Forgiveness: A Path to Health
If someone told you that forgiveness enables you to release toxic thoughts of anger, resentment, bitterness, shame, grief, guilt, and hate, would you be willing to take the leap?
Or have you rehearsed your toxic thoughts for so long and so frequently that there is no light at the end of the tunnel? Your heart is so hard you could crack a nut on it. In either case, my adage is, “Where there is breath, there is hope.”
I consciously began a healing journey many years ago. I knew I had huge issues and, in some cases, really didn’t want to release some of it. As a follower of the Jesus Way, I knew I had spiritual resources and should use them. The idea came to me: “Pray and ask God to give you a desire to stop doing the undesired behaviour and give you a desire to do the good.” Wow. This was a revelation which I still access. The key was, I had to walk it out. It worked.
Recently, still on a healing journey, Creator has brought forgiveness to my attention. In my Indigenous community, this is a controversial topic for many reasons, mainly negative ongoing consequences of European contact. This is given as a reason for not forgiving. I feel like I understand partly because I am still angry about much of it. But when Creator speaks, I want to listen. So, in this, what some have called a “post-truth culture,” Creator is giving me truth – from a scientist. Currently, my favourite devotional book is Switch on Your Brain Everyday: 365 Readings for Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health by Dr. Caroline Leaf. Her “Brainy tip” for Day 140: “Forgiveness positively impacts our mental and physical health.” She continues, “Forgiveness enables you to release toxic thoughts… It disentangles you from the source of the issue, removing the negative energy from toxic thinking. People who develop an ability to forgive have greater control over their emotions and are significantly less angry, upset, and hurt, and are much healthier.”
Interestingly, this is knowledge my ancestors knew also, but without the science.
Creator, put a desire in my heart to have a forgiveness mindset. Help me to release the darkness and embrace the light, causing me to walk in self-control and good health!
Sharon Pasula is an Indigenous spiritual and cultural resource person who lives in Boyle Street.