Many countries around the world have a national ‘Forgiveness Day’; In Australia it is in May, in the USA September. There is even a Global Forgiveness Day in July…. Maybe we should have one here too?
Forgiveness is important for our mental, physical and spiritual health. Whereas withholding it has been shown to cause stress, anxiety, high blood pressure and a weaker immune system.
The act of forgiveness is powerful. Both for us and for those who receive it. Forgiveness teaches us about ourselves as much as it teaches us about others.
Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you condone their behaviour, or that you are giving in to them. Rather, it sets us free and allows us to start the process of healing. Over time with willingness and perseverance, we can let go of our anger, bitterness, and resentment. Like love it is a decision and action rather than simply a feeling.
When we forgive, we give ourselves permission to stop living in the past. We focus less on the damaging feelings of pain, anger and resentment and begin to look forward to the future, no longer allowing the past to control us. There is a sense of freedom.
The act of forgiveness helps us to close old wounds. When we forgive, we give ourselves permission to heal.
Forgiveness can also develop into a practice that teaches us to value compassion, kindness, and love.
Forgiveness can be challenging but we are reminded in Colossians to “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (3:13)
We each have freedom to release the hurt from our hearts and instead choose to love those who have bruised us, just as Jesus loves us.