The Gift of Forgiveness
The best gift you'll ever give yourself.
by Gaye Rock
Do you want peace? Do you want happiness? Do you want to lay down your emotional baggage? These are all hallmarks of forgiveness. When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge, or you have the choice to embrace forgiveness and move forward.
Webster's dictionary definition of "forgive" is "to cease resentment against an offender." Another definition of "forgive" is "to excuse a fault, absolve from payment, pardon, send away, cancel, and bestow favor unconditionally."
That doesn't mean you deny the other person's responsibility for hurting you. You can forgive the person and still hate the behavior. Forgiveness, though, brings about a peace that allows you to go on with life. The opposite of anger is peace!
I am sure there are many belief systems represented in this readership. All religions believe in forgiveness, although some see it as a personal responsibility and some follow the tradition that only Spirit can forgive. The Native Americans have a saying: "Go to an elder and ask for the medicine that will turn your heart from bitterness to sweetness. You must learn the wisdom of how to let go of the poison."
There are some great famous forgivers, such as Jesus, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi and the Dalai Lama. How about animals, such as dogs? We would do well to take a page from their books, and use these famous forgivers as positive role models for forgiveness.
Louise Hay, the famous metaphysician, says, "Change your perspective, and you will change your life." We can permit these relatively unimportant happenings to fill our whole horizon and disturb our sense of peace, or we can "dump the garbage" and move on with our lives.
You have the most powerful preventative against the wrong attitude right at your fingertips — forgiveness! Forgiveness gives you an appropriate attitude of mind AND heart (which in turn affects your physical body). Love, mercy, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, self-control, patience and joy are the hallmarks of peace (not just forgiveness), which should be your goal. Again, we are after peace when we practice forgiveness.
Sickness and Healing
If you have ever been healed from a severe injury or serious illness, what was your reaction? Hopefully, it was gratitude–specifically, gratitude to the Spirit who facilitated your healing. Spirit is our Healer. He wants to heal us, even more than we want it for ourselves. But we must first recognize our need for forgiveness and healing, and second, we must be open to receive Spirit's healing. Again, the choice is yours.
Why talk about healing in regard to forgiveness? Because total healing depends upon another all-important condition: We must be willing to forgive anyone who might have hurt us. Such a healing invigorates not only your peace and joy in living, but also your physical body! We humans are creatures who are capable of transforming our own biology by what we think and feel. Our cells constantly feel our thoughts, and are changed by them. Our cells are continually processing and breaking down all our experiences, according to our own personal view. Did you know that tears of sadness are chemically different from tears of joy?
Depression and anger can destroy our immune system, but peace and calm can fortify our bodies tremendously. You know the expression, "He died of a broken heart"? Our thoughts affect our bodies so much that this can be literally true. When you are depressed, or complaining, or in a negative state, you project sadness all over your body: The production of the transmissions from the brain are chemically altered, hormone levels vary, the sleep cycle is interrupted, neuropeptide receptors on the skin change. Blood platelets become more sticky and prone to form lumps. So, you see, our thoughts affect our bodies quite scientifically. Depression is anger turned inward. Let me tell you about anger, if you will.
Anger's Lasting Effects
Anger is devastating to your body and energy system as they carry an unforgiving spirit. Serious diseases can develop as a result of the stress and pressure that bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness put on a person. Below is a list of diseases with anger as their root cause. As you read this extensive list, know that you and you alone hold the key to freedom from these ailments! The key is letting go of the anger.
According to many metaphysical sources, illnesses that may be partly attributed to anger/resentment, or that can be made worse, include:
- Abscesses, acne, blackheads, boils, growths, pimples, warts, especially plantar warts
- Adrenal disease such as Addison's
- Animal bites
- Bad breath
- Bell's palsy
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Being overweight
- Fevers and sores
- Gallstones and kidney stones
- Liver problems
- Goiters, thyroid problems
- Huntington's disease
- Jaw problems and canker sores
- Pink eye and sties
- Rectal bleeding
- Urinary infections and diseases
- Energy sap (mental, emotional, and physical)
- Debts — of All Kinds
You can create bad karma with unforgiveness. As an example, in Christianity, the Lord's Prayer says, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." This phrase doesn't merely refer to monetary debts, but rather, debts of all kinds. Other debts might include karmic debt (what you give out returns tenfold to you), wounds perpetrated ON us, and wounds perpetrated BY us. But if you forgive, others will forgive you, 10 times over (again, the law of karma).
Do you always succeed, in offering forgiveness, in breaking through the other person's hardness of heart? No, but it's a "teachable moment" about the laws of love, which MUST take precedence over all other laws. That's really what we're talking about here: Forgiveness is Love. The kind of love that Spirit shows US when we screw up. The unconditional type.
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