The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225

  (609)646-1181

Church of Christ

02/08/2010

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AND Forget


"To err is human, to forgive is divine."

Alexander Pope 1711


So, what is this thing we call forgiveness anyhow? Jesus taught it this way to really get the point across. "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins" (Matt. 6:14-15). Just to refresh your memory, you might want to read Jesus' parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18: 23-35. It looks like the only path for those who seek forgiveness, is to be forgiving people. Maybe the English poet Alexander Pope read all of this when he made the famous quote that I have used today. Forgiveness goes to our divine nature. It separates us from the dreaded average and raises us to a higher level. I could quote scripture after scripture after scripture about forgiveness and not be remiss. But you have probably read a lot of them and I don't want to lose you today.

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, is widely regarded in the field of medicine in many areas. Dr. Katherine Piderman, Ph.D, is the staff chaplain there and has written an article about forgiveness. In the article she states that everyone has been hurt by the actions or words of another. I guess she ought to tell us something we don't know, huh...But she goes deeper in saying that though the wounds we receive may leave us with feelings of anger and bitterness toward the perpetrator, "if we don't practice forgiveness, we may be the one that pays most dearly. By practicing forgiveness, we embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy." I wish I had said that!

The word forgiveness comes from the Greek term "aphiemi," which literally means to "keep no longer." The dictionary says; to give up the desire to punish...stop being angry with...pardon. Speaking in general terms, it is a conscious decision to just let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. Though the hurt of an offense may stay with us for a while, forgiveness can lessen its grip and allow us to get on with our lives and focus on more positive things. It can even move us to feelings of empathy, and hopefully, compassion for the one who brought the hurt. I will leave you with the Mayo Clinic's stance on forgiveness.."What are the benefits of forgiving someone? Letting go of grudges and bitterness makes way for compassion, kindness and peace. Forgiveness can lead to:

Healthier relationships
Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
Less stress and hostility
Lower blood pressure
Fewer symptom of depression, anxiety and chronic pain
Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse


Have a great start to your week... Let your light shine for Him Love mark Phil. 4:11

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