For­give­ness is the way to go - El­der

Jamaica Gleaner - - FAMILY & RELIGION - Shanique Sa­muels Gleaner Writer fam­ilyan­dreli­gion@glean­erjm.com

MAY PEN, Claren­don: FOR­GIVE­NESS IS the best gift a per­son can give to some­one who has done them wrong be­cause not only does it lighten your bur­den and al­low you peace of mind, it also frees the wrong­doer of their guilt and fear of re­venge.

The Bi­ble says in Matthew 6:15, “But if ye for­give not men their tres­passes nei­ther will your Fa­ther for­give your tres­passes.”

El­der Ge­orge Gor­don, who wor­ships at Chapel­ton Sev­enth-Day Ad­ven­tist Church, shared his thoughts with Fam­ily and Re­li­gion on the free­dom of for­give­ness. “It frees you – the of­fended as well as the of­fender. It pre­vents you from get­ting ill, hav­ing to store up ill-feel­ings against a per­son. Let’s say some­one owes you money and re­fuses to pay. Each time you see that per­son, your brain sends out chem­i­cal sig­nals to your body that may po­ten­tially harm you. It could in­crease your blood pres­sure and kill you in a mat­ter of min­utes,” he ex­plained, adding that there’s a thin line be­tween in­san­ity and anger be­cause anger bears a bur­den on the in­di­vid­ual.

Gor­don al­luded to Ge­n­e­sis 25-30, which tells the story of how Ja­cob cheated his brother, Esau, of his birthright and then he was filled with worry for many years for fear of re­venge. Ja­cob lived with the fear that his brother might want to harm him for the wrong he had done him, but later on, ac­cord­ing to what the Bi­ble says, he (Ja­cob) lived hap­pily af­ter he found out his brother had for­given him.

NOT PER­FECT

“For­give­ness is im­por­tant be­cause the Bi­ble says, ‘Do unto oth­ers as you will have them do unto you’. We are not per­fect and have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, so if you want to be for­given, you must also learn to for­give your fel­low­men,” Gor­don told Fam­ily and Re­li­gion.

In Matthew 18: 21-22, Peter asked, “Lord, how of­ten will my brother sin against me, and I for­give him? As many as seven times?” but Je­sus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”

It isn’t al­ways easy to for­give and for­get be­cause forgiving doesn’t mean you will for­get. It sim­ply means that you have moved on from what­ever has caused you hurt or pain, and that is what will give you free­dom.

Gor­don agreed that it is im­pos­si­ble to for­give and for­get be­cause ev­ery­thing is im­printed on our minds, but what he en­cour­ages us to do is not to dwell on it.

“For­give­ness is the free­dom of mind, body, and soul and is nec­es­sary for spir­i­tual growth,” he noted.

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