What do healing and forgiveness have to do with each other?
Plenty, says Dr. Caroline Leaf, cognitive neuroscientist, Ph.D. in Communication Pathology, and author of #1 Bestseller, Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health.
Why should you focus on your thinking?
“If our brains are full of chaos, our bodies will be too.”
Leaf goes on to state that thoughts take up “mental real estate.” Thoughts run along structures she calls trees—in the form of electrical impulses. These currents cause your mind to secrete chemicals.
Fearful thoughts can cause adrenalin and cortisol.
Happy thoughts can cause endorphins, serotonin, and even t-cells and suppressor cells, which rid the body of bad cells like cancer.
These chemicals can directly impact your overall health.
“When you think a toxic thought, or make a bad choice, or you hang on to anything that is negative—anger, bitterness, hurt, irritation, or frustration—it impacts the production of those chemicals.”
Physical changes actually take place in your brain.
Conversely, positive thoughts—things like joy, passion, peace, and happiness—can have a positive effect. As you build different structures in your mind, you get the benefit or drawback that either type of thinking provides.
In the Bible, Jesus Christ shares a record that points directly to thoughts and trees. It’s interesting how this relates. In John 15:5, he states:
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit.
Jesus Christ was all about forgiveness. When Peter asked him in Matthew 18, how many times you should forgive a brother who has sinned against you, Jesus said, seventy times seven.
If you’re new to this, an easy source for positive thoughts is God’s Word.
What do you do if you’ve engaged in harmful thinking in the past?
You’re not stuck. Your mind can be rewired. The brain has neuro-plasticity, meaning it can be shaped through deliberate effort. The process takes place over a 21-day window.
In our natural state, “we are wired for love,” says Leaf.
Fear, on the other hand, is learned. There are only two natural fears: fear of falling and fear of loud noises. Everything other fear is a choice.
“Fear is a hijack.”
In Refuge From the Storm, Linda goes through this type of transformation.
About the DVD
She forgives her abuser, changes her thinking, and over time heals. Migraines go away, and life gets better. So how does forgiveness, specifically, factor into getting healed?
Psalm 103:3 states:
Who [the Lord] forgives all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases.
He forgives you and then heals you. The order of the words is perfect. Forgiveness and healing go hand and hand.
Who is doing the forgiving—who else? God. God forgives. But it doesn’t stop there. The very next thing to happen is that God heals. If God—the Creator of the heavens and the earth—can forgive, what about you?
And forgiveness isn’t only for the forgiven.
By forgiving others, you go from thoughts of bitterness to thoughts of love.
Negative thinking gets replaced with positive. Forgiveness, therefore, helps the person who forgives. You go from the “hijack” to healing.
You return to your natural state of love.
You don’t have to be afraid to forgive others. Forgiveness does not mean acceptance for what they did. To forgive is simply to excuse. It’s to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake.
To forgive is not the same as to allow negatives into your life. It is neither wise nor safe to allow those influences to remain.
What forgiveness does is free you.
Fear is always wrong. Happily, love expels fear. I John 4:18 states:
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
Fear has torment. That word for “fear” in this verse is phobos, in the Greek. It’s where we get the word phobia.
God admonishes the believer to keep or guard your heart with all diligence. To get rid of toxic thoughts like fear. It’s all part of the guarding process.
But how? Some of the things you’ve encountered might be pretty catastrophic—at least to you.
It’s simply a decision. You decide to forgive.
It’s easier to forgive when you remember how much God has forgiven you.
You no longer want hurt or bitterness in your life, your mind. You just decide that whatever the other person has done isn’t worth carrying around anymore. It’s slowing you down, stealing your joy, and to end that unwanted reach into your space, you forgive.
And you forgive and re-forgive until you can finally put it to rest. That’s the 21-day window Dr. Leaf talks about. You continue to forgive until you’re able to move on.
You transform your thoughts.
Incidentally, wherever you read Be Of Good Cheer in the Bible, it can also be translated: have your thoughts well arranged.
The first time that appears in Mark, chapter 9, where Jesus Christ instructs a man who’s sick of the palsy to have his thoughts well arranged—that his sins are forgiven. Moments later Jesus tells him to take up his bed and go unto his house. Guess what? He does.
Talk about physical changes taking place as a result of thoughts. There was a definite energizing here.
Do you have an area where you need to forgive?
Remember that when you forgive, at the very least, you are allowing love and the positives to build good trees in your mind. You’re releasing good chemicals into your body. You’re prolonging and enhancing your health.
You’re also helping the other person, when they want forgiveness, to get their lives on the right coordinates.
We’d love to hear about where you are on the journey to forgiveness. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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Enjoy Linda’s journey of deliverance from the comfort of your own home. The DVD for Refuge from the Storm is now available in stores at Walmart & BLU-Ray for Refuge from the Storm is now available online at VFI.
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