For most people, forgiveness doesn’t come easy especially when they were the ones who were hurt. If you ask someone to forgive, right away they say, “They don’t deserve forgiveness.”
When you’ve been abused or victimized, the last thing in the world you can imagine is to let them off the hook. The term, hook, literally holds an image of an angular metal shaped object hooked into something and if that something is a living creature, it probably hurts. In other words, the inability to forgive keeps you connected to pain – your pain and the other person’s pain. When you forgive, you release pain and the healing graces pour into you two-fold.
Numerous studies reveal when people forgive they are happier and healthier than those who hold resentments. They also showed when people think about forgiving an offender it leads to improved functioning in their cardiovascular and nervous systems.
Another study at the University of Wisconsin found the more forgiving people were, the less they suffered from a wide range of illnesses. The less forgiving people reported a greater number of health problems. Dr. Robert Enright from the University of Wisconsin–Madison longitudinal study focused on what kind of person is more likely to be forgiving. People who were generally more neurotic, angry and hostile in life were less likely to forgive another person even after a long time had passed. Specifically, these people were more likely to still avoid their transgressor and want to enact revenge upon them two and a half years after the transgression.
Remember, you’re forgiving to heal the ties that bind you in negative ways with the other person or against yourself. You don’t have to have physical contact in order to forgive an abuser or transgressor because the process is between God and you. If and when you should reconcile? Ask God for guidance with whether or not to restore the relationship. In most cases, the transgressor should show signs of sincere remorse for their actions and prove they have made significant and lasting changes to restore trust and renew a relationship of love, happiness, and compassion for each other.