Is Unforgiveness Bad?
We are all sinners; we commit mistakes every day because we are mortals. This is not an excuse but simply the fact of life. What we do is to try to forgive, forget and move forward.
However, some transgressions and faults are challenging to overlook, such as infidelity, abandonment, lies and other sins. We see these as unforgivable because they cause extreme suffering. The experience creates a painful mark on our heart and mind making it harder to overcome. What happens next is that we hold on to this anger and resentment. In the end, we are unknowingly punishing ourselves and suffering unnecessarily.
A quote about anger comes to mind, "getting angry is punishing yourself for the mistakes of others." These are like words of wisdom that may have come from a person who experienced adverse effects of unforgiveness. Not being able to forgive can lead to various consequences from mental, physical and spiritual aspects.
Negative Effects of Unforgiveness
1. Unforgiveness is bad for your mental health
Another disorder that may develop due to the inability to forgive is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is an illness brought by trauma. Some symptoms of PTSD are anger outbursts, numbness, nightmares and tension. This debilitating disease may result in damaged relationships and self-harm if left untreated.
Chronic anger from the inability to forgive negatively affects one's mental health, resulting in irregular sleep patterns, anxiety, depression and isolation. This distorts your perspective of life, making you doubtful and wary of the people around you.
2. Unforgiveness is bad for your physical health
Holding on to anger and grudge increases the risk of developing heart disease and cancer. Unforgiveness does not directly cause these diseases. It's the pent-up anger, resentment and grief that affects the body's immune system. Repressed emotions affect the stress hormone that alters your body's immune response together with the reproductive and digestive system. These disruptions then develop into various illnesses.
3. Unforgiveness is bad for your spiritual health.
"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.' " – Matthew 18:21-22
Christ has taught the apostles to always be forgiving of those who repent. This is evident in the book of Matthew. Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his brothers and sisters who have sinned against him, for he already forgave them seven times. From a human’s point of view, seven is considered a lot. But Christ answered him that "not seven but seventy-seven." This is not an actual number to count. It is only a parameter to always have a forgiving heart when someone repents and asks for forgiveness.
"Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him."- 1 John 3:15
An unforgiving heart is a result of anger and hate, which are the opposite of love. In John 3:15, anyone who hates a brother and sister is a murderer and has no place in the eternal life that God has promised His children. Holding on to hate upsets your relationship with God because this goes against his will.
"The Lord, our God, is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him." - Daniel 9:9
God wants you to live with a loving and merciful heart. From a loving heart, you can forgive those who repent and ask for forgiveness. God has continuously shown the value of forgiveness as he forgives us all for our numerous sins.
"But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." - Matthew 6:15
Forgiving others gives you a chance at redemption. There are several verses in the Holy Scripture reiterating how forgiving those who have sinned will receive forgiveness from God. Ultimately, if you want to have a relationship with God, you have to follow his examples and teachings to love, forgive and follow his life path.
Learn to Forgive
Situation and history affect how a person can readily forgive. Some have a naturally forgiving character, while some harbours hate longer due to personal issues. It is important to note that forgiving is not as simple as saying I forgive you for the sake of forgiving. Forgiving is a conscious decision to be free of one's ill feelings towards self or others and replace them with compassion, empathy and kindness.
"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters." - 1 John 3:16
God has taught us to forgive, not for the sinner but for our own sake. Because when we forgive others, God will also forgive us of our trespasses. He demonstrated how we must love each other, similar to how Jesus Christ laid His life to redeem us from our sins. If the pure could shoulder the bulk of our sins, the task to forgive those who have erred against us is menial.
Forgiving is an act that many cannot do. It is not that unforgiving people choose not to do so, but some just don't know how to start. Furthermore, forgiveness does not only apply to others. Forgiving one's self is also a crucial aspect in the process of healing. Learning to forgive is freeing to the mind, heart and soul that will result in a happy, satisfied and healthier you. Stop crucifying yourself for the mistakes of others, train yourself on how to forgive and let go of the negativity that keeps you from living your life to the fullest.
If you feel incomplete, trapped, unsatisfied and can't let go of hate and anger, we highly recommend our The essentials for adults: Reviving your higher consciousness course. This course is designed for young professionals and adults who seek to live to the fullest by tapping into their inner consciousness and seeking help from a higher being. This course will tackle:
- Introduction to Meditation Essentials
- How to Be Present
- Recognition or Awareness: Change your energy field through recognition
- How to raise your vibration through gratitude
- You are Alive: A deeper appreciation of your life
- Discovering Your Inner Self
- Freedom in Forgiveness
This will help you with intelligent decision-making, having a positive emotional state, empowered thoughts, and being more self-aware.