Sunday, May 05, 2013

Health Risks of Unforgiveness

Last spring, as I studied my Bible to help me work through something difficult, I took notes as the Lord led me through it. I did not post it at the time because I did not want to add anything else to the situation. I scheduled it months ago to post on Sundays in April and May.

“Stress exacerbates pain, tightens muscles and interferes with the smooth running of the immune system – all things that have an effect on arthritis,” says Fred Luskin, PhD, director of the Forgiveness Project at Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. “People think they have this unlimited storage of anger, judgment and hostility that will never come home to roost, but it comes home immediately.” (source)

“When you don’t forgive, you release all the chemicals of the stress response,” Luskin says. “Each time you react, adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine enter the body. When it’s a chronic grudge, you could think about it 20 times a day, and those chemicals limit creativity; they limit problem solving. Cortisol and norepinephrine cause your brain to enter what we call ‘the no-thinking zone,’ and over time, they lead you to feel helpless and like a victim. When you forgive, you wipe all of that clean.” (source)

What are the benefits of forgiving someone? (source)

Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for compassion, kindness and peace. Forgiveness can lead to:
  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
  • Less anxiety, stress and hostility
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fewer symptoms of depression
  • Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse

There is a great deal written about the connection between unforgiveness and health. I encourage you to do your own search and learn more as a motivation to extend forgiveness. 

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1

A man's pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit. Proverbs 29:23