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| Words: 1263 | Submitted: 29-Jan-2012
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“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
It's not always easy, but the benefits of forgiving -- and 'forgetting' -- can be powerful.
One of the thorniest and most difficult things we humans are ever called upon to do is to respond to evil with kindness, and to forgive the unforgivable. We love to read stories about people who have responded to hatred with love, but when that very thing is demanded of us personally, our default seems to be anger, angst (dread or anguish), depression, righteousness, hatred, etc. Yet study after study shows that one of the keys to longevity and good health is to develop a habit of gratitude and let go of past hurts. Letting go of anger and bitterness can work wonders for both your attitude and your health, not to mention your relationships.
Many people view forgiveness as an offshoot of love -- a gift given freely to those who have hurt you.
Forgiveness, however, may bring enormous benefits to the person who gives that gift, according to recent research. If you can bring yourself to forgive and forget, you are likely to enjoy lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system, and a drop in the stress hormones circulating in your blood, studies suggest. Back pain, stomach problems, and headaches may disappear. And you'll reduce the anger, bitterness, resentment, depression, and other negative emotions that accompany the failure to forgive.
Two types of forgiveness appear in the Bible: God's pardon of our sins, and our obligation to pardon others.
What is Forgiveness by God?
Mankind has a sinful nature. Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, and humans have been sinning against God ever since.
God loves us too much to let us destroy ourselves in Hell. He provided a way for us to be forgiven, and that way is through Jesus Christ. Jesus confirmed that in no uncertain terms when he said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6, NIV) God's plan of salvation was to send Jesus, his only Son, into the world as a sacrifice for our sins.
That sacrifice was necessary to satisfy God's justice. Moreover, that sacrifice had to be perfect and spotless. Because of our sinful nature, we cannot repair our broken relationship with God on our own. Only Jesus was qualified to do that for us. At the Last Supper, on the night before his crucifixion, he took a cup of wine and told his apostles, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." (Matthew 26:28, NIV)
The next day, Jesus died on the cross, taking the punishment due us, and atoning for our sins. ...
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