Think back to a time when someone was really hurtful to you. What did they say or do to upset you? Whatever it was, thinking about the offense probably brings some of the same sad feelings back to you.
It’s hard to get over when someone hurts us, especially when the sting is still in our hearts. It can be very difficult to forgive them. But it’s a good idea to remember that there are many benefits of forgiving others.
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What Does it Mean to Forgive Others?
Before getting into the benefits of forgiveness, we need to go over its meaning. According to Webster’s Dictionary, forgiveness means to “give up resentment.” In order to reap the benefits of forgiveness, we have to be willing to give up our feelings of hurt and resentment. Sunshyne Gray describes forgiving others as a “choice to release an offender from our punishment…” In order to forgive, we have to make an active choice to do so.
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Why is Forgiving Others So Difficult?
With knowing we should forgive others, it should be easy to do, right? But most of the time, this isn’t the case. Sometimes we feel that forgiving others for the hurt they’ve caused us means we are saying that their behavior was or is okay. That we’re being passive and allowing them to hurt us.
Another reason forgiveness is so hard is because it stirs back up all the negative feelings from the past. These are probably feelings you’ve been trying to get over and forget, so dredging them back up can make the sting fresh again.
Why is Forgiveness So Important?
So why is forgiving others so important anyway? Can’t we just pretend it didn’t happen and move on with our lives? Friend, I wish it were that easy!
It turns out, that forgiveness is important for many different reasons. As a Christian, my faith inspires me to forgive others, just as Christ forgave me (Ephesians 4:32). Showing forgiveness is the right thing to do. It may take time to forgive the more terrible things you’ve had happen to you, but it’s still important and worthwhile. Keep reading to learn the benefits you get from forgiving!
8 Benefits of Forgiving Someone Who Has Hurt You
Now that we’ve admitted that forgiving others is difficult, but also important to do, it’s time to learn the benefits of forgiveness for you! It may seem like the person you’re forgiving is reaping all the benefits from it. But that’s actually not true. To finish this post, I’ll lay out XX of the physical, mental, and relationship benefits you’ll get from forgiving others.
Physical Benefits of Forgiving Others
Heart Health- One of the most important physical benefits of forgiving others is better heart health. Studies have shown that people who forgive are less likely to suffer from high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
Immune Response- According to a 2011 study, forgiving others may also boost your immune system. Having rheumatoid arthritis means I already have a compromised immune system, so I could definitely use a boost by practicing forgiveness!
Better Sleep- People that are willing to forgive others often experience longer and more restful sleep. More information continues to come out about the benefits of getting enough sleep. So if you’re having trouble sleeping, try adding a little more forgiveness into your life!
Mental Benefits of Forgiving Others
Less Stress- People who are more willing to forgive are also shown to have lower levels of stress. Too much stress can lead to weight gain, disturbed sleep, and other health issues. So practicing forgiveness might help your stress levels and your physical health too!
Less Anxiety and Depression- Anyone who has less stress tends to deal with less anxiety or depression. I know firsthand when my stress levels are high, my anxiety shoots up too. At that time, I’m usually stewing on something another person said or did that was upsetting. Forgiving that person helps me feel much less anxious.
Relationship Benefits for Practicing Forgiveness
Stronger Friendships- Have you ever had a friend who wasn’t very forgiving? In high school I had a friend that came off as always holding a grudge. She would become explosively angry when someone wronged her. As a result, she didn’t have many friends left before graduation. Friendships aren’t built on holding grudges. They are built on trust and mutual forgiveness.
Harmonious Family- Our family should be the people we love and care for the most. Even though that’s true, our family can also be the people we let our guard down and “vent” to the most. Since this is the case, we need to remember that forgiveness is important to our family relationships, “keeping no record of wrongs…” with them. (1 Corinthians 13:5)
Deeper Faith- Forgiving others is essential in order to gain deeper faith. As a Christian, I know God has forgiven me, so I must forgive others too. Colossians 3:13 reminds us of this, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
Do you know any more benefits of forgiving others? How do you stay motivated to forgive, even when it’s hard? Leave a comment to let me know! And be sure to subscribe to gain access to all free resources and never miss a post.