Friday, 24 February 2012

Unforgiveness and its Consequences

James MacDonald
Forgiveness means that you assume someone else’s debt. In other words the person who has injured you emotionally or physically “owes” you an apology. By accepting that apology you are forgiving them what they owe you, or their debt. Unforgiveness means that you do not accept their apology; you are not willing to assume the debt.

Regardless of whether or not the person who injured us realizes what they have done or not we must forgive them. James Macdonald offers five rationalizations why some people don’t forgive:
1. I can’t forgive this because it is too big. All the more reason to forgive, the bigger it is, the less you want to carry it.
2. Time will heal it. Time heals nothing. The pain is still in there.
3. I’ll forgive when they say they are sorry. Until then I will carry this burden forever. Clue - They are not coming.
4. I can’t forgive if I can’t forget. This is backwards. You can’t forget until you forgive. You keep looking at it when you don’t forgive.
5. If I forgive they will just do it again.

The fall out of unforgiveness is huge. Unforgiveness punishes everyone in its path. Unforgiveness cuts a path of destruction across your life. Unforgiveness affects your ability to witness to others since they will judge the reality of your faith and how it filters down to other people.
• Medically speaking unforgiveness mirrors anger in our system, and hormonally unforgiveness mirrors stress.
• Unforgiveness has been known to correlate with psychiatric disorders.
• There are a number of studies that show a correlation between the health of your body and unforgiveness. One such study indicated that when an individual spent as little as16 seconds dwelling on the past offense it resulted in an increase in blood pressure, an increased heart rate and an increase in muscle tension.
• The consequences are lasting. Matthew 6:15 says, “ But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive you your sins.” And James 2:13 says that “judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.”

Here’s the bottom line. When we find it difficult to forgive someone who has hurt us we need to focus on our own sins and how much God has forgiven us.

Ephesians 4:32 says, ”Forgive each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Luke 6:37 is even more direct, it says, “forgive and you will be forgiven.” That’s reason enough for me.

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