A number of years ago, my childhood best friend and I had a falling out. It started as an issue between our respective parents that boiled over to us. We both said things we shouldn’t have, and a once close friendship vanished seemingly overnight. Eventually, we both apologized, forgiveness was granted and the wounds healed. But, the relationship was never the same.
We’ve all had situations like this. We’ve hurt someone, or someone has hurt us. It’s impossible to have a relationship between two sinners and forgiveness not be a constant need. Sometimes we are the ones needing forgiveness, and sometimes we are the ones needing to forgive.
Despite its prevalence in our lives, it seems that many of us have a mistaken view of forgiveness and its impact, not only spiritually and emotionally, but also physically. In fact, according to John Hopkins Medicine, forgiveness has a huge impact on your health:
“Whether it’s a simple spat with your spouse or long-held resentment toward a family member or friend, unresolved conflict can go deeper than you may realize—it may be affecting your physical health. The good news: Studies have found that the act of forgiveness can reap huge rewards for your health, 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.”
Forgiveness is critical. To gain a better understanding of why, I think it’s important to remind ourselves what the Bible has to say about forgiveness: