Sunday, August 6, 2023

It’s Good for You

By David A. Sargent
    Forgiving others can be good for your health.
    This conclusion was reached in a recent study completed by Harvard University.  4,598 subjects from five countries – Colombia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Africa, and Ukraine – who said they’d been hurt or offended by another person, were studied by international researchers of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts.  In the study, subjects were asked to work through a “forgiveness workbook” that directed them in ways to forgive their offenders.  The results found that those who completed the exercises in the self-directed workbook experienced reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression compared to those who were not given the workbooks. *
    Refusing to forgive leads to bitterness and resentment.  Holding a grudge has been likened to a person drinking poison expecting the offender to die.
    Get rid of bitterness by forgiving others is what the Bible teaches us.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32 NIV).
    Forgiving others is not only good for our health; each of us also desperately needs forgiveness.
    Through our sins, we are the offenders of our holy God.  Our sins separate us from Him (Isaiah 59:1-2) and put us on the path of destruction (Romans 6:23).
    But God loves us so much that He offers forgiveness to us.  His offer came at a great price: the death of His Son, Jesus.  God gave His Son to die on the cross for our sins so that we can receive His forgiveness and the gift of eternal life.  “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7 NKJV).
    God will forgive and give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).  He will continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7-9).
    Those who accept God’s offer of forgiveness must be willing to extend forgiveness to others.  Jesus said, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV).
    Some ask, “But how can I forgive my offender?  He has hurt me!”
    Our ability to forgive begins by realizing how badly each of us needs forgiveness from God.  When we realize the immense debt that Jesus paid for our forgiveness, we are able to forgive others.
    Accept God’s forgiveness on His terms.  Then extend forgiveness to others.  It’s good for your mental and physical health now, and it is necessary to have eternal life.

- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled "Living Water." To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website:


* Information gleaned from “Forgiveness could lead to better mental health, Harvard study reveals” by Angelica Stabile of Fox News,

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