The myths around unforgiveness have taken so many people into an early and unrepentant grave. People have died, whilst others continue to be unwell because of the stress related to holding tightly unto past hurts or situations.
What is unforgiveness?
The best analogy of unforgiveness I have come across is that of C.S Lewis. He says “unforgiveness is like taking poison but expecting someone else to die.
To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
Negative effects of unforgiveness.
Sometimes we go without the realisation of the ravaging destruction that unforgiveness causes in our lives, and the lives of those we care about. It actually;
1. Steals your Joy
When you decide not to forgive someone, you fall into the temptation of staying in the state of victimhood.
You waste a lot of energy reminding yourself and others of the supposed horrible things that were done to you.
And every time you revisit the hurt in the attempt to justify your stands on unforgiveness, you chose pain over happiness and joy.
2. Makes you proud
People, who feel that they are better off, are likely to sink into the hole of unforgiveness. There’s a tendency to feel that someone else is not worthy of your forgiveness because you are unworthy of any form of hurt.
If you are in this place, let me vividly remind you of Romans 3:23 (all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory). Just the way someone else has hurt you, perhaps you too have hurt someone knowingly or unknowingly.
Moreover, proverbs 29:23 states that the proud shall be humbled and the humble shall be honored.
3. Causes health related risks.
When you refuse to let go of a hurt, this stirs up stress related illnesses.
In a study carried out by experts on 21 causes of stress, people issues were the number one cause of illness. It often starts as stress, and then it progresses to anxiety and ends up with depression.
Stress itself can’t kill you, but over time, chronic stress could kill you. According to health news, chronic stress causes increased levels of cortisol, often referred to as the stress hormone.
Higher cortisol levels interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, and increase blood pressure, cholesterol and heart disease. You can also read The Connection Between Forgiveness, Healing And Progress.
4. Pushes you away from God
For Christian readers like me, the bible says this in Mathew 6:15. If you don’t forgive others, God will not forgive you.
And the bible also tells us that unforgiveness is prideful and sinful. Therefore, when you chose to hold forgiveness back, you are in sin. Being in sin could lead to God’s hands becoming too short to touch you when you need him to hold you, and his ears deaf to hear you when you cry out to Him in prayer (Isaiah 59:2 ).
5. Rips off your peace
In my case, until I made the decision to truly forgive those that hurt me, and abandoned all plans to see them pay for the pain they caused me, I was always in hurt, anger and stagnation.
Making the decision to actively seek for a “body-mind-spirit” balance was the determinant that helped me to regain my physical health.
You’ll probably agree that when you are physically well, it is likely that your mind will be at peace, and your spirit will be calm and happy too.
In conclusion, unforgiveness is a type of cancer that eats into your heart, body and soul if left unaddressed. If you walk around bearing grudges, contemplating revenge and being adamant to forgive, you may end up losing your joy, developing stress related illnesses, pushing God away, losing your peace, and becoming a really proud person.
Some of the books recommended in this article will she more light to this topic.