Why, with the same diagnosis and treatment, do some patients survive, but others die?
For another response to that question, check out, “The Forgiveness Project: Find Health and Achieve Peace.” Written by Michael Barry, D. Min., Director of Pastoral Care at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, this book describes recent findings of medical researchers who link cancer survival with forgiveness.
Emotional hurts create stress, anxiety, and depression. With less sleep added to eating difficulties, our immune system cannot function at optimal levels. Stress hormones may also create cardio-vascular and digestive complications.
Although the research is anecdotal (not scientifically measured), and no one asserts stress causes cancer, it indicates that psychological stress can and does facilitate its growth and spread. The inability to forgive reveals an emotional wound. To give ourselves the best chance to survive, then, we need to let go of resentment.
We may need help. If we haven’t resolved our relationship with some people on our own, we probably need others skilled to help us identify our wounds, to show us empathy for what we feel, but also to support us in taking steps to break the impasse. Forgiveness takes time, and doesn’t mean we exonerate others of responsibility. It does mean we learn to yield our clutch on bitterness. Our survival may depend on it.