What Are The Consequences Of Not Forgiving?
Consequences of Bitterness
Your lack of forgiveness affects the body, soul, and spirit. Harboring bitterness in your heart brings consequences that affect you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Resentment causes imbalance in the hormones from the various glands of the body, producing many physical symptoms and diseases.
Weakened immune system
The stress of bitterness weakens the immune system and heightens your susceptibility to physical ailments. Often doctors can trace physical disorders to a point in time when bitterness began to develop.
Refusal to forgive causes fatigue and loss of sleep. Soon your eyes and facial features reflect your inner distress.
Mental and Emotional Consequences
It takes emotional energy to maintain a grudge. When your emotional energy is exhausted, you become depressed.
Hating someone produces stress hormones in your body. You become worn out and unable to cope with daily challenges.
Detrimental emotional focus
Bitterness and resentment create an emotional focus toward the person who offended you. This focus causes you to become like the one you resent. The more you think about his actions, the more you begin to reflect the basic attitudes that prompted his actions.
Inability to love God
“If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother; he is a liar. For he that loveth not his brother, whom he seeth, how can he love God, whom he seeth not? And this commandment we have from God, that he, who loveth God, love also his brother. ” (I John 4:20–21).
Doubts about our relationship with God
Jesus said, “For if you will forgive men their offences, your heavenly Father will forgive you also your offences. But if you will not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive you your offences. ” (Matthew 6:14–15).
Major hindrances in the spiritual development of others
Bitterness is easily passed from one generation to another, and it will have a significant impact on your children. (See Deuteronomy 5:9.) Attitudes of bitterness also cause your family, friends, and acquaintances to discredit your Christian testimony.
Scripture relates bitterness to gall and describes it as something that can grow and spread to hurt many people. (See Acts 8:23 and Hebrews 12:15.) When Jesus instructed His disciples to forgive again and again, “until seventy times seven” (see Matthew 18:21–22), He challenged them to a lifestyle of forgiveness that offered freedom from the consequences of bitterness.
“Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:30–32).