Jesus Christ instructed His disciples, “Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37). He also warned, “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11:26). But does following Jesus’ advice only impact us spiritually?
Modern scientific studies are demonstrating that there are physical health benefits to those who follow Christ’s advice and make the choice to forgive: “The science shows that forgiving others is related to general physical health” (Psychology Today, April 11, 2019). More importantly, research is beginning to show that those who forgive can actually begin to change their health for the better—improving the function of their heart or even decreasing their pain! These modern scientific studies demonstrate that anxiety (which can be caused by a lack of forgiveness) actually leads to depression—something King Solomon wrote about nearly three thousand years ago, “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good [kind] word makes it glad” (Proverbs 12:25).
When Jesus gave the command to forgive, He was sharing a powerful spiritual principle about a way of life He was trying to encourage His followers to adopt. However, modern science is coming to understand that following this principle also has real physical health benefits—something God, of course, has known all along. To learn about more blessings inherent in the act of forgiveness, be sure to read “The Benefits of Forgiveness.”