Thursday, 04 November 2021 13:55

Unforgiveness is a stressor

Written by  Farmer's Chaplain Colin Miller
Farmer's Chaplain, Colin Miller Farmer's Chaplain, Colin Miller

OPINION: If you had asked my grandparents what stress was, they would have given you a very different answer than you would get right now.

Their generation was not wound anywhere near as tight as we seem to be today! Life was lived at a slower pace back then. As I recall, they were much more conscious of seasons, rather than hours, minutes, and seconds.

Now there's a thought - definitely some wisdom there I reckon.

To mention another thing while we're here; they were way less self-conscious than we are today. For starters, they spent much less time in front of the mirror!

Have you ever wondered what 'road rage' might have looked like back then? Imagine how that might have played out back in the horse and buggy days!

I’m amazed at how upset some folks can get over such miniscule and fleeting things, even silly little things that really are so shallow. The top not being put back on the toothpaste tube, or the toilet roll not put on the right way… my goodness, how serious is that? And the tantrum that follows, dare I call it childish, like someone hasn’t grown up yet.

I’ve read some interesting stuff on stress, and what it does to your mind and body. It can hammer our immune system, which is not good for our overall wellbeing, I promise you.

Fear is certainly a stressor, and we seem to have plenty of that on offer at present. Another one not spoken about much is unforgiveness: I have a couple of amazing stories in my files; one out of the POW camps from WW2; the other from the Truth And Reconciliation Trials in South Africa many years ago, following Nelson Mandela becoming president.

Quite aside from what is in my files though, we have had the privilege over many years of walking with some people through some very ugly stuff.

Now, there are a number of options that can help people cope with whatever has happened to them or is happening in their lives. And I’m ok with that because obviously coping is much better than not coping! But what if we can do better than just cope? What if we can actually get free and see that wretched thing totally lose its grip on us? Surely that has to be worth exploring.

Sadly, I often recall one person we never managed to reach. Talking with them one day through some of their many problems, I said to them, “It’s unforgiveness isn’t it.” To which they promptly replied, “Yes, and I can’t forgive them, and I won’t!”

Well, others have managed to and often from stuff much worse. This person could have too, but simply refused. So, they continued to live with stress as their constant companion, with some other nasties thrown into the mix.

Perhaps the best definition for unforgiveness I have come across is this: “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.”

In my journey to date, I have met some truly sweet and lovely people. Looking at them and being with them, you would have absolutely no idea what they have been through and what they have risen above.

It can be a challenge to even get their story out of them because they have so successfully moved on. All of the venom has gone. If I can persuade them to share just a little, usually some serious forgiveness is a major player in their story.

Yes, something happened that really brought great change to their lives. Or should I say “Someone.” Keep safe and God bless.

To contact Colin Millar email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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