Forgiveness as Healing

Spirit of Change 20th anniversary issue reprint from Winter 1990

A puzzled lady said to a friend, “I cannot understand it. I have the nicest neighbor who is dying of cancer. It seems so unfair, because this is one of the kindest, gentlest people I know.”

The friend replied, “She may seem kind and gentle, but if she is dying of cancer, then there is some old negative emotion that is literally consuming the cells of her body. There is probably someone she hates.”

When the puzzled visitor replied, “No, that cannot be,” she was advised: “Search further and you will find there is something or someone this person needs to forgive. Always where there is a health problem, there is a forgiveness problem.”

Later the mystery was cleared up. The one in doubt reported: “You were right. I learned quite by accident that this neighbor has a relative whom she violently hates. They have not spoken in thirty years.”

Though Jesus pointed it out twenty centuries ago (Luke 5:20), the surprise law of healing is still a surprise to people. It is the law of forgiveness.

It is an immutable mental and spiritual law that when there is a health problem, there is a forgiveness problem. You must forgive if you want to be permanently healed. When you bypass forgiveness, you bypass health.

The surprise is in how many people try to find their way back to health without first cleansing their emotions of the cause of their diseases. Health cannot be accepted by a body that is filled with the poisons generated by unforgiveness.

Cancer and Resentment

The nature of cancer may indicate some secret resentment or bitterness. Though one has been outwardly sweet and submissive, she has been inwardly grieved, hurt, intolerant and severely critical. As in all forms of disease, unwise living habits are usually indicated, too. That is the blessing of learning how to think right. As you employ proper thinking, you unconsciously relate it to proper rest, diet, exercise and other health habits.

The act of forgiveness dissolves the negative attitudes and memories that are lodged in the conscious and subconscious levels of your mind. Since your mind is located right “within” your body, your thoughts and emotions occupy space in your cells, bloodstream and organs of your physical being. Unless a mental and emotional cleansing takes place, such negative emotions fasten your health problems to you.

In spite of advances in scientific and medical research, no pill has yet been created that can cause a sick person to do the first thing she should — metaphysically — toward gaining permanent health — forgive.

Yet there is nothing unpleasant or embarrassing about the act of forgiveness. To forgive does not mean that you have to bow and scrape to those whom you feel have offended you. To forgive literally means to “give up” that which you should not have held on to in the first place! To forgive means to replace the ill feeling, to gain a sense of peace and harmony.

In most instances, you need make no outer contact with those involved in your forgiveness act, unless an occasion arises that demands it. If such an occasion does arise, it will be a part of the healing process. As you change your attitudes toward others, they will unconsciously respond by changing their attitudes toward you.

Your first act of forgiveness may not bring the changed attitude and peace that you seek, though it will bring improvement. You did not build up those resentments with one strong negative thought. Neither will one strong positive thought sweep them all away. Sometimes you have to persist.

You may not even be aware of what or whom you need to forgive in the past or present. It is not necessary that you know, although often it will be revealed to you, as you invoke forgiveness. The only requirement is that you willingly speak words of forgiveness, and let those words do their cleansing work.

Practicing Forgiveness

There is a simple way you can practice forgiveness. Daily meditate upon and speak forth these words: “All that has offended me, I forgive. Whatever has made me bitter, resentful, unhappy, I forgive. Within and without, I forgive. Things past, things present, things future, I forgive.”

Charles Fillmore, the Kansas City businessman who co-founded the Unity movement after experiencing a dramatic healing, once gave a healing formula that has inspired millions. Here is the treatment that Fillmore said is guaranteed to cure every ill: Sit for half an hour every night and mentally forgive everyone against whom you have ill will or antipathy. If you fear or if you are prejudiced against even an animal, mentally ask forgiveness of it and send it thoughts of love. If you have accused anyone, if you have criticized or gossiped about anyone, withdraw your words by asking that person, in the silence, to forgive you. If you have had a falling out with friends or relatives, do everything in your power to end the separation. See all things and all persons as they really are — pure Spirit. Do not go to bed any night feeling that you have any enemy in the world.

A woman discovered a lump in her breast. Instead of frantically rushing out to negatively discuss it with others, she decided to analyze the situation mentally and pray for guidance. She realized that a hard condition in the body indicates a corresponding hard condition in the mind. She thought: “What or whom do I need to forgive?” One day, in her daily meditation period, she realized that she still held hard thoughts about her husband’s involvement with another woman five years previously.

For the next several weeks during her daily meditation, she declared for both her husband and the other woman, “I freely forgive you and let you go. It is finished forever.” One day she realized that the lump in her breast was gone; she never knew when it disappeared.

Allowing Blessings to Flow

It is easier to forgive those you are inclined to condemn, resent, even hate, when you remember this: They have not really failed nor disappointed you. They have not even let you down. They may have stumbled while crossing your pathway, but, in reality, they cannot keep your good from you.

Often people try to shrug off the need for forgiveness: “That is not my problem. I have nothing to forgive.” If you have a problem, you have something to forgive. If you experience pain, you have a need to forgive. If you find yourself in debt, you have a need to forgive. Where there is suffering, lack, confusion or misery of any sort, there is a need to forgive. When your good is delayed, that is the time to forgive. Often everything stands still, and there is a deadlock, until forgiveness is released into the situation by you.

If you dare to forgive, you will gain control of the situation. You may not have had any prior power to solve the problem. Suddenly there will be a change. The situation will begin to shift and you will find a solution appearing. The forgiving state of mind is a magnetic power for attracting good. No good thing can be withheld from the forgiving state of mind.

Forgiveness can unblock whatever has stood between you and your good. Let it.

Excerpted with permission of the author from The Dynamic Laws of Healing by Catherine Ponder. 1966. DeVorss & Co., Box 550, Marina del Ray, CA 90291