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Forgiveness is good for body and soul

The Examiner

Have you ever had difficulty in forgiving someone?

I heard a quote a few years ago, which gave me a different perspective.

The writer is unknown.

Diane Mack

“The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. And the first to forget is the happiest.”

What would our world be like if we all set this as our standard.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the number one definition for forgiveness is to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone or an offense, flaw or mistake. And to forget is to fail to remember.

A lady hurt one of my children, in such a cruel, heartless manner, and it hung over me for years.

See it still does.

I did try to forgive her. But it’s hard to forget what she did.

Who is it hurting?

Yes, it’s me. I’m sure she moved on the very same day.

I believe forgiveness should be part of our daily to-do list.

Some people hold grudges for a lifetime. Isn’t it sad to waste the time and energy?

Think about it: Forgiving those who have wronged us is not only wholesome, it is therapeutic.

According to Katherine Piderman, Ph.D., staff chaplain at Mayo Clinic, there are many benefits to forgiving someone:

“Letting go of grudges and bitterness makes way for compassion, kindness, and peace.”

“Forgiveness can lead to healthier relationships, greater spiritual and psychological well-being, less stress and hostility, lower blood pressure, fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety and chronic pain, and a lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse.”

In Luke 6:37, the Lord states, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.”

Alexander Pope wrote, “To err is human; to forgive, divine.”

Jay Evensen from the Deseret Morning News wrote:

“How would you feel toward a teenager who decided to toss a 20-pound frozen turkey from a speeding car headlong into the windshield of the car you were driving? How would you feel after enduring six hours of surgery using metal plates and other hardware to piece your face together?

“… The victim, Victoria Ruvolo … was more interested in salvaging the life of her 19-year-old assailant, Ryan Cushing, than in revenge …”

She “insisted on offering him a plea deal. Cushing could serve six months in the county jail and be on probation for 5 years, if he pleaded guilty to second-degree assault.”

“Had he been convicted of first-degree assault – the charge most fitting for the crime – he could have served 25 years in prison. …”

“According to an account in the New York Post, Cushing … made his way to where Ruvolo sat in the courtroom and tearfully whispered an apology. ‘I’m so sorry for what I did to you.’”

“Ruvolo then stood, and the victim and her assailant embraced, weeping. She stroked his head and patted his back as he sobbed, and witnesses … heard her say, ‘It’s OK. I just want you to make your life the best it can be.’”

Can you imagine how this woman felt? Forgiveness made a miracle happen, in his, and her, life.

In conclusion, here is a great definition of forgiveness, written by Dr. Sidney Simon from the University of Massachusetts:

“Forgiveness is freeing up and putting to better use the energy once consumed by holding grudges, harboring resentments, and nursing unhealed wounds.”

“It is rediscovering the strengths we always had and relocating our limitless capacity to understand and accept other people and ourselves.”

Readers, there are huge benefits to forgiving. Add “forgive someone” to your daily list.

It’s healthy, healing, and it will bring you peace.            

Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County's Family Week Foundation. Email her at Director@jacksoncountyfamilyweek.org.