We know that forgiving people who have wronged us is an important part of restoring the relationship, and also important for our own wellbeing.
Now a scientific study spells out some more of the details.
Forgive and live longer
This study of 1500 US residents showed that those who forgive tend to live longer.
The researchers found that if a person makes their forgiveness conditional – that is, they’ll only forgive if the other person meets certain conditions, such as apologising or promising never to do it again – then their physical health suffers, and with it their life expectancy.
However the researchers aren’t yet sure what the physical mechanisms are.
Improve your wellbeing
These findings fit with what previous studies have found about happiness and wellbeing – see Positive psychology and What makes people happy?.
I have begun to question the maxim that “Only God can forgive our sins” This is making less and less sense to me. Let’s say someone tells a lie about me. I eventually confront them and they say, “Oh, it’s OK, I confessed that sin to God and he forgave me, its all good” Of course that is ridiculous. If the sin affected me, I am the only one really allowed to forgive that person. Most of my sins seems to affect me personally the most, so I have started to realize that I am the one who needs to forgive me. I have started to do this more and more and I feel like the forgiveness I am getting is much more real than anything I ever received from God when I was a strong believer, or at least much stronger than I am now.
Hi Luschen, thanks for visiting and commenting. I agree with most of what you say – forgiveness must come from the person who was wronged. That is often ourselves, as you say, and often others. But I believe God is wronged in all cases also, and in that sense we need forgiveness from him (for harming the life he gave us, or others) as well as the person wronged. Thanks again for that clarification.
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