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Forgiveness and Your Health
by Tai Ikomi
10/07/2015 / Christian Living
According to both the Word of God and medical science, there is a correlation between our emotions and our health. Depression has a direct impact on our body, and in turn, a physically unwell body can cause us to experience negative emotions or even depression.
This has been proven: psychologists attest to this observation, and even medical science has begun to collect more evidence that leans in this direction. But thousands of years ago, the Bible, God's Word had already made the same declaration. The health of your emotions is directly linked to the health of your body. The Bible says:
A merry heart doeth good [like] a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones (Proverbs 17:22).
Forgiveness and our emotions
Forgiveness or being unforgiving, as the case may be, first strikes at the root of our emotions. When someone offends us, the blow goes directly to our emotions. Someone has inflicted our emotions and now we have a tender spot.
While a wrong done to us may have repercussions in other areas of our lives, it always comes back to our emotions. For example, if someone borrowed money from us (especially if it was an amount we could not particularly afford to give up), it could perhaps affect our standard of living, because the money was for our mortgage or car payment. At the end of the day, in addition to the inconvenience, it attacks our emotions. What we do about the offense makes a big difference as to how our emotions are affected.
It has been documented that being unforgiving can be hazardous to our health. Why is this so? Because unhealthy emotions have been documented to account for 75% of physical ailments. Refusing to forgive brings depression, sadness, anger, and restlessness to our hearts, resulting in unhealthy negative emotions.
For instance, let's take anger as one of the byproducts of being unforgiving. When we face immediate physical danger, we must decide whether we will fight or flee. The brain senses danger and sends help in form of the release of adrenaline, a hormone which preps the body to fight and face the danger headlong, or flee from the danger.
According to Mayo Clinic, this adrenaline increases our blood pressure and our blood supplies for immediate energy. Cortisol, another stress hormone, is released as well, increasing the level of sugar in the blood, providing us with immediate energy to deal with the physical danger facing us. These hormones, while handy, are meant to be employed sparingly.
The unfortunate reality is that when we are angry, the same process takes place. The brain senses danger but does not know the difference between a physical danger and an emotional one. The brain and our bodies react to both in the same way. When we become angry, the stress hormone is released even though there is no physical threat to warrant fighting or fleeing.
When we stay angry as a result of refusing to forgive, and these hormones are frequently released into our system, our immune system takes a hit. It is being weakened as a result of overproduction of these hormones. As a consequence, our body's ability to fight off diseases is compromised and weakened. A recent study shows that overuse of these stress hormones caused by anger, rage, and resentment can make it easier for cancer to spread, according to the Research team in April 2010 of Journal of Clinical Investigation. However, according to this journal, the beautiful thing is that this effect can be reversed once we take our emotional health more seriously.
In the Cancer Treatment Center of America, forgiveness therapy has proved invaluable in some cases for the treatment of cancer. The patient goes through forgiveness therapy to stop the frequent release of adrenaline and cortisol that are pumping into the blood stream as a result of stress from not forgiving. The immune system of the patient becomes stronger, and so it can better combat the rigorous cancerous cells.
Effect of unforgiveness on our body
The physical health of many people drastically improves when they decide to forgive. Another study shows that when people hold grudges, their heart rates and blood pressure are elevated, which often leads to heart problems. People with arthritis have been known to experience relief after forgiving their offenders. Since our physical health and emotional health are intertwined, when one part is deficient, the other suffers as well; there is an imbalance that needs to be remedied.
Doctors prescribe various drugs for physical illness. Medical science labels many illnesses as psychosomatic, meaning that when our emotions are in disarray, they cause the release of toxins into the physical body, leading to the onset of various physical diseases. These observations all point to the idea that there is truth to the Scriptures, and that in consequence, forgiveness, a prescription from God's Word, is good for the soul and body. Forgive to live.
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death (2 Corinthians 7:10).
A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear? All the days of the afflicted [are] evil: but he that is of a merry heart [hath] a continual feast (Proverbs 15:13-15).
These Scriptures, written centuries ago, could not be any truer today. Refusing to forgive causes harm to the body. Forgive for your health. Forgive to live. Forgive for your own good.
Lord, I pray that I will forgive. I will not harbor grudges and resentment in my heart because they are like toxins to my body. Help me to get rid of these toxins by forgiving those who offend me. Today, Lord, I release and forgive all those I need to forgive in Jesus' name.
(Excerpt, Forgiveness Discipleship Volume 1 - Benefits of Forgiveness by Dr. Tai Ikomi)
Dr. Tai Ikomi is an author of over 30 books .and a conference speaker. She gives seminars on the Names of God and forgiveness after forgiving the drunk man who killed her entire family. She is the founder of Forgiveness Discipleship.
Dr. Tai Ikomi
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