Forgiveness and Faith: How Forgiving Others and Yourself Can Improve Your Life - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Faith
November 21, 2016

Forgiveness and Faith: How Forgiving Others and Yourself Can Improve Your Life

Forgiveness is one of the most significant struggles Christians face, especially after they have been wronged. It is also, however, an integral aspect of faith, and a goal every person of faith should strive to achieve in all walks of life.

As a Christian, you know that salvation depends on God forgiving your sins through Jesus' death and resurrection and you likely understand at some level the importance of forgiveness in your everyday life, but you may not be aware of the extent to which it plays into your health, happiness, and relationships with others. Detailed below are a few of the many ways in which forgiveness and faith can transform your life:

Physical and Mental Health

Numerous studies confirm that forgiveness leads to better physical and mental health outcomes. Forgiveness helps to ease depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. It improves sleep, reduces blood sugar, and boosts your immune system. Furthermore, a 2011 Journal of Behavior Medicine study indicates that those who practice true forgiveness towards others live longer than those who stick with conditional forgiveness (in which they are rarely or never first to apologize).

Forgiveness should not merely be reserved for others; you'll also need to forgive yourself from time to time. Numerous studies indicate that self-forgiveness can lead to positive mental health outcomes. The best path to self-forgiveness is prayer. Once you repent and acknowledge your intention to closely follow Christ's example, you'll feel a weight lifted off of you, allowing you to actually follow through with your intentions of living out God's Word.

Relationships

From friendships to romantic partnerships, every relationship can be strengthened by way of forgiveness. Spouses are especially in need of forgiveness, particularly if their marriage is impacted by infidelity, addiction, or other major issues. Among parents and children, forgiveness can prove truly transformative, especially among those who have difficult memories from childhood. Without forgiveness, the traumas of childhood can carry over into the adult years, causing further grief.

Professional and Academic Success

It's all but inevitable that, even if you've never been wronged as a student, you eventually will in your career. The professional world can be harsh, and it's likely that you will eventually be outright mistreated or at minimum, taken for granted by bosses and coworkers. Holding a grudge will not take your career where you want, however. The more you dwell on the wrongs you've suffered, the less capable you'll be of taking the steps needed to ensure career success. You can acknowledge wrongdoing and even speak out, but eventually, you'll need to forgive the transgressor and build professional bridges. This will improve not only your job performance, but also your networking prowess.

The Bible consistently calls on Christians to display forgiveness, even -- and especially -- when it's difficult. In Matthew, when Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive after being wronged, the response is not just 7 times, but rather, 77 times. Colossians instructs: "Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you." As you pursue forgiveness in your relationships and in academic and professional life, you'll enjoy better health and a closer relationship with God.

For more information on how Geneva College can help you pursue your academic and career goals while living out your faith, contact us at 855-979-5563 or web@geneva.edu.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/25/forgiveness-health-benefits_n_6029736.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21706213

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/forgiveness/art-20047692?pg=1

http://biblehub.com/nlt/colossians/3-13.htm

http://www.allaboutgod.com/forgiving-yourself.htm