Words of Hope: Anxiety Healed

Shann is a forgiveness researcher. I was listening to a lecture in which he enumerated the physical benefits of forgiveness— a more robust immune system, lower heart disease, lower cancer, lower autoimmune diseases, and lower anxiety, to name a few. The part about lower anxiety shocked me. Bitterness increases anxiety, while forgiveness brings greater internal peace. My grandmother was a professional worrier. She had severe anxiety. How would forgiveness have healed this part of her life? What role did bitterness play in her feeling worried and anxious? So much of my work with her revolved around trying to persuade her to be more peaceful. What if I had spent time persuading her to be more forgiving and committed to rooting out any possible grievances or bitterness in her life?

I have been more anxious this year and can directly see how bitterness has played a role. I have been navigating the issue with intentional breathing, prayer, news fasts, etc. Now I will add recognition of bitterness and the practice of forgiveness into the plan for living with greater peace. 

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32