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Forgiveness improves our health : When we dwell on grudges, our blood pressure and heart rate spike—signs of stress which damage the body; when we forgive, our stress levels drop, and people who are more forgiving are protected from the negative health effects of stress. Studies also suggest that holding grudges might compromise our immune system, making us less resistant to illness.

Forgiveness sustains relationships : When our friends inevitably hurt or disappoint us, holding a grudge makes us less likely to sacrifice or cooperate with them, which undermines feelings of trust and commitment, driving us further apart. Studies suggest that forgiveness can stop this downward spiral and repair our relationship before it dissolves.

Forgiveness is good for marriages most of the time : Spouses who are more forgiving and less vindictive are better at resolving conflicts effectively in their marriage. A long-term study of newlyweds found that more forgiving spouses had stronger, more satisfying relationships. However, when more forgiving spouses were frequently mistreated by their husband or wife, they became less satisfied with their marriage.

They are also more likely to want to volunteer and donate money to charity, and they feel more connected to other people in general. Forgiveness can help heal the wounds of war: A research-based forgiveness training program in Rwanda , for instance, was linked to reduced trauma and more positive attitudes between the Hutus and Tutsis there. A study of people who learned forgiveness skills in war-torn Sierra Leone found that they reported feeling less depressed, more grateful, more satisfied with life, and less stressed afterward. Forgiveness training can help adolescent girls who are bullies and bullied decrease their anger, aggression, and delinquency, while increasing their empathy and improving their grades.

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Forgiveness is good for workplaces : Employees who are more forgiving are also more productive and take fewer days off, partly thanks to reduced stress around their relationships. People who practice self-forgiveness tend to have better physical and mental health. Forgiving ourselves may also improve our relationships. View forgiveness as something for you, not a gift to someone else: In his Nine Steps to Forgiveness program, Fred Luskin emphasizes that forgiveness is best seen as something that will bring you peace, closure, and reduce your suffering—a point echoed by Jack Kornfield in this video.

Ruminating on negative feelings is both unhealthy and unproductive. Look for the silver lining: This can be a controversial tip, but research suggests that after someone hurts you, you can forgive more easily by reflecting on the personal benefits you may have gained through the transgression.

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Writing about those benefits might be especially helpful. Researcher Aaron Lazare has studied apologies for years, concluding that an effective apology has four parts: It acknowledges the offense, offers an explanation for the offense, expresses remorse or shame, and involves a reparation of some kind. This might explain why apologies foster forgiveness.

Our natural response is anger. Sidney Simon, a recognized authority on values realization, has provided an excellent definition of forgiveness as it applies to human relationships:. It is rediscovering the strengths we always had and relocating our limitless capacity to understand and accept other people and ourselves. Most of us need time to work through pain and loss. We can find all manner of reasons for postponing forgiveness.

Forgiveness is an Essential Leadership Tool | The Fourth Question

One of these reasons is waiting for the wrongdoers to repent before we forgive them. Yet such a delay causes us to forfeit the peace and happiness that could be ours. The folly of rehashing long-past hurts does not bring happiness. Some hold grudges for a lifetime, unaware that courageously forgiving those who have wronged us is wholesome and therapeutic. Forgiveness comes more readily when, like the Amish, we have faith in God and trust in His word. It also enables people to look beyond themselves. More importantly, it enables them to forgive. All of us suffer some injuries from experiences that seem to have no rhyme or reason.

We cannot understand or explain them.

The Importance of Forgiveness

We may never know why some things happen in this life. The reason for some of our suffering is known only to the Lord. But because it happens, it must be endured. President Howard W. If we can find forgiveness in our hearts for those who have caused us hurt and injury, we will rise to a higher level of self-esteem and well-being. Here in Salt Lake City in , Bishop Steven Christensen, through no fault of his own, was cruelly and senselessly killed by a bomb intended to take his life.

He was the son of Mac and Joan Christensen, the husband of Terri, and the father of four children. After this terrible deed, the news media followed members of the Christensen family around relentlessly. It is the Father who awaits us.

What Is Forgiveness?

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