The Bible teaches the importance of forgiveness for living faithfully and well, but what difference can forgiveness actually make in our lives, spiritually, emotionally and even physically? As an experienced pastor, counsellor and health-care administrator, Dr Dick Tibbits decided to find out. Taking a group of post-heart attack patients, he taught them how to forgive and then compared their measurable health results against those who had only received more traditional treatments.
Conducted as a formal scientific study, Dr Tibbits published the findings in the Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling. And he found that forgiveness works, lowering blood pressure readings and other heart attack risks in the study participants. As he summarises it, “The bottom line of the forgiveness study is this: people’s health and lives were measurably improved when they practised forgiveness.” This study formed the scientific foundation for Forgive to Live, demonstrating that learning the skills of forgiveness and putting them into practice can save the lives of those who do it.
“The bottom line of the forgiveness study is this: people’s health and lives were measurably improved when they practised forgiveness.”
Of course, Forgive to Live has a broader focus, reflecting on the nature of forgiveness—what it is and isn’t—and the damage done by un-forgiveness. It also offers tools for incorporating forgiveness into your life and its various experiences. The new “10th Anniversary Edition” adds a new chapter on forgiving ourselves, as well as including the full text of Dr Tibbits’ published study and discussion questions that can assist in working through these personally challenging topics.
We have all been hurt, disappointed and let down in various ways—so, difficult as it might be, we can all benefit by learning how to forgive better. Forgive to Live is a book that can make a difference, to us and to others with whom we might be able to share it.
The South Pacific Division is celebrating the power of forgiveness as part of this year’s Adventist Health Week (May 12-20). Order your Forgive to Live resources at www.facebook.com/SPDHealth.