The psychology of forgiveness
Let’s face it, forgiveness is harder than we as Christians like to admit. The more pious you are the less you are likely to admit to that but unwillingness to admit to it doesn’t make it any less true.
It turns out that there is a good reason for it physiologically
The study was done by UCLA and posed the question, “Why do we furiously resent the minor insults but forgive, or at least let go, of the major ones?”
The results were quite enlightening if a little disturbing. Because it turned out that we do a similar thing to minor and major injuries. As well as travel issues.
Of course, because we can afford to hold little grudges is not a good reason to do so. That after all, is part of the Christian condition; to resist the natural human condition but I think it helps to understand don’t you?
Check out the article and let me know if you think it has helped you.
Being a secular study it does not help much with being able to resolve our inability to let go of minor infringements. Fortunately, as Christians we have prayer and it is worth remembering that from the Bible’s perspective forgiveness is a verb. We don’t have to drum up any warm fuzzy feelings we are just expected to act out forgiveness to others.
That means getting on with the relationship and praying for the Holy Spirit to renew our hearts to others. The act of behaving towards your offender as though they have not offended you regardless of your feelings is very powerful.
The prayer of St. Francis is by far my favourite and most challenging prayer in such circumstances when it talks about seeking to console rather than console. Putting others first defiantly helps me down the path of forgiveness. Though I will admit it takes time.
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