Young man seeking forgiveness from his friend.

Forgiveness as an Indicator of Health: Part 5

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This blog is one of a series on forgiveness and its’ health benefits. This report is about forgiveness and patients with heart disease.Young person seeking forgiveness from friend.

Researchers from the Veterans Administration Harbor View Health Care System in New York published a recent study saying that forgiveness is associated with better psychological and physical health, particularly cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) functioning. Although most forgiveness studies involve healthy participants, this study focused on people with heart disease.

Scientists collected data from 85 people in the hospital for heart disease on forgiveness, perceived stress, anxiety and depression, along with laboratory data including triglycerides (blood fats) and total cholesterol levels.

They found that higher levels of forgiveness were connected to lower levels of anxiety, depression, and perceived stress as well as lower cholesterol. One important finding showed that among cardiac patients, forgiveness may be associated with reduced risk for future cardiovascular events.

So, here is yet another example of how forgiveness is related to health.

Matthew 5:44 (NIV) instructs us to… Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Author

Gary L. Hopkins, MD, DrPH, MPH is currently an associate research professor at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan where he is also associate director of the Institute for Prevention of Addictions, Director of the Center for Prevention Research and Director of the Center for Media Impact Research.