This is not an exhaustive or comprehensive treatment of the topic. This message highlights some selected important aspects of forgiveness. It is guided by bible-based verses in keeping with the belief that the Bible is the greatest source of wisdom.
“To err is human, to forgive divine”, first proclaimed by Alexander Pope in the 17th century, is not an empty adage. It expresses a fundamental weakness in humans, and establishes a supernatural connection that elevates us from an errant being to one created in the image of God. Pope is not suggesting that we need a divine or spiritual quality in order to forgive. He is saying that the act or result of forgiveness is something divine. As children of God, all human beings are born with a divine spark or spiritual dimension. When we forgive, that quality is reflected.
While forgiveness had its roots in religious origins, now both secular and religious wisdom support the virtue of forgiveness. Psychologists and psychiatrists have amassed an impressive slate of findings to support its wide range of health benefits. At the University of Wisconsin, led by psychologist Robert D. Enright, researchers have developed forgiveness as a science used to treat people with chronic pain, cardiovascular disease, depression, and high blood pressure. Their basic approach is to help patients achieve positive feelings towards a person or persons where negative feelings previously existed.
The eruptions of anger directed outwardly at others have been shown to increase the risk of heart arrhythmias, heart attacks and high blood pressure, but when anger is turned inward and directed toward oneself, it may be even more deleterious and corrosive to physical and mental health. Scientific research has revealed a positive connection between self-blame and clinical depression. Researchers studying cancer patients, those living with HIV/AIDS and victims of incest and abuse, have discovered that many of them blame themselves for their plight.
The word “forgive” means to wipe the slate clean, to pardon, or to cancel a debt. It’s an absolution and release from the requirement of a penalty. In its most common use of the word, we seek someone’s “forgiveness” when we have wronged them in order to restore the relationship. Forgiveness means to hold out our hand in love to renew a friendship or relationship. It may not take away the hurt or injury. It does not remove the need for repentance. But It does indicate the desire to move on by removing any barriers that may emerge in a restored relationship.
Of course, there is no guarantee that the other person will be willing to reconcile or admit any fault in the matter. In that case, we are not responsible for their actions, only our own. Forgiveness is something personal, and we cannot take on the burden of unforgiveness of others. Since forgiveness is a mental or emotional quality, we cannot control it in others. We can only hope that others will achieve that level of...