Ephesians 4:31-32 (GNT): ‘Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ.’

Negative mental states adversely affect our physical health, with nothing more pernicious than anger, resentment, hate and bitterness. Forgiveness is a process and depends, of course, on what happened. It is incredibly difficult to forgive, especially when one has suffered terrible evil at the hands of others. However, anyone struggling with forgiveness need look no further than Jesus Christ. An innocent man brutally tortured and then murdered to appease ignorant, evil men. Christ preached love and forgiveness even when he was hung on the cross, suffering unimaginable pain and humiliation.

For anyone suffering from cancer, negativity is unhelpful at best. And at worst, negativity can lead to a rapid downward cycle of despair. Put past hurts behind you, and where possible, seek reconciliation. Without forgiveness, one is forever victim to past events that can’t be changed. For more serious situations, forgiveness releases us from the bondage of anger and bitterness. Forgiveness does not mean that we have to forget, although better for us if we do. It’s very easy to outwardly forgive, whilst secretly harbouring deep rooted resentment. I recognise this lamentable trait in myself and it can be a real challenge. Do not forgive just to pardon, forgive to endure, overcome and move on with inner peace and dignity.

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