By Annette Stanwick –
Are you hanging onto anger in your life? Are you aware that holding onto anger, bitterness, hatred and the need for revenge could be killing you? Increased heart rate, increased chance for diabetes, increased blood pressure, to say nothing of the psychological damage those negative emotions have on your entire body, soul and spirit.
At a beautiful bridal shower the mother of the bride introduced me as the author of FORGIVENESS: THE MYSTERY AND MIRACLE, a book she thought everyone should read. At refreshment time a lady I’d never met pulled me aside to tell me a story.
“My son Josh was 17 when he and his best friend were cruising around town late one night. Josh was driving, and unfortunately they had both been drinking. They were involved in a very serious accident and Josh’s best friend died!
Josh was devastated! He knew he was responsible for his best friend’s death.
At the funeral, his best friend’s father approached him with fire in his eyes and anger in his voice. “Josh, I will NEVER forgive you for what you did to my son!”
Josh said he never would have intentionally done anything to hurt his best friend.
Counseling, psychological intervention and time seemed to help Josh heal; yet he just couldn’t forgive himself for what he’d done. On his 21st birthday we thought we’d finally made it through the worst. Josh was engaged to be married AND He was finally a man.
Three months later we were stunned and devastated when Josh took his own life! But that’s not the end of the story. Just three months later his best friend’s father took his own life as well.” Then she said the clincher. “ If only there had been even the smallest amount of forgiveness, at least two people might be alive today.”
Josh’s Mom gave us a huge gift by sharing that story. While not every hurtful situation ends in such horrible tragedies, we can nonetheless learn so much from this story. It would have only taken a small amount of forgiveness to have totally changed the outcome of this story.
If you are holding pent- up anger or are carrying a badge of honor that says, “I never forgive”, you are lining up for a life of agony. If you carry a heavy burden of guilt or shame for something you have done to hurt yourself or others, you undoubtedly find it difficult to forgive yourself. Whatever your circumstances, I encourage you to accept God’s love and forgiveness. Regardless of what you’ve done or no matter what the other person has done, God loves, accepts and forgives us and has made a way for us to forgive and let go of the past and those pent-up emotions.
May you reach out and accept God’s love and forgiveness right now, so you can forgive yourself and others, and so you experience the freedom and peace that comes through the miracle of forgiveness.
Annette Stanwick is a speaker, award-winning author and Freedom Facilitator. Her blog will be posted every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month. Visit www.annettestanwick.com
(Photo: watcharakun / FreeDigitalPhotos.net http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2265)