Today at Sunday School, our lesson was one of forgiveness. Of course forgiveness is a recurrent theme in our Sunday lesson, but as I sat there enjoying a good cup of coffee with my bible open while listening to our teacher, I couldn’t help but to think about how many areas of our lives are affected by our forgiveness, or our lack thereof.
Forgiveness is a tough thing to do most of the time, for I would guess most people. However, being able to understand forgiveness is akin to a skill set that comes easier for some, and harder for others. Forgiveness requires practice in order to become more adept and being able to put into practical use for your well being.
By now, you may be wondering what exactly does forgiveness have to do with weight loss. Well, besides the numerous admonishments in the Bible to forgive, many people I believe do not fully grasp all of what it means.
Should you forgive those who have intentionally done you wrong?
Well, of course you should.
Should we forgive those who have accidentally done us wrong?
This answer should come a bit easier – once again, yes we should.
Now, this is the tough question – how important is it to be able to forgive yourself?
Forgiveness of others, and forgiveness of ourselves is vastly important for our overall well being. To forgive does not mean that you have to forget the wrongs that have been done to you. God does not want us to open ourselves up to being a punching bag for others. Just because we forgive the acts of another, does not mean we need to allow them back into our lives. To the contrary, we truly need to protect ourselves, to separate ourselves from the unneeded stress and drama that comes from some people in our lives.
We teach people to make their worlds small. Create an environment for yourself that is as stress free as humanly possible. If a troublemaker does not absolutely have to be in your life, then kick them to the curb and get them out of your life. If you have a friend who is constantly hampering your efforts at weight loss by inviting you to venture out to the newest cupcake shop in town – let them know they are hurting you, and if they refuse to understand your position, separate them from your circle of friends. And, you need to know that you can do these things and still be forgiving of others.
Jesus taught, “And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” Shaking the dust off one’s feet conveys the same idea as our modern phrase “I wash my hands of it.” Shaking the dust off the feet is a symbolic indication that one has done all that can be done in a situation and therefore carries no further responsibility for it. If you have forgiven another, your responsibility is done and over with, and you can shake off that dust.
When we hold onto anger, it has not even a little bit of effect on the offender. However, it can and will bring about great harm to ourselves when we can’t let things go. Stress symptoms may be affecting your health, even though you might not even realize it. You may think illness is to blame for that irritating headache, your frequent insomnia or your decreased productivity at work. But stress may actually be the cause.
Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
What is one of the first things we do when we are stressed. We often reach out for food, and rarely do we raid our refrigerator for healthy choices. If we did, obesity would not be such a problem as it is today in our modern world.
Forgiveness allows us to drop the heavy weight which pulls us down into the depths of depression and despair. No, it isn’t always easy to be forgiving of others, or even of ourselves. But as with any other skill set, it is one which must be practiced each day. When you forgive, you are free to walk away with a clear conscience, knowing that you’ve done all that you could.