Thursday, March 17, 2011

We've been talking about forgiveness, look what we found!

We found this article from Cancer Fighters Thrive Magazine Winter 2011!  It confirms what we with the help of Art Mathias - Biblical Foundations of Freedom book teaches! 

To Forgive Is Divine

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the pastoral care team has added one more treatment option to the mix: forgiveness. What does forgiveness have to do with cancer and its treatment? According to new research, a lot.
Forgiveness and the Immune System

It turns out that time does not heal all wounds. In fact, research indicates that individuals who harbor resentment and ruminate on past wounds trigger a physiological stress response in the body. Over time this chronic stress—and the consequent flood of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol—has a dramatic impact on the immune system. Put simply, anger and hatred eat away at us from the inside.
The link between stress and illness is still emerging. Researchers understand that there is a connection between the two, even if they have not yet been able to quantify this link. Still, sometimes a connection is enough to warrant caution (as evidenced by the link between smoking and lung cancer).
Unforgiveness —defined as being unable or unwilling to forgive—creates chronic stress and anxiety that isn’t helping the immune system and just might be hurting it. In fact, harboring anger or unforgiveness has been compared to drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. is an overwhelming introduction into the world of medical terminology and treatment options. While you’re still trying to decipher the complex language of your pathology report, you’re suddenly faced with big treatment decisions. You may choose to undergo surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and any number of other treatment options.
Defining Forgiveness
Most people confuse the terms forgiveness and reconciliation, but they are not the same. Forgiveness refers to the cancellation of a debt or an offense. People
who experience forgiveness have a sense of peaceful indifference toward a situation or person that formerly triggered an emotional response. Forgiveness requires only one person; you can experience forgiveness without reconciliation, but not vice versa.
Reverend Michael Barry, DMin, director of pastoral care at CTCA in Philadelphia, has been studying the link between forgiveness and cancer for years. His new book, The Forgiveness Project: The Startling Discovery of How to Overcome Cancer, Find Health, and Achieve Peace, is the culmination of years of research and experience working with cancer patients.
Rev. Barry says, "Forgiveness is the culmination of a miraculous process whereby a human heart, hardened by anger and hatred, is transformed into a heart released from these negative emotions. The process of forgiveness is not complete without this release.
"Forgiveness is often described by patients as a feeling of lightness," the minister explains. "It feels like you have literally been unburdened." In fact, one woman with breast cancer had a profound forgiveness experience and felt as if she had literally "gotten something off her chest."
If it sounds wonderful, that’s because it is. People who have found a way to forgive past transgressions radiate a sense of peace and joy. In fact, the number one trait of happy people is that they are forgiving.
Prescribing Forgiveness
We all know we "should" forgive. In fact, forgiveness is a basic premise of nearly every religious tradition. So, why is it so hard? And how do we do it?
With his new book and his forgiveness curriculum, Release!, Rev. Barry is helping cancer patients walk the path toward forgiveness. He says that forgiveness is not a simple step-by-step procedure but a unique process that unfolds differently for each of us.
Rev. Barry educates patients by removing barriers to forgiveness, including misperceptions about what it means to forgive. Forgiveness does not require reconciliation or condoning transgressions. It’s simply a way to empty oneself of hatred. Rather than offer steps, Rev. Barry offers insights that help lead patients on a journey of forgiveness.
He says that one of the primary ingredients necessary for forgiveness is the motivation to forgive. "Forgiveness from the heart begins with a decision to forgive and ends when you have an emotional shift that takes place. We can help you start a journey, and we can educate you, but a lot of it depends on where your heart is and whether you really want to forgive. I can be the best teacher in the world, but if the person doesn’t want to forgive, I can’t help them."
Rev. Barry explains that most of us employ avoidance tactics to suppress past hurt and trauma, but avoidance actually prolongs our suffering. Instead, he has patients face these wounds by writing about them. He prescribes a very intentional process whereby patients write for three 20-minute sessions within a 24- hour period. The idea is to spend time contemplating the trauma and dumping it out onto paper.
This narrative therapy begins the process of unburdening the pain and embracing forgiveness. By focusing on the situation, patients can remove the emotional charge associated with it. The process differs for everyone, but it begins with motivation and focused intention.

Finding Forgiveness
Rev. Barry sees himself as an educator. He tries to help people connect the dots and find their way to forgiveness. He has witnessed its healing power. He has studied the research. He believes in the inherent value of forgiveness, and his mission is to lead the horse to water, so to speak.
"I could not give you $25 million and tell you to go fall in love with someone. That’s not the chemistry of love," Rev. Barry jokes. "It’s the same with forgiveness. I could not give you $25 million and tell you to fall out of hatred, either. There’s essentially a little bit of mystery— an X factor, so to speak—with religious and spiritual dimensions."
In the end, forgiveness is a mysterious, spiritual experience that is unique for each person. "It’s a journey that people go on; and if their heart is in the right place, quite often it happens," Rev. Barry explains. "But there’s no guarantee. We don’t guarantee people will find forgiveness, but we can educate you and help you start a journey."
How will you know you’ve forgiven? "Oh, you’ll know," assures Rev. Barry. "You will no longer be overwhelmed by hatred and anger and you will know." CF THRIVE Magazine - Thank you!

Listen to this video, we put the lyrics with it!

Until the next time!

By Laurie Wertich

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