How many of you have ever had to forgive anyone? Was there ever a downside to it? Many studies have proven that childhood trauma and emotional trauma from the stresses of life take a toll on us physically. In one survey of 20,000 adults in San Diego: those who suffered physical and emotional abuse as children were more likely to develop serious illness such as heart disease, asthma, bronchitis, diabetes and cancer. Dozens of studies about the effects of stress: reduced immune system and damage to the circulatory system.
Clearly, we must make peace with our past. Martha Stewart quipped “we have to make peace with the dust bunnies in our lives.” Here’s an acrostic to remember:
F = Forgiving is highly healthy – Do it for your own sake, if nothing else.
O = Organize your thoughts by journaling
E = Review your experience – Try to see it from the other person’s point of view, including what they’ve been through.
G = Give the boot to anger, bitterness and regret – Be honest about the hurt and fear underneath the anger, and ask for God’s help. You may need to confess to someone.
I = Invest in removing resentment – You may have to seek healing in a relationship.
V = Victory comes in finally forgiving others – One study showed that people who forgive themselves and others are less likely to be nervous, restless, and hopeless.
I = Increase your gratitude for past pain – Romans 8:28
N = Navigate to inner peace – Continue to seek peace with God and men – Phil. 4:6-7.
G = Give comfort to others – When we comfort others, God comforts us – “A drop in, a drop out.” 2 Cor. 1: 3-7.
Your life will be rich and blessed if you dispense mercy and grace. Justice is giving to others what they deserve. Mercy is not giving what is deserved. Grace is giving what is not deserved. Highly healthy people are liberal dispensers of mercy and grace.