They say that "Unforgiveness is poison you drink, thinking the object of your unforgiveness will die". In reality, you are killing yourself and separating yourself from God. Studies have been done on the physical effects of unforgiveness. Some of those findings are: increased blood pressure, chronic stress, raised LDL (bad cholesterol) and reduced HDL (good cholesterol), decreased blood flow in coronary arteries, lowered immune system, chronic pain, and even cancer!
In an article from 2013 in Psychology Today talks says this: Several years ago, researchers with the National Comorbidity Study asked nearly 10,000 U.S. residents, “Would you say this is true or false? I’ve held grudges against people for years.” Slightly more than 6,500 people responded to the question. Writing in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology in 2010, they reported that those who said they tended to hold grudges reported higher rates of heart disease and cardiac arrest, elevated blood pressure, stomach ulcers, arthritis, back problems, headaches, and chronic pain than those who didn’t share this tendency.
In Matthew 18:23-35, Jesus tells a wonderful parable about forgiveness. The meat of this story, to me, is this passage: Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” Our torturers are within the mind. Bitter, unforgiving thoughts control and consume your body, mind and spirit.
But how do we forgive the unforgivable? How do we change? We know that it truly is a battle in our soul--our mind, our will and our emotions. You CHOOSE to forgive. You release them, over and over until it stops coming back. When they come to your mind, you immediately grab that thought and squash it with the Word, just as Jesus did when tempted by the enemy in the wilderness: (Matthew 4:1-11) With every temptation, Jesus responded with "It is written...."
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Yes, your unforgiveness, bitterness and even holding a grudge grieves the Holy Spirit!
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Yes! Don't try to drag past hurts into your future. There is no room for them and all that God has for you. Your unforgiveness, bitterness and anger will hold you back. It puts a wall between you and the blessings and divine purpose He has for you.
I can truly testify how good the peace that comes from forgiveness feels. I had every human right to be unforgiving, bitter and angry. And I can testify that once you feel that peace, you will more quickly throw off future hurts and unforgiveness. Once you have uprooted a deep root of bitterness, you will pull every little seedling that pops up. Nothing and no one is worth separating yourself from the peace and blessings that come with close communion with the Father.
In Philippians, Paul admonished two women who served with him in ministry to stop fighting. And now I want to plead with those two dear women, Euodias and Syntyche. Please, please, with the Lord’s help, quarrel no more—be friends again. And I ask you, my true teammate, to help these women, for they worked side by side with me in telling the Good News to others; and they worked with Clement, too, and the rest of my fellow workers whose names are written in the Book of Life.
Always be full of joy in the Lord; I say it again, rejoice! Let everyone see that you are unselfish and considerate in all you do. Remember that the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.
Please don't allow one more day to pass without letting go of all unforgiveness, bitterness and anger that has rooted in your soul. Peace is the reward.
Matthew 4:1-11 Matthew 18:32-35 Ephesians 4:30-32
Philippians 3:13-14 Philippians 4:2-7 (TLB) (all other scriptures are NKJV)