Here’s what the research indicates:
Guys: Lack of forgiveness tends to slowly erode your social confidence. When you are around others you start to become quieter. That’s because if you haven’t forgiven, then internally it is harder for you to trust. The longer this goes on, the more unable you are to communicate what’s going on inside. Rather than being willing to give helpful insights, you choose to not say much of anything. Your undetected insecurity leads you to continuously analyze (judge) others. Many guys already struggle in some of these areas, but forgiveness issues compound the problem.
Ladies: Holding on to an offense causes many of your interactions to seem harsher than you intended (to others, not to you). Sometimes your thoughts seem to be tainted by hostility. You can’t see it, you think everything is fine: “Don’t worry, I wasn’t really mad.”
Hmm, really? You sure appeared mad to everyone else!
Both: If you will not forgive yourself and others for past sins, you are far more likely to display symptoms of neuroticism, depression, and anxiety. You say, “Not me!” Yes, I’m afraid so—again, you just don’t know it! The research reveals that others notice, but you don’t. Pretty sick, huh? (Pun intended.)
Here’s an example. Have you ever met a person who always has to be right? Or, no matter what happens, it’s never their fault? Where does that come from? Research shows that forgiveness issues keep us from releasing the pain of past hurts. We unknowingly compensate by always needing to defend ourselves, to “prove” that we are right and others are wrong.
The stress of not forgiving has been associated with many medical issues. My friend Laura Fletcher is an ER Doctor—but she battled chronic illness. Her journey to recovery led her to start www.UnSick.com. Watch her two-minute introductory video to understand that treating only the symptoms doesn’t cure an illness. Dr. Laura is committed to helping people get to the cause.
Finally, I’d like to look at this from a faith-based perspective.
@MichaelHyatt, the best blogger on the Internet, once talked about mistakes vs. sin…
Many people assume mistakes and sin are synonymous.
They are not. The term “mistake” implies an error in judgment—something done unintentionally. For example, a legitimate mistake might be:
These could all be legitimate mistakes. They happen because we get distracted or careless. But a sin is more than a mistake. It is a deliberate choice to do something you know is wrong.
Unlike a mistake, we choose to sin. Therefore, we must accept responsibility for it—and the consequences that follow. This is the measure of maturity and marks the transition from adolescence into adulthood. It is the foundation of a civilized society.
I think he’s right. As a person of faith, I’ve made more than my share of mistakes and I’ve sinned far more than most. But that’s all part of my journey. I sinned (purposefully) so many times that I truly didn’t believe that someone like me could be loved or forgiven. When I heard that I could experience both . . . that really was good news! If you’ve ever wondered if you could forgive someone, you can, especially after you’ve been forgiven. Watch this incredibly powerful 2-minute video that has no spoken words. You might be changed forever.
PLEASE take the time to forgive (and get forgiven). You’ll be a better leader! CLICK TO TWEET
THE BOTTOM LINE: This wraps up a three-week exploration of forgiveness in the workplace and in the life of a leader. I trust it was helpful and gave you opportunity to grow.
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