LET me tell you my dear readers that it is easy to write about certain issues, but quite often it is difficult to practice what you preach, and one area for me was forgiveness. One day a friend of mine, heard me angrily talking about someone who had done me harm.
At the end of my angry talk he turned to me and said, “Bob, you need to forgive!” “But I’ve been insulted,” I said angrily and heard his silence, and in that silence I knew how weak I sounded.
Dr. Frank Boehm learned long ago that not everything that happens to our body can be assigned to medical facts. “My father who escaped the Nazi Jewish concentration camp Holocaust believed that anger, resentment and unforgiveness, bred disease of the soul, as well as the body. Forgiveness is good medicine he told me.”Some years ago a patient came to see Dr Boehm about her constant abdominal pain, headaches and high blood pressure. But he couldn’t find a medical cause for her ailments.
“Tell me about your life,” he then said. She told him she was in conflict with her two sisters because they had forsaken her in her time of need earlier.
The doctor encouraged her to forgive her sisters. Years later Boehm received a letter from his patient. She had made peace with her sisters and sure enough her sicknesses had gone. “She found forgiveness and from this good health,” said Boehm.
“When you are treated unjustly by another, anger is a natural response,” says Robert Enright, professor of educational psychology. “But if these resentful feelings are not resolved, a grudge will form. When nursing a grudge you’re essentially inviting anger to become a companion in your everyday life and a toxin to your body!”
Says Dr. Redford Williams, author of ‘Anger Kills’, “If you don’t forgive, resentment can erupt at any time and the cost to your body is ongoing. It’s like taking small doses of poison daily!” Forgiveness is not denying you’re angry or pretending the injury didn’t happen. Forgiveness is to think again how one feels about the offense and those responsible.
Start small by learning how to forgive minor slights. If you arrive home and trip on your son’s bicycle in the verandah or driveway, recognize that he isn’t out to get you, and forgive him.
“By changing your thinking you can decide whether your anger is appropriate,” says Williams, “and over time you will be able to forgive tougher injuries.”
“One forgiving act is the beginning,” says Enright, “as you continue offering forgiveness, your identity will no longer be that of a victim but of one who is powerful in the face of adversity!” “Thank you my friend” I said that evening as I started teaching myself to forgive.