The Blessings of Forgiveness
In Ephesians 4 we are instructed how to walk out our relationship with Christ and one another. When we follow Christ, it directly reflects in all relationships.
Our relationship with Jesus began when He forgave us unconditionally. Jesus commands us, not just suggests, that we forgive others in the same manner He forgave us...whether they deserve it or not. While it may be very challenging to forgive someone that has hurt us so deeply, it is because Jesus wants you to experience the blessings of forgiveness.
The first blessing of forgiveness is the joy knowing you are obedient to Jesus’ command. Disobedience breaks relationship with our Savior, recks havoc on ourselves and brings no resolution. Obedience is key and according to scripture is better than sacrifice. Obedience brings joy and peace.
Forgiveness brings release....it is the “release valve of the soul.” Forgiveness is when we choose to release the offender into the Lord’s hands and take our hands off the situation. What a relief it is!! We can choose to be free rather than get even. What a wonderful trade off.
Forgiveness lightens our load. Because you have chosen to release the offender to God, you no longer drag the toxic heavy baggage around everywhere you go. Forgiveness severs the toxic spiral in exchange for a spirit lift that is literally out of this world. Whew!
Not only will forgiveness give us joy, release and a spirit boost, the physical body will reflect the process as well. “Hopkins University studies have shown that the act of forgiveness can provide the following health benefits: lowering the risk of heart attack, improving cholesterol levels and sleep, reducing pain, blood pressure and levels of anxiety, depression and stress.” After all we are body, soul and mind and all areas are blessed through forgiveness.
Mental Health is blessed through forgiveness. When hate rules the thought life, demise is around the corner. However, the scripture tells us to think on good things “that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy” (Philippians 4:8). There is no room for hate in this list because it points the way out of hate rather than what sustains hate. When we think on the things that point to the love of God, it is easier to let go of the hate in the world.
Forgiveness gives us the blessing of living fully in the present rather than stuck in a painful past. “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past.” (Isaiah 43:18) You cannot change the past, but the past can change you if you allow it. The blessings that forgiveness brings is a green light to the future and a red light to the past rather than vice versa. The quicker we can forgive, the faster we move ahead.
In this short list of blessing from forgiveness, the last one is improved relationships with others. In Ephesians 4:31-32 a list is given to Christian of things that are counter to forgiveness.... such things as “bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander and malice.” However, the scripture then shares the antidote in verse 32, “we are to be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave us.” That challenging command is meant to release the blessings of life in every facet for us here and throughout eternity. Forgiveness is the door to freedom, and it is your choice to walk through it!
Pastor Ruth Kaunley