Forgiveness is when someone makes a decision to release someone else of a hurt, a mistake, or some wrong that the other person did.
So, here is one question: Have you ever needed forgiveness? Have you ever found it hard at times to forgive yourself or someone else?
The Mayo Clinic is a place of reliable, medical knowledge. If you go to their website you can do a search on “forgiveness.” In the articles about forgiveness, you will learn the overall health benefits of being a forgiving person based on published medical studies. Those who are forgiving experience lower blood pressure, better mental health, stronger immune system and other benefits.
From this evidence, it seems that we were made to forgive. Lack of forgiveness leads to physical conditions that are not beneficial for life, forgiving others lead to physical conditions beneficial for life.
Second Question: how do you think naturalistic evolution accounts for this connection between forgiveness and health?
One of the central teachings of Jesus was forgiveness. Jesus told a story that went something like this: A man owed a king $1 billion. When his debt came due and he could not pay, the king ordered for this man to be sold into slavery along with his wife and children until the debt was paid. The man fell on his knees and pleaded with the king saying, “Have patience with me and I will pay back everything.”
Out of pity the king forgave him of the debt and released him and his family.
That same man was walking on the street and came across a neighbor who owed him $3000. He confronted the neighbor and choked him saying, “Pay back what you owe me!”
The neighbor fell on his knees and pleaded saying, “Have patience with me and I will payback everything.” The man refused and had the neighbor thrown in prison until he could pay the debt.
Others who saw this were troubled and told the king. The king summoned the man and said, “You wicked fool! I forgave your enormous debt to me because you pleaded with me. Should you not have forgiven your neighbor for the much smaller debt when he pleaded with you?
In anger, the king threw the man in jail and sold his family to slavery until the debt was paid in full. Jesus finished this story by concluding, “So shall God the Father do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your neighbor from your heart.”
What strikes you about the man’s response to his neighbor? Have you ever responded that way to someone else? What do you think about the king’s response? What do you think the world would be like if all of us followed Jesus’ teaching to be forgiving with each other?