Forgiveness is one of those things we know we should do, but often struggle with when it comes time to deliver. Western culture has heavily been influenced by Christianity, whose greatest hero embodied this value, and so it is a very common theme in the West. Philosophies popular in the East, like Buddhism, also enshrine forgiveness as a key to a happy life. As much as cultures around the world value vengeance as a show of strength, they value forgiveness for the same reason.
Resentment has been likened to drinking a poisoned cup and expecting the other person to die, whereas I recently heard forgiveness compared to a party. Yes, it may be difficult to get there and take a long time to do so in certain cases, but the end result is the experience of positive emotion.
Forgiveness is a topic I have personally been battling with this week, and so this applies first to me before anyone else. Here I present us with 7 reasons to forgive, both spiritual and secular, that have helped me the most.
Today I choose to forgive others,
1. So I can receive forgiveness.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.Matthew 6:14-15
Forgiveness being withheld from God has consequences both in this life and in the hereafter.
2. Because God forgave me.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.Ephesians 4:32
3. As an act of empathy and compassion for the other person.
Often, when we put ourselves in the shoes of the other person, we can see the forces that led them to do what they did. That doesn’t in any way justify it when others do us wrong, but it can help us in the process of moving forward.
4. To improve my physical health.
According to John Hopkins Medicine, as elite and mainstream as it gets, forgiveness has been linked to “lowering the risk of heart attack; improving cholesterol levels and sleep; and reducing pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression and stress. And research points to an increase in the forgiveness-health connection as you age.” (Health Benefits Of Forgiveness)
5. To upgrade my brainwave activity.
It turned out that one of the biggest things these scientists found to get your brain to function like the brains of monks who have been meditating for 20 years. It was this one thing–radical forgiveness.Vishen Lakhiani, CEO of Mindvalley (The Brain On Forgiveness)
6. Because forgiveness is training in emotional resilience.
Forgiveness is like working out. After lifting 200 lbs for the first time, it gets easier the second time. And lifting 150 lbs after that is a breeze. When we hold resentment, we open ourselves to being hurt by the same stimuli again, whereas forgiveness increases our processing power (often easier said than done, but the principle is true).
7. “He did it [practiced forgiveness], so I can do it, too.”
This is one of the mottos I like to live by. When we see what other people are capable of doing, who possess the same nature as us, that should give us a good idea of what we, too, are capable of doing. If you’re having trouble forgiving, then immerse yourself in testimonies of forgiveness. For example, see The Power Of Forgiveness (Sammy Rangel).
For more, you can visit the complete archive of articles on integrity.