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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Pastorgraphs: “As We Forgive Our Debtors”

E-Vangel Newsletter
May 19, 2014

Pastorgraphs: “As We Forgive Our Debtors”

No doubt you have recited The Lord’s Prayer many times. If you are like me, you pause a bit when you get to that part about “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”. I was hoping to find a loophole, but then Jesus added, “So also My heavenly Father will deal with every one of you if you do not freely forgive your brother from your heart his offenses.” (Mt. 18:35) And don’t forget, Jesus cried from the cross, “Father, forgive them”.

Forgiveness is easier said than done. Yet it is absolutely critical for your physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Now there is a scientific study to prove it. Researchers at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland show that you are better able to forget the details of a transgression when you forgive that transgression.

"It is well established that learning to forgive others can have positive benefits for an individual's physical and mental health," says Saima Noreen, who conducted the study. "The ability to forget upsetting memories may provide an effective coping strategy that enables people to move on with their lives." Overcoming strong negative emotions toward the person who “did us wrong” and quashing impulses for vengeance enables us to forget the details of that wrong.

The study involved participants reading 40 scenarios that contained hypothetical wrongdoings, including infidelity, slander, and theft. They were asked to evaluate the transgression and say whether, as the victim, they would forgive the misdeed.

A week or so later, they read the scenarios again. For transgressions they had forgiven in the first session, participants showed more forgetting the details of the wrongdoing. By contrast, participants showed no forgetting for scenarios they had not forgiven, even when they had been told to forget them.

So, while it is true forgiveness may be difficult to accomplish, the findings suggest that once the transgression has been forgiven, forgetting becomes easier as a result.

Over almost a half century in ministry, I have come across individuals who actually nurse long-held grudges. Invariably, those who do not forgive cannot forget, and actually hurt themselves more than the person who committed the wrong.

A comedian once said, “Forgive your enemies. It will drive them nuts!” There is always an element of truth in humor, and he may have hit upon something: The best way to get even is to forgive and forget. Forgiving might be the sweetest revenge of all.

Robert Brault once said, “If you can’t forgive and forget, pick one.” And Mahatma Gandhi taught us, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

If you think you have buried the hatchet, but you remember exactly where you buried it, you have neither forgiven nor forgotten!

So, let it go, sisters and brothers. Let it go!

Devotedly yours, Bill Jenkins

From the Quote Garden:
“I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive. Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note — torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one.”
~ Henry Ward Beecher ~

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