by Danielle N. Hall
With all of the senseless acts of crime on a rise, we may have experienced a heightened state of awareness and an elevated caution level. I’ve certainly had to have more discussions than usual with my children about precautionary measures that they must take. However, there is a much greater threat that is killing many by the day: UNFORGIVENESS.
I’d like to shine a light on this dangerous, silent killer. The impact of unforgiveness is often underestimated or overlooked. We engage in many endeavors to try to “get healthy”: from the trips to the gym (the place where you workout and take selfies) to the trips to the grocery store to get the gluten free and antioxidant rich products. The outside is looking great, and maybe there is a bit of joy derived from the effects of the new habits. By no means am I suggesting that these are not fruitful endeavors, but we ought to also be just as careful to tend to our core. All the physical exercise in the world will not reduce the effects of unforgiveness on our health.
On exactly 2 years ago, I made the above post to Facebook. These are examples of what we can experience as a result of forgiveness. Consider that the opposite is highly probable: UNFORGIVENESS can add excessive weight, can put strain on your heart, and can be immobilizing.
PAUSE…take a moment to do a self evaluation to determine if there is someone who you’ve harbored negative feelings about in your heart. Sometimes, the person in the mirror is who we fail to forgive. Other times, it can be someone who has done the unimaginable to us or our loved ones. I have experienced ALL of the above and, for years, I had suppressed memories of varying events as a coping mechanism. Suppressing thoughts is just like collecting garbage: after gathering enough, there will be a stench. Our attitudes will begin to stink and what we really need to do is rid ourselves of the trash; we need to properly dispose of the toxic waste.
Hazardous waste is known to contain cancer-causing agents and other harmful substances. Have you ever felt physically ill, but you do all that you can to eat right and exercise and you can’t quite put your finger on what may be the cause of your nausea, headache, or pain. I’ve noticed that when I’m stressed, I experience pain usually in my right jaw, or in the right side of my neck and back. I’ve also experienced chest pain and headaches. Additionally, I’d be overly fatigued.
I’m sure I’m not alone in having experienced these symptoms that can very well be attributed to the toxicity of unforgiveness. After having identified and then released some of those toxins, I feel less weighted down and less sluggish. I even feel that I can breathe easier. Even my thought processing has become more clear because there is less clutter to tend with.
Most of us have had an unfair or unfortunate life experience that has left us feeling bitter, angry, helpless, hopeless or alone…the truth is, however, even though we can’t undo what has been done, we can decide to not hold on to the effects. Holding on keeps us bound and slowly kills us internally. Forgiveness is a matter of choice and it is up to us to decide that we want to live and be well.
I’ll leave you with these thoughts:
“In the shadow of my hurt, forgiveness feels like a decision to reward my enemy. But in the shadow of the cross, forgiveness is merely a gift from one undeserving soul to another.”–Andy Stanley
Proverbs 4:23 (AMP)
Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.