October 24, 2016
Happy Monday Blog my Friends – Welcome!!
Well, I’ve come across another one of those “ya gotta see this” articles and I had no choice but to post it today for all of us, because it’s about my favorite subject: Forgiveness
*”Scientists have proven that negativity literally makes cancer grow inside the body. Everybody feels negative emotions once in a while, but these emotions have a stronger effect on your health than you may realize.
Every time you think about regrets, experience resentment or replay bad memories in your head, your body suffers just as much as your mind. That’s why harboring negative emotions can lead to devastating long-term disease. But there is one simple solution: Forgiveness.
Trouble is, our culture seems to perceive forgiveness as a sign of weakness, submission, or both. This makes it harder to actually do the work to forgive people who’ve done you harm.
According to The Greater Good Science Center, “psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.” It’s important to stress that forgiveness is a process, not an event. That’s why there’s such a big difference between decisional forgiveness and emotional forgiveness.
Some researchers have described the distinction as such: “Decisional forgiveness is a behavioral intention to resist an unforgiving stance and to respond differently toward a transgressor. Emotional forgiveness is the replacement of negative unforgiving emotions with positive other-oriented emotions. Emotional forgiveness involves psychophysiological changes, and it has more direct health and well-being consequences.”
As such, a study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that a forgiving personality was related to better subjective well-being and psychological well being.
In other studies, forgiveness was linked to improved physical symptoms, fewer medications used, better sleep quality, less fatigue, and fewer somatic complaints.
Plus, forgiveness has heart-protective properties. A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that anger and other negative emotions had cardiotoxic effects, while forgiveness has a more cardioprotective profile. The researchers concluded: “These findings suggest that interventions aimed at decreasing anger while increasing forgiveness may be clinically relevant.”
To examine the effects of negative emotions, researchers from Hope College’s Psychology Department, examined 35 female and 36 male participants as they revisited hurtful memories and grudges. They focused on blood pressure, hear rate, facial muscle tension, and seat gland activity.
Participants were then asked to imagine granting forgiveness toward real-life offenders. Not surprisingly, researchers found that “forgiving thoughts prompted greater perceived control and comparatively lower physiological stress responses.”
Simply put, while negative emotions increased stress response and sweat production, forgiveness lowered blood pressure and relaxed facial muscles.
They further explained that “…chronic unforgiving responses may erode health whereas forgiving responses may enhance it.”
Unforgiveness is classified in medical books as a disease, according to Dr. Steven Standiford, chief of surgery at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. He insists that refusing to forgive people who’ve done you wrong makes people sick and keeps them that way. “It’s important to treat emotional wounds or disorders because they really can hinder someone’s reactions to the treatments, even someone’s willingness to pursue treatment,” said Standiford.
When it comes to the most feared disease of the last century, forgiveness may play a role in cancer prevention too. Dr. Michael Barry, author of the book THE FORGIVENESS PROJECT estimates that 61 percent of caner patients have forgiveness issues.
“Harboring these negative emotions, this anger and hatred, creates a state of chronic anxiety,” he explains. “Chronic anxiety very predictably produces excess adrenaline and cortisol, which deplete the production of natural killer cells, which is your body’s foot soldier in the fight against cancer.”
Forgiveness can be as simple as letting go of hurtful memories and remembering that the person who hurt you is human too, but before you can do that, you have to forgive yourself for carrying around the weight of resentment for far too long. Let go of the past and you’ll feel healthier and lighter than ever before.”*
Negativity=So Not Good!!
Okay, so much for the Scientific/Dr. (S/D) version of the subject matter, albeit, I agree 100% with every word in the article; however, as many of you know, I wrote a book about forgiveness and I know a little bit about it, myself.
I promise you, considering the S/D version, had I not written my book and discovered my own incredible need to forgive, I’d probably be six-feet-under right now, instead of sitting here preaching not only the physical need to forgive, but the spiritual need to forgive as well.
In the Bible, forgiveness is a prominent theme. For heavens sake, Jesus had to die on the Cross for our sins to be forgiven – He gave His life so we, all of us, would be forgiven of all our sins. In essence, Jesus was born to die for our sins in order for us to receive the incredible blessing of spending our eternity in Heaven with Him, when we leave this Earth — Think about that one!
Yet, we Christians have concerns and questions about forgiveness, don’t we? Our first instinct is to back-up and wrap ourselves in self-protection when we’re wronged. I was a master at this, believe me; so much, that I basically pretended a lot of my early life away. I was filled with a huge grudge against my father and wasn’t even aware of this, on a conscious level…I believe that’s due to my grudge starting at a very young age, so young, that it became a part of me…my psychological being…at least that’s what I tell myself. But as my love and devotion for God grew, along with the help of my wonderful Mother and a really cool spiritual shrink, I found a peace in this Life that I had never known—It’s called forgiveness.
When we’ve been wronged, we don’t easily overflow with mercy and grace. Forgiveness actually goes against our human nature; therefore, we are to forgive by faith out of obedience, whether we feel like it or not. We must trust God to do the work in us that needs to be done, so that our forgiveness is complete. God honors our commitment to obey Him and our desire to please Him when we choose to forgive.
The Bible instructs us to forgive as the Lord forgave us:
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” —Colossians 3:13
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them , so that Your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”—Mark 11:25
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others there sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” – Matthew 6:14-15
This week, my Prayer for all of us is that we will embrace this word forgiveness— then ask yourself if there’s anyone you cannot honestly say you’ve forgiven…for whatever reason, but be honest; if there is, then get on your knees and FORGIVE THEM, ALAREADY! It’s not like God expects us to then throw a party for the offender, however, we may want to throw a party for ourselves – we’re no longer in hate-bondage, holding a grudge because we have finally forgiven the offender, and God can now forgive us for our act of forgiveness, as He has instructed us. Amen!!
GOD is Good! GOD is Great!! Always!!!
I love you all,
*Note: A special Thank You to – Ilikehealthy.com/”Negativity-Forgiveness”
FYI: My book, “That Melvin Bray”, a spiritual thriller, is available on Amazon, Abbott Press & all major book retailers.