There was a study recorded in a publication called “Outsmart High Blood Pressure” in which people were told to think about a time when they were hurt by someone and imagine two different endings, one in which they forgave the person who hurt them and one in which they held a grudge. The study found that heart rates and blood pressure levels were two and a half times lower when people forgave compared to when they held a grudge. Well that is good news isn’t it. Being a forgiving person is good for your health! But an experiment didn’t need to be conducted to determine that, it only requires a study of God’s word. Let’s try it.
Proposition: We have a forgiving God who made us in His image, therefore, we are designed to be a forgiving people (Genesis 1:26). So, what is God like? In 2 Chronicles 7:13-17 God says to Solomon: “If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” So, God is a forgiving God and we are made in His image! Why should it be a surprise that we are healthier when we function like we are designed.
But you know what’s even better news? We as Christians are forgiven people! Ephesians 1:7 reads “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” And you want more good news? We continue to be forgiven, I John 1:9, and John goes on to write in chapter 5:13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. All scripture between the covers of the Bible is inspired by God (II Timothy 3:16) and for the ultimate purpose that you can know that you have been forgiven in Christ (Romans 15:4). And that is where forgiveness is, in Christ! So, the encouragement for us, is to believe God’s word, and know that you as a Christian are forgiven by God and have eternal life right now! His promise is true and firm and you can stand on that promise and live like you’re a forgiven person, and God tells those He has forgiven to forgive. Ephesians 4:32 says Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. If you have not been living like a forgiven person, if you find it hard to forgive someone, maybe you find it hard to accept that you really are forgiven in Christ. You are! God says so! When you accept that reality, you will find it much easier to forgive others and your life will be much more joyful