Medical science is revealing the danger of unforgiveness. As Christians, we already know that we are commanded by God to forgive. Jesus stressed this in His ministry. So we know to be spiritually healthy, we must forgive.
But did you know that to be physically healthy we must forgive? Many of us are not surprised by this because some of us are convinced that the spirit and the body affect one another.
Forgiveness has been a proven healer in even the most dire cases. In fact, it is now part of cancer treatment in some circles. For example, at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Forgiveness Therapy is a must for people with cancer.
Jayne Garcia Valseca went through Forgiveness Therapy, and turned her Stage 4 breast cancer around. It also opened the door to the joy she had lost.
If you think you can’t forgive whatever wrongs were done to you, take a look at Jayne. If she can forgive, we all can. Furthermore, all things are possible with Christ. So if you’re thinking you can’t forgive, please understand that is simply not true. You can do it with God’s help and with some instruction.
Jayne and her wonderful husband Eduardo were living a blissful existence in Mexico with their three beautiful children when, out of nowhere, Eduardo was kidnapped. All the details of the horrific ordeal are chronicled in her new book, “We Have Your Husband.”
He was ruthlessly tortured for eight months while Jayne negotiated his release. She was having great difficulty raising the millions of dollars the kidnappers were demanding. With every delay came a picture of her husband being shot, being starved, being injected with poisoned blood (or so she was told).
He was finally released, weighing 80-some pounds. Not long after that, the stress Jayne endured during his capture began to take its toll on her body. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer.
Her cancer treatment wasn’t doing much, and her doctors gave her no hope. That is, until she went to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. It was there she met Dr. Michael S. Barry, author of “The Forgiveness Project.”
Together they discovered her seething anger toward her husband’s kidnappers and her unwillingness to forgive them for what they did to her family. But she came to understand that her enemies would have yet another victory by taking her life with cancer if she didn’t learn to let go of her hatred toward them.
Negative emotions, like unforgiveness, hate, grief, depression all put our bodies into a state of chronic anxiety. When that happens our bodies release adrenaline and cortisol. As a result, our bodies aren’t able to fight-off disease properly.
Jayne made the monumental decision to forgive. Once she did that, she learned how. She wrote a letter to her husband’s kidnappers, which she never sent, but which outlined how she felt about what they did to her.
Through prayer she asked God to help her forgive. And she found empathy for her enemies by imagining what trauma they must have endured to get them to a point where they could inflict such pain on other people.
She said when she finally found true forgiveness….the kind from the heart…it was light a weight being lifted. Dr. Barry says his patients often describe feelings of lightness when they forgive. Not surprising, when you consider what a heavy burden unforgiveness puts on us.
Dr. Barry has authored a program for churches, called “Release.” He travels the country conducting seminars teaching church leaders how to conduct forgiveness therapy in their own congregations. I would highly recommend this!
So more evidence continues to mount about how important it is to forgive.