I first learned the importance of forgiveness not long after I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (12 years ago). At that time, I remember reading Proverbs 14:30 which says, “A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy [envy, bitterness] is like cancer in the bones.”
I cried and cried because my bones (joints) were in daily agony. I was in ridiculous pain. And there was a lot of unforgiveness in my heart for a lot of different people. So I began to pray and I went through a long process, and a long list, of forgiving all the people in my life who had really hurt me. Listen to me friends, I think there is some confusion about what forgiveness is! I hear people say, “I’m not ready to forgive. I’m still angry. I’m still hurt. I don’t need to even think about that person because I’ve cut them out of my life and I just don’t even think about them anymore.” Forgiveness does not mean there has to be restoration of the relationship. Forgiveness is not a feeling, it’s not forgetting, it’s a choice! I looked up the Greek origin of the word forgive and this is what I found, the word áphesis, which means deliverance, pardon, releasing someone from obligation or debt. So when you CHOOSE to forgive someone it simply means you’ve chosen to give them over (deliver them) to God and maybe you said something like, “God, I don’t know how they could hurt me this way. I don’t like it. I know you don’t like it. I’m giving them over to you, I release them, I forgive them, and I ask that you heal this hurt inside of me.” You might still feel angry, or hurt, or bitter. . . You might have to say this prayer over and over about the same person or situation from your past, and that’s ok. Friends, I talk a lot about food, fitness, and relationships, but I believe that THIS PROCESS that I’m describing was the turning point in my healing journey – both physically and spiritually. I have been pain free for 6 years! Practice forgiveness. Ask God daily to show you how and to heal your wounds. He’s ready to meet you right where you are!