cortisol which, over time, can compromise our immune and cardiovascular systems.

Research has shown that anger is the number one emotional risk factor for deaths from heart attacks and strokes.

God’s business is to love others. Forgiveness makes room for love, and love is the greatest healer of all! “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV.

Even if we don’t appreciate someone’s behavior, we can choose to forgive. “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” Philippians 3:13b NIV. Unforgiveness keeps us from moving forward in so many areas, including our health and relationships with God and others.

If we choose to forgive, God can work in our hearts to restore peace. Say the Lord’s prayer or another Scripture about forgiveness daily, and allow His word to chip away, little by little, at past hurts, and to help us see others through God’s eyes. This is true resurrection power!

Happy Easter–“…He has risen!” Matthew 28:6

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

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