Healing Power of Forgiveness

Posted by on Feb 7, 2016 in Can You Tell Me?, Forgiveness | 0 comments

Healing Power of Forgiveness

Do you know that research has proven the value of forgiveness in the counseling room? Studies demonstrate that forgiveness can help lead people to emotional and physical healing. People who forgive experience a marked decrease in anxiety, depression, hopelessness, inner emptiness, and an increase in self-esteem. And they feel more satisfied with their lives than the people who do not forgive.

Today forgiveness is being used for all manner of problems: anger and depression, catharsis and peace with cancer patients, family-of-origin issues, sexual abuse, and compulsions. Studies provide clear evidence that forgiveness is a powerful tool to help individual recover from bereavement, trauma, addiction, abortion, divorce, and other losses. It enables them tap into the necessary spiritual resources that foster their healing.

Forgiveness is being used to identify and resolve conflicted family relationships as well as internal psychic conflicts. It helps adolescents who feel unloved by their parents. Interestingly, forgiveness has been identified as one of the top ten characteristics in a long-term first marriage.

1. Key to psychological healing

Forgiveness is a key to healing deep psychological wounds. One psychologist says, “Forgiveness offers a pathway out of the kind of emotional and psychological pain that repeats and repeats itself throughout our life.” It offers release from the debilitating effects of guilt, shame, anger, resentment, and rage.

According to sociologist O. Hobart Mowrer, guilt is more detrimental to emotional and mental health than childhood deprivation or neglect. Guilt damages our capacity to love others and to love ourselves. It manipulates us, influencing our choices and the motivations in our heart. It closes us off from intimate relationships with the people around us.

◊ I always disobeyed you

Irene, my precious older friend, was praying with me for inner healing. Suddenly she stopped and said, “Judy, I’m sensing something about an animal, the death of an animal.” Immediately, my mind went back to a memory that happened many years ago. I hadn’t thought about it for a long time—must have been buried down inside me. I was only five.

My older cousin, Shirley, had stopped by and invited me to go with her to the drugstore over on Apple Ave. I ran inside to ask my mom. She was lying down on the couch with a headache that warm, summer day. “Yes, you can go,” she’d said, “but make sure the gate is shut so Nellie can’t get out and follow you.”

Several blocks from home, I heard a dog bark and turned around. There was Nellie chasing after us with her tail wagging. “Go back! Go back!” I yelled, but I didn’t take her back. A few blocks later, I heard a thud: Nellie had been hit by a car. I watched as she lay writhing in the street.

As I told Irene about this painful experience, I could see my sweet mother sitting there, weeping over the death of her beloved dog. From somewhere deep within, I felt pain like it was a bubble moving up toward the surface. I wailed aloud, “Momma! Momma, I always disobeyed you. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me!”

While Irene held me in her loving arms, I cried out my childhood pain to the Lord, confessed my guilt, and received forgiveness —and the wound in my heart was healed. No more pain or guilt resided there!

2. Produces the “Resurrection Effect”

Forgiveness is a crucial stage in the healing of our soul and spirit. It is a powerful force that lifts emotional burdens and brings peace and freedom into the heart. Christian psychologist, Charles L. Zeiders describes the restorative impact of forgiveness on mental health as a “psychological healing complemented by lightness of spirit.” He says, “Because forgiveness so powerfully lifts souls to the experience of new psychological life, I call this effect The Resurrection Effect.”

3. A tool of power

More than 2000 years ago, God provided us with the greatest tool of power ever given to humanity—forgiveness. Through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, forgiveness was made possible. The sacrificial blood of Christ was given in payment for all the transgressions of mankind. It alone has the power to set us free from the debilitating guilt, resentment, anger, and hatred hindering our lives. Forgiveness is the key to our healing and freedom. It opens doors to the realm of the Kingdom of God and his power.

Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19).




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