Copyright © Linda Stuart 2013. All rights reserved.
Forgiveness Nurtures Love
The embodiment of Jesus’ love for mankind is found in the words he spoke from the cross: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
In Luke chapter 7, we are taught a powerful lesson concerning forgiveness. Jesus is invited to dine at the house of a Pharisee named Simon. While he is there, a sinful woman comes to Jesus and washes his feet with her own tears, wipes them with her own hair, kisses them and anoints them with perfume. The Pharisee, being a self-righteous man, observes the woman’s actions and says, if Jesus were a prophet, he would know “what sort of person this woman is who is touching him”. Luke 7:39
In response, Jesus tells Simon a parable about a moneylender whom had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii and the other owed fifty.
Luke 7:42 “When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?”
Luke 7:43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And Jesus said to him, “You have judged correctly.”
Then Jesus says to Simon, when he entered the Pharisee’s house, Jesus was not given water to wash his feet, nor was he given a kiss, nor was his head anointed with oil by his host. However, this woman who has washed his feet with her tears has loved much, and for this reason her sins, which are many, have been forgiven.
Luke 7:47 “But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
Forgiveness Sustains Health
Dr. Frederic Luskin of Stanford University’s Center for Research in Disease Prevention has found through recent controlled studies that forgiveness training can be an effective way of reducing anger and distress associated with feeling hurt. According to the Stanford Forgiveness Project, this may have important implications for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases. Research suggests unmanaged anger and hostility can be harmful to, not only a person’s physical health, but also one’s psychological and emotional well-being. In studies involving heart attack patients, research shows that patients whom acted in a more forgiving way were often able to demonstrate less anger and hostility, and thus reduce morbidity and improve overall quality of life.
In his new book “Forgive For Good” (Harper Collins, 2002), Dr. Luskin outlines nine steps to forgiveness. One of the principles central to these nine steps is: “Forgiveness is for you (the forgiver) and not for anyone else.” As Dr. Luskin explains in his book, forgiving someone for a past wrong does not necessarily mean the offending action is being condoned, nor does it necessitate reconciliation with the person who has caused the offence. According to Dr. Luskin, forgiveness is about finding peace for oneself.
Can these two notions — forgiving offenders through God’s example or forgiving for the sake of one’s own health — be reconciled? Perhaps what modern medical research fails to take into account is the healing power of loving one’s fellow human. In offering forgiveness to an offender, we help to mend and strengthen the fabric that pulls all of humanity together. Whether or not spiritual and scientific approaches to forgiveness can be harmonized, one thing is obvious — forgiveness is a powerful act of love that benefits both forgiver and forgiven.
- If You Don’t Forgive Others, Jesus Won’t Forgive You (blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com)
- I Choose to Forgive. (michellecollins.org)
-  April CE Write-up by Calvin Tantio (bbsp2014.wordpress.com)
- Jesus Christ and the Crucifixion: Chapter 9 Prayer Service (olmcridgewoodresources.com)
- Impossible (purelyhisministry.com)
- Devotional for Week of December 1, 2013 (oldgreenbrierbaptistchurch.typepad.com)
- Forgiveness – John 8:1-11 (thiscatholicgeneration.wordpress.com)
- Forgiveness! (fullyliving4him.com)
- Forgiveness! JESUS FORGIVES US ALL THE TIME! DO YOU??? (lgworkingit.wordpress.com)