The Power of Forgiveness

We’ve all had someone who has harmed us or wronged us in someway. We all have someone we should forgive, and can’t manage to make it happen. Sometimes, that person we need to forgive is ourselves. (That’s often the most difficult one.)

Forgiveness is taught across all religious and spiritual practices. In Christianity, Jesus instructs us to forgive unconditionally. In Judaism, if one person wrongs another and sincerely apologizes, the wronged person is duty bound to forgive. In Islam, forgiveness is very important and followers pray to Allah, asking for forgiveness all hours of the day.  Buddha taught the importance of a peaceful mind and forgiveness plays an important roll in that peace. (1)

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However, forgiveness isn’t just looked at by the religious and spiritual among us. Science has begun to look at how forgiving, or not forgiving affects us physically and emotionally. Researchers have looked  at the benefits of forgiving, as well as the consequences of not forgiving. Here’s what they found.

Throughout history, those that were able to forgive, were able to thrive and produce more offspring. In order to survive, without the strength and speed of other animals, humans had to work together. Those who were accepting of others, and willing to work together, were more apt to survive. (2)

Science has found that forgiveness has a genetic component. It is also taught and passed through example and interaction with others. (2)

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Negative effects of non-forgiveness (holding onto resentment or anger) (2)

  1. Heart rate increases
  2. Muscle tension increases
  3. Blood pressure increases.
  4. Less in control
  5. High amounts of stress
  6. Higher levels of pain
  7. Higher levels of cortisol (stress hormone)

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How does forgiveness help? (2)

Forgiveness alleviates all of the negative consequences of resentment or anger and allows us to heal. People who forgive see the following benefits:

  1. Lower resting blood pressure
  2. Easier to cope with chronic pain
  3. Lower incidence of depression
  4. Improved immune system
  5. Improved nervous system
  6. Lower rate of heart disease

Overall, when we forgive others, we are just plain healthier people, physically, mentally and emotionally. We are happier, more productive members of society, with healthier relationships.



I leave you with a  beautiful and touching story about the power of forgiveness. Mary Johnson’s only son, Laramiun Byrd , was shot to death at a party in 1993, at the age of 20. Laramiun was killed by a 16 year old boy by the name of Oshea Israel. After serving 17 years of a 25 1/2 year sentence, Oshea is now out of prison, and lives next door to Mary. This is their story.

One thing to remember when it comes to forgiving someone.

You are doing it for yourself, not the other person.

Until next time, namaste my friends.




19 thoughts on “The Power of Forgiveness

  1. A perfect example of how difficult it could be to follow the word wholeheartedly. For him to forgive himself-takes even more strength, as his mind needs his own permission to clear itself. This truly praises the internal work of God.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Mary is right. Unforgiveness is a cancer that will eat you from the inside out. I’m always amazed when I hear stories about people who have neglected to forgive for years and years. One word comes to mind. Bitter!

    This story however brought tears of joy to my eyes. Very touching testimony. This is what we can only hope is shared more often by the media. For me, the power of forgiveness came right out of the screen as a wonderful reminder to me that forgiveness is possible even under the burden of what for 17 years could have been something very different. Thanks for sharing!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The story also shows how difficult it is to forgive ourselves, as Oshea is having a difficult time. This is where I struggle as well. I don’t have as hard of time forgiving others, as I do myself. So glad you enjoyed it. 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If I were to sit and talk with Oshea, I would gently ask if she had ever thought about writing and posting a letter to the part of herself that needs to be forgiven, addressed to herself from the part of herself that wants to forgive.

        In this letter she would specifically say what and why she’s chosen to forgive; mainly because of it being high time it was accomplished in love and by her own hand.

        I would hope that Oshea would stamp & post the letter which would in due course be opened and read once or as many times as it would take for the part needing forgiveness [or anytime it did in future] when further empowerment to let go and move forward feeling free of this weight.

        I would also say to the forgiving part of Oshea that she need only forgive once. It’s the feeling of regret from not forgiving/feeling forgiven that repeats over and over.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “The weak can never forgive.Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – Mahatma Gandhi.
    Beautiful words, aren’t they ?
    Infact , here in India , a holy event & a festival of forgiveness called Paryushana is being celebrated every year. Right now , it’s underway ( from 7th September to 14 th September )
    So Let’s share our thoughts on & celebrate Forgiveness :

    Liked by 2 people

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