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The Practice of Forgiveness

Updated: May 30, 2023

Lenten Series

What is good for mental health?


In the Christian faith, forgiveness is emphasized as a key component of salvation, Christians are to forgive one another just as God had forgiven them (Ephesians 4:32).

Psychologically, forgiveness has been shown to have many benefits for individuals, including reduced stress and improved physical health. It can also promote healing in relationships and foster a sense of empathy and compassion towards others.

However, forgiveness can be challenging, particularly when we have been deeply hurt or wronged by someone. Forgiveness, in general, could be misunderstood.

One approach to understanding forgiveness is through the lens of shadow work. In psychology, the shadow refers to the parts of ourselves that we keep hidden or repressed because they are deemed unacceptable or shameful.

By acknowledging and integrating our shadow selves, we can develop greater self-awareness and acceptance, which in turn allows us to have greater understanding and compassion for others.

This can help us to approach forgiveness from a place of empathy and grace, recognizing that all of us have the capacity to hurt others and that forgiveness is an important part of our own growth and healing.

As you contemplate forgiveness, consider this idea: Jesus was aware that Judas, someone who was very close to him, would betray him. However, Jesus didn't wait until after the betrayal to forgive him; instead, he chose to forgive Judas beforehand. This is evident in Jesus' invitation for Judas to sit at his table, despite knowing that he would not be loyal. In fact, Jesus knew Judas better than Judas knew himself. He even communicated it.

How in the heck does he do this? Consider this, Jesus was more concerned about who he was than he was concerned about the propensities and behaviors of others. He knew there was a greater plan.

Maybe this is what the journey into the wilderness taught him. It solidified his identity and trust in God’s faithfulness not man's. Jesus knew he was the embodiment of love, so that's how he showed up. #radicallove#identity#lent#forgiveness#knowwhoyouare

(Repost: Instagram @shantelcdavis)

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