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by Jennifer Brown Banks

(Why it Aint Just for Church Folks)

Forgiveness. It’s a popular sermon preached from pulpits across the country. It’s a biblical dictate in many chapters of the bible.

For some, it’s a mere cliché.

But for anyone truly wishing to improve their relationships and their lot in life, it’s a must! Here’s why.


The other day, while sharing some good news with a writer friend of mine, the topic turned to men. (As it typically does.)
In the course of conversation, I happened to mention that I’m on good terms with all my ex fellas’. (With the exception of maybe one, who is a WHOLE ‘nother article all together!) In fact, some of them are among my dearest friends today.

My friend listened in awe.

Truth is, there’s not one whom I wish ill will to. Not one I’m mourning. No one has me mired down in anger. The reason? That gives the other person power over your peace and well being. And I just won’t do it!

Things happen. That’s life. And whether I was the dumper or the dumpee, (and I’ve been both), I recognize that closure heals.
Frankly, I consider it their loss. And if they can live with that, so can I!

But I meet so many people holding grudges and not getting on with their lives... Clueless as to how this “excess baggage” weighs them down emotionally and psychologically... Clueless as to how bitterness clouds the horizon for future happiness.

What I’ve found is that people are not always deliberate or malicious when they cause us pain. Sometimes it’s the result of immaturity. Sometimes it’s a lack of good judgment. Sometimes it’s because they’ve been hurt. Sometimes it’s due to selfishness And sometimes, some just don’t know any better!

But whatever the reason, think about it. Is it worth being their emotional hostage?

In all likelihood, they’ve probably not given you or the relationship much thought. They’ve moved on. And that should be motivation enough for you to do the same!

Still not convinced? Studies show that no matter how awful the offense, forgiveness can have the following health benefits: It can…

» Lower blood pressure

» Improve immune system response

» Reduce stress by releasing toxic emotions

» Increase peace of mind

» Improve self-esteem and sense of empowerment

» Improve sleep

» Reduce dysfunctional patterns of behavior

» Increase energy for living and healing

According to info provided at, a study of 13,000 men and women showed that anger-prone people were three times more susceptible to heart attacks or bypass surgery as less-angry people.

The New Zealand Medical Journal published a letter from a clinician who did an analysis of histories, which showed that 60% of chronic pain patients demonstrated a strong element of a failure to forgive.

Non-forgivers were also more inclined to report illnesses and symptoms such as colds, infections, and headaches.

Think that your pain is too deep? Read on.

A classic case of forgiveness under extreme circumstances is the current interview coverage of Amy Fisher and Mary Jo Buttafuoco. Remember the headline story 15 years ago, called the Long-Island Lolita? Amy Fischer (age 16) had an affair with Joey Buttafuoco (35) and shot his wife in the head (amazingly, the wife lived)?

To make a long story short, she went to prison and now she’s out, married, and seeking to make amends for the past. So she requested an interview with Mary Jo to clear the air and seek forgiveness. And Mary Jo, upon seeing her, embraced her and allowed Amy the opportunity to tell her side of the story and bring closure to this event in her life.

Now that’s deep. And it demonstrates how charitable some people can be when it comes to forgiving others.

So if bitterness and a sense of betrayal have got you in its grasp, here’s how to overcome.

» Know that forgiving someone does not mean that you are accepting of his or her behavior. Nor does it mean that you have to have future associations with the offender. Just learn the lesson, maintain a level of cordiality, and move on.

» Remember that “the best revenge is a good life!”

» Forgive yourself for mistakes of the past.

» Remember that what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger!

» Consider it a gift you give to yourself.


> - The best approach to find the one. <

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Jennifer's Gems is a weekly column written by award-winning poet and writer, Jennifer Brown Banks. It is published every Wednesday. Click here to read her welcome letter.

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