Doing the Math on Forgiveness

Doing the Math on Forgiveness

by Nadia Ramoutar  MMM Communications Coordinator                      Ireland                            07.05.2024

Perhaps one of the hardest things about being human is overcoming the hurt and harm that other people create for us. Whether this is when we are children or when we adults, forgiveness is an essential part of being able to grow up and to move on with our lives. Sometimes we are looking at forgiving something minor and sometimes we are being asked to forgive something major. No matter the size, being willing to forgive can be a huge ask.

What is forgiveness really? According to the American Psychology association involves wilfully putting aside feelings of resentment toward someone who has committed a wrong, been unfair or hurtful, or otherwise harmed you in some way. Forgiveness is not merely accepting what happened or ceasing to be angry. Rather, it involves a voluntary transformation of your feelings, attitudes, and behaviour, so that you are no longer dominated by resentment and can express compassion, generosity, or the like toward the person who wronged you.

Simply put, forgiveness involved letting something go that hurt. Or you could say that forgiveness is about overlooking something that hurt but not forgetting it necessarily.

When we look at Jesus’ perspective on forgiveness, we see that we were not expected to forgive a person once or twice. No, a lot more is expected of us.

In Matthew 18:21-22, Jesus tells Peter that he should forgive his brother who sinned against him, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Is this forgiving the same person that many times or multiple people seven times I hear myself asking for clarity. Basically, we are being asked not to keep the score.

We are asked to turn our cheek and to keep going. Not overcoming a hurt or way a person harmed us can be damaging not only to the relationship but to us too. Someone once told me that resentment is taking poison and thinking the other person is going to die. An inability to forgive works the same kind of way. We forgive at some point because not forgiving hurts us so much.

Research now indicates that there are significant benefits to forgiving someone. According to the Mayo Clinic there are many benefits.
• Healthier relationships
• Improved mental health.
• Less anxiety, stress and hostility.
• Fewer symptoms of depression.
• Lower blood pressure.
• A stronger immune system.
• Improved heart health.
• Improved self-esteem.
Some researchers are going as far as to say that the inability to forgive can create illness or disease for us which is literally a dis-ease, lack of ease. So, as we move through the world, perhaps we need to think who or what else we might need to forgive? It does not mean we have to reconnect with people or have to be close to them again, but it does mean that we let them off the hook, or seventy-seven hooks for that matter.
So let’s get unhooking!