Good Friday, Easter and Everyday is a good time to prompt us to think about forgiveness. After all it was on this day; two thousand years ago that God demonstrated to us that the debt that He held against us had now been paid in full by Jesus’ sacrifice. Yes, it was on this awesome day that God decided to forgive us all for all times and with no strings attached. All we have to do is to accept His free gift of salvation by faith and forgive others just the same way.

So, if all of this is true, and it is, then why do we have such a hard time forgiving ourselves or others? It is a defiance of an important commandment, “Forgive one another as I have forgiven you.” Jesus. As we examine the benefits of forgiveness it appears that we have no choice but to forgive. By forgiving not only do we obey the Lord but can also live healthy and happy lives:                                                      

If you are anything like me then I can safely guarantee that you have been wronged many times over. Most of the times it is by the people we love cherish and trust. That is why exculpation can become very painful. Maybe because we confuse it with condoning the wrongs committed against us. Many times we convince ourselves that the person who has wronged us doesn’t deserve our forgiveness. What is important is to realise that forgiveness has nothing to do with others and ALL to do with us because it is the forgiver that benefits from this act, not the forgiven. However, it’s important to let go and forgive.




Here Are Three Reasons Why We Need To Forgive.

1.  Forgiveness is good for our heart -- literally. One study from the Journal of Behavioural Medicine found forgiveness to be associated with lower heart rate and blood pressure as well as stress relief. It can bring long-term health benefits for our heart and overall health. A later study found forgiveness to be positively associated with five measures of health:

          o physical symptoms,
          o medications used,
          o sleep quality,
          o  fatigue, and
          o Somatic complaints.
     
It seems that the reduction in negative affect (depressive symptoms), strengthened spirituality, conflict management and stress relief one finds through forgiveness all have a significant impact on overall health.

A third study, published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, found that forgiveness not only restores positive thoughts, feelings and behaviours toward the offending party (in other words, forgiveness restores the relationship to its previous positive state), but the benefits of forgiveness spill over to positive behaviors toward others outside of the relationship. Forgiveness is associated with more volunteerism, donating to charity, and other altruistic behaviors. (And the converse is true of non-forgiveness.)

So, to sum it up, forgiveness is good for our body, your relationships, and our place in the world. That’s reason enough to convince virtually anyone to do the work of letting go of anger and working on forgiveness.

2.  Forgiveness is good for Our Souls:

Just as our bodies experience healing after we exonerate, similarly our emotions and intellect experiences healing too. There are so many people walking around seemingly whole in their bodies, carrying such pain in their hearts and minds. They visit their Physicians but Doctors are unable to diagnose the cause. The reasons most of the time are far beyond the physical. I have witnessed many people experience emotional and physical healing after they have forgiven. A heart that's torn asunder can become whole with forgiveness. The three words, "I forgive you," Are all that need be heard to a soul that has been wounded. Exoneration acts like a healing, cooling balm to sooth and comfort us. But that heart cannot begin to heal, as long as words remain unspoken. Compassion in its purest sense, resides in those three words; "I forgive you,"

3.  Forgiveness is good for our Spirit.

For good spiritual health forgiveness is one of the most important re-requisites. If we do not forgive then according to the Lord’s Prayer, we loose the right to ask God to forgive us. …“ Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that have trespassed against us.”



Unforgiveness empowers Satan:
We know that Satan has only one aim concerning us and that is to steal, to kill and to destroy. So we must not reinforce him against us. He is our defeated foe. Paul says, “To keep Satan from getting the advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his wiles and intentions." (2 Cor. 2:11).



Our forgiving must resemble our forgiveness.
The act of forgiveness must match the example set for us by God. It is expected of us that we forgive in the same way as we have been forgiven."… Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you" (Eph. 4:32). Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  (Col. 3:13).


Our Forgiveness is on a reciprocal basis:
Yes, God has made a stipulation for our forgiveness through the Cross but the scriptures make it abundantly clear that we must then live a life committed to forgiving others on a regular basis. Jesus said: "If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Mt. 6:14-15).


Unforgiveness imprison us:
We have been set free by Jesus. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. . John 8:36.However we can erect bars of unforgiveness that imprison us. These bars have the potential to sever our relationship with God. If left un-attended it can make a strong hold that will eventually stifle our spiritual life line.
We must Forgive and Forget: This is the Biblical principle of forgiveness. The world says, Forgive but do not forget. Since our model of Forgiveness is the Lord Himself and He says, “I, even I, am He Who blots out and cancels your transgressions, for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins. Isaiah 43:25 so must we. This is true forgiveness.

How often must we forgive?

Some people seem to specialise in rubbing us the wrong way. They may even delight every time they trample or crush our spirits. We all have some of those in our worlds. Their only vocation is to be the thorn in our flesh. You know what I am talking about. But as far as God is concerned, we must be engaged in forgiving them a perpetual basis. Why? It may be so because we need to be forgiven on a continual basis ourselves. Peter asked Jesus, "Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?" Expecting the Lord to say that once would be more than enough But Jesus replied, "Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven. Matt.:18:21-22. This is also applicable to those deep seated hurts that make permanent residence in our hearts. We have to keep on forgiving until they are uprooted completely.

Conclusion

So if unforgiveness has entrenched itself into your life, deal with it today. These desires (not to forgive) give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.(James 1:15) It is quite evident that in order to have victorious lives it is incumbent upon us to forgive one another just as we have been forgiven. I am certain that that unforgiveness has no bearing on our Salvation. "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." (Ephesians 1:7) but it will certainly affect our rewards in heaven, peace of mind and health here on earth. So let us do the right thing and forgive all those who have hurt us.