Monday, August 15, 2005

Practical Advantages of Belief in God - Part 8 and 9

Many psychologists have come to the conclusion that in 75% of their patients who are experiencing emotional illness, there is one main thing that stands in the way of a cure. These individuals have been badly hurt by one or more people in their lives. They may have been abused physically, emotionally, or sexually, or they may have been the victim of a tragedy at the hands of another.

This kind of event can cause great resentment, hurt, anger, desire for revenge, and/or helplessness because of being unable to be the avenger. These feelings often lead to bitterness which can show itself in depression, phycisal ailments, anger, substance abuse, or difficulty in having appropriate future relationships. The cure, say these same psychologists:

8. Forgiveness.
Once the injured party truly and completely forgives the one who harmed him, these emotions can flow away, and often there is a dramatic reduction in the depression or other outward manifestation of the bitterness.

It is possible for a person to forgive another without scripture and God to help out. However, since forgiveness is one of the primary themes of the Bible, the directions contained there are light years ahead of anything humans have devised. For instance in the very next verse after the Disciples prayer in Matt 6:15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

In my own experience I have counseled individuals who even claim they have no one to forgive or that they have experienced great hurt by another, but already forgiven them. Commonly, it turns out that the forgiveness has been cursory. They felt like they had to. Maybe to please a counselor or even as part of a Christian program. With Jesus and other examples, however, it is possible to forgive completely, from the heart. One way of measuring is to ask: “Do you still desire that this person come to some bad end?” If they can get to a point where they hope the best for the person, understanding that God will deal with them, miracles are possible in their symptoms.

9. Being forgiven. Clearly the corollary to this benefit of following Jesus is in knowing that the Creator of all things is standing ready to forgive you of even your most vile act. That moreover, he has asked your Christian brothers and sisters to forgive you as well. And that, he wants you go get passed the guilt and rage that may be burning inside of you as a result of your past bad actions.

In the same way that the Bible tells us to let go of bitterness towards others because we can’t control the consequences to them, and it isn’t our job anyway, God wants us to stop beating ourselve’s up. We are also unable to determine our own consequences, and the desire to punish ourselves or to wallow in our guilt lead to very destructive behaviors.

So God and Jesus provided example after example of how they forgave so that we could see that it was an important part of how we are to live.

10 and 11 are way cool. Go here

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