clean slateAs 18th-century poet Alexander Pope once stated, “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” Dr. Steven Standiford, chief of surgery at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, can testify to the truth of those words. Throughout his years of practicing medicine he has noticed that unforgiveness can have negative effects on sick patients–especially when it comes to cancer.

He has observed that “[i]t’s important to treat emotional wounds or disorders because they really can hinder someone’s reactions to the treatments, even someone’s willingness to pursue treatment.” With that in mind, Standiford and other doctors have incorporated “forgiveness therapy” alongside medical treatments to aid patients in their fight against disease.

Another one of these doctors in Dr. Michael Barry who did a study on cancer patients to find out what type of issues they deal with. He found that 61% of the cancer patients in his study had some unforgiveness toward someone. Of that 61%, over 50% had very intense feelings of unforgiveness due to very intense situations in their past. Barry points out that these feelings prompt chronic anxiety, which hinders patients from focusing on a hopeful mindset that can encourage them to not only seek treatments but can also help the treatments work.

Barry, a Christian and pastor, believes the first thing to move a patient toward that forgiveness is to highlight what Jesus told us in Matthew chapters 6 and 18 where he teaches that our heavenly Father forgives us our many sins as we forgive others their sins against us.

This is another real life example of how true and applicable God’s word is for our everyday situations.

He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat [healthy]. Proverbs 28:25

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you… Hebrews 12:14-15

Source: Lorie Johnson, The Deadly Consequences of Unforgiveness, CBN News, June 22, 2015.