At least one time in our lives all of us will be faced with a situation in which we will grapple with issues of forgiveness. We may have either dealt with a betrayal, some form of violation or being deceived in some way. For many of us coming to terms with what has happened is very difficult, to say the least.
To hold anger and hatred in our hearts takes a toll on our bodies. Negative thinking has destructive effects, affecting for example the immune and cardiovascular systems within our bodies. Negative thoughts elevate blood pressure. The energy we use to fight and hate people creates hormonal changes in our bodies which are linked to cardiovascular disease, and possibly impaired neurological function and memory. Relationships are destroyed when we only focus on the deed that has made us angry.
But what about those really difficult events in our lives that we say we can never forgive? Ironically these are precisely the events that we need to practice forgiveness the most or we become a victim twice over. It is hard enough to lose a loved one to a senseless murder or to be sexually assaulted but then to imprison ourselves in a vortex of hatred and fear will only create more unhappiness in our lives, a life already filled with pain.
If we are willing to welcome forgiveness in our hearts, as difficult as it may be we are releasing ourselves from the powerful hold of being a victim. Not only is there healing of our emotional pain, our lives can take on new meaning, putting the tragedy in a context that can help us move on. A life filled with compassion is a life well lived, replete with love.
Deciding to forgive restores our hearts to the innocence that we once knew—an innocence that allows us the freedom to love. It is the means for taking what is broken and making it whole.
By being able to forgive, we learn how to extend ourselves to others and realize that this action is part of our healing.