The Costly Price of Unforgiveness

Emotional Health, Physical Health, Spiritual Health

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I’m somewhat happy to write this blog on unforgiveness because I’m able to share my own personal experience. I’m also motivated by the fact that there are families out there that are broken and have been for years because of unforgiveness that could benefit from this article.

Have you ever thought about the devastating effects of unforgiveness on the physical, emotional, and the spiritual being of a person? Let me just run through it quickly so as not to over burden anyone reading this with so much negativity. I want this blog to bring positive encouragement for the one who gets to read it, whether they have experienced unforgiveness as an offender or a recipient of an offense or two.

Let’s look at the physical and emotional effects on someone who felt they were offended, and who is unwilling to let go of the grudge. Yes, I called it a grudge because after all, that’s what it is, a grudge and a desire for “payback”. Here are a few symptoms of unforgiveness: angry outbursts, emotional numbness, physical and emotional tension, emotional pain, hate, hurt, resentment, and bitterness, and that’s just some of it.

As we know these emotional and physical burdens to the body have health consequences, heart disease, stress, anxiety, depression, immune disorders, and many more.

There are also deadly consequences to unforgiveness. Chronic anxiety that comes from harboring anger and hatred and other negative emotions can produce excess adrenaline and cortisol depleting the production of natural killer cells responsible for fighting off cancer.

Consider the cost to personal health, and the destruction of relationship(s). Most often the wounds are so deep that restoration is not possible. However, I know that with God, nothing is impossible!

In Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus gives us the guidelines to forgiving:

“Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

“But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.

So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.””

And in Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus also talked about forgiving before “making an offering at the altar” which I take to include when we are approaching the Father in prayer, we need to forgive.

“Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

And of course the prayer taught by Jesus to the disciples in Matthew 6:12.

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

Unforgiveness is disobedience to God, disobedience is a sin. Sin separates us from God.

For a believer who says they follow Jesus and be in unforgiveness is a fallacy. The Holy Spirit cannot live in a heart filled with anger, rage, hatred, bitterness and a desire for revenge.

There is great freedom in forgiving.

My siblings who are upset with me for things that happened in the past 50 years (believe it or not!) including a more recent “infraction” that they and my mom claim to have been done against my mom by my husband, Doug, and daughter, Joanne who passed away in September 2021.
They want me to apologize to my mom for what Doug and Joanne supposedly did to her. I refused because Doug and Joanne didn’t do anything to my mom and I’m sorry, but I’m not going to apologize for something they didn’t do just so my siblings will talk to me. I don’t need them in my life if I have to agree to a lie and desecrate Doug and Joanne’s memories..

My relationship with Jesus is most important to me so I have forgiven them. I have peace and confidence and my heart is clear of any grudges against them. I’ve received hateful, angry and bitter emails that I didn’t even waste the time to read. Why should I fill my heart with such hatred? Hatred, bitterness and anger eats into one’s soul and I don’t want that in me.

Unforgiveness is poison. It’s destructive to a person and to relationships. It’s better to forgive and move forward. Forgiveness is not for the benefit of the forgiven, it’s for the benefit of the forgiver. The Bible is very clear on that.
Many people miss out on wonderful and rich relationships because of unforgiveness.

I have a hard time keeping things in my heart. I’m the type of person that I need to get it out of my system. If not, I would be harboring a grudge, and I would not feel comfortable being around a person that I have a grudge in. So I look at the relationship, I weigh its value to me, considering the length of the friendship, the gravity of the offense, what this person has done for me in the past, my frame of mind at the time the offense happened and so on. Then I ask myself: “do I value my relationship with this person more than the offense? Can we make amends and restore? Is what this person did to me really worth destroying a relationship for?

Most often the perceived offense is not worth losing a relationship over. If the person is open to receiving then it’s best to address it and give the person an opportunity to explain and/or clarify. Weigh the value of the relationship to you and if it’s more important, then forget the offense. Most of the time the so-called offense was a joke, or wasn’t meant as an offense. Human nature, the creatures such as we are, have a tendency to blow things out of proportion. None of us is perfect!

Hurt feelings are a terrible way to make decisions about whether or not to keep a relationship!

It’s usually a wrong word, a tasteless joke, or more often a miscommunication.

Unfortunately, in my situation, my mom decided she’s going to stick with her action of blowing things out of proportion because she was caught in making comments that were uncalled for and untrue, defending a family member who had the audacity to stick it to Doug after he went out of his way to help financially in a dire need instead of addressing the situation with the family member and correcting her.

As for my sister, she’s been carrying the burden of unforgiveness against me because I let her go after working with me for 10 years when she started to abuse her position. I won’t go into details because it’s shameful on her part, but when I brought Joanne, my daughter, in to work with me, my sister felt wronged again because she believed that, as my sister, she has priority over my daughter!

This has turned into a more personal blog because I wanted to give a true example of what unforgiveness is.

I don’t know who out there reading this has this unforgiveness in their hearts or is dealing with unforgiveness from someone, but I pray that the Holy Scriptures I cited above will open up the eyes to see and the heart to receive the message. The Bible says the word of God does not return void.

As I said, no one is perfect. It’s why we need Jesus. At some point in time, we have hurt someone.
It’s good to be mindful of feelings, we are all made differently, some more sensitive than others. The power of our words can wound and destroy as much as build. Once said, we can’t unsay it.

I don’t mean walk on eggshells, just be considerate and think how you would feel if the “shoe were on the other foot.”

And for the offended, don’t judge, don’t be hasty in throwing away a relationship unless the person has offended you without even caring about how it affected you. Get it out in the open, address it and if it can’t be resolved then make the necessary decision then. This way you’re not burdened by the destructive anger.

I have said enough. As the Bible says, if there is someone that you would like to resolve issues with, to forgive, do it. The cost of unforgiveness to your physical, emotional and spiritual health is not worth it.

If you benefited from this article, please let us know. Visit us at and check out our other articles. We strive to provide information, resources and tools that support a graceful aging journey.

Finally, don’t let unforgiveness rob you of a joyful life and rich relationships. The bitterness carries into how you view others and relate to them. It will affect your ability to have true and meaningful relationships in the future. Most of all, protect your relationship with God.

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About Grace
Hi, I’m Grace. I’m a Clinical Aromatherapist, Face Reflexologist, and AromaDermatologist helping women of all ages feel confident in their health and beauty again. Through my complimentary Skin Analysis + Discovery Call, I lead women troubled with their physical, emotional, and spiritual health to regain their health and beauty. Find me on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

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