When considering the field of psychology, it seems that more and more research is being produced that gives a deeper insight into how we as people operate. Methods of research are improving at an alarming rate, giving us more reliable tests that show what improves us mentally and what actually breaks us down, often with astounding detail. This being considered, it seems that the hot topic of today in psychology is that of the effects of forgiveness in a person's life. Though it seems that many would agree that forgiveness is not at all a bad thing, few had actually tested to see what kind of difference it could make. The results have been rather surprising in how much it actually helps a person find freedom from depression, stress and anger.
Recently in our Counseling and Theology class we read the book The Anxiety Cure, detailing the effects of anxiety and stress in one's life. Stress and anxiety can lead to nervous breakdowns and continually drain a person's energy both emotionally and mentally, among other harmful side effects of stress. I found it interesting in that research has shown that forgiveness, or rather a lack of forgiveness, has been tied directly to increased levels of stress in the a person's life. Though many feel that when you forgive the offender you are doing them a service, which is every bit true, many fail to realize that when you choose to forgive someone you are freed from bondage in your life. People have found freedom from the hurt and anger that they have been holding onto for so long. In this, it seems that forgiveness is yet another anxiety cure people can rely on.
When reading articles based on forgiveness, I found myself a bit surprised; not in the results, but people's reactions to the results. Forgiveness is something constantly outlined throughout the Bible. We are given so so many examples of people in Scripture that have had horrible things done to them, yet they respond in a way that astounds both the people in the story and the reader today. The story of Joseph and his brothers immediately comes to mind. The Bible has shown us long ago that forgiveness is both needed and beneficial in a person's life, research today is merely backing up what the Bible has already shown us to be true. Forgiveness is not at all easy at times, in fact it can be extremely difficult. However we must realize that when we choose to not forgive, we are in fact locking ourselves in bondage, constantly held in the moment where we were hurt the most. I encourage whoever reads this to look for yourselves at how beneficial forgiveness can be in your life, however I recommend all the more that we find it in our hearts to forgive those who have trespassed against us.