Doctor, Doctor: Bitterness and Unforgiveness

Doctor, Doctor: Bitterness and Unforgiveness

Bitterness and unforgiveness doesn’t pay. Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

OK, pretty graphic. And I can’t take credit for coming up with that analogy. But that’s exactly what bitterness and unforgiveness does. It’s terribly toxic physically, not to mention emotionally and spiritually.

It does no good to say, “It’s OK. It doesn’t matter.” It does matter, and that’s the very reason forgiveness is so important – and so difficult.

Some fascinating research has found some very physical effects of unforgiveness. (And by the way, this research has been done by psychologists and medical doctors at major universities.) Here’s a sample:

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7 Things to Do Intentionally Every Day

Girl Looking Down RoadDo you remember learning the classic laws of thermodynamics, perhaps in seventh grade science class? The basic idea of the second law goes something like this: any system will seek equilibrium where the least amount of energy is expended.

Now I’m sure any of you physicist types will find glaring holes in my paraphrase of such foundational principles: my apologies to such greats as Newton and Kelvin. But the point applies to ALL systems. Left to itself everything becomes more disordered. Without putting energy from the outside into a system it is doomed to collapse.

YOU are that outside energy. Doing something on purpose makes the difference.

I don’t want my personal “system” to collapse! And I know it takes doing things on purpose to keep that from happening. So, for myself, here are some things I must do intentionally every day:

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Growing Up Is Hard To Do

MadelynOur little granddaughter is a month old. Is there anything more precious? We’re told Madelyn will be the last one, so we as her grandparents treasure each moment just a little bit more. We know this will be the last opportunity to stroke such silky hair, to grasp such tiny fingers, and to hold such a tiny life in our arms – at least in the Tanksley family.

A newborn baby is a full-time job. Mommy and Daddy do it gladly – at least most of the time! But their biggest job is working themselves out of a job, helping her grow to become thoughtful, loving, wise – and independent.

Growing up emotionally, relationally, and spiritually is often harder than growing up physically. We pick up fears from the people around us. Something painful happens and we pull back inside and hide. The people who should be there for us somehow let us down, and we stop growing.

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7 Things to Check when Not Feeling Good

7 Things to Check when Not Feeling Good

Girl Feeling SickI’m feeling good today. Things are wonderful. Body, mind, and soul are doing well.

But there are certainly days when I don’t feel good. Something’s definitely off. Occasionally it’s immediately obvious what’s wrong, but other times it’s frustrating to just feel bad and not be sure why.

Part of maturity is coming to know oneself well enough to recognize warning signs, and to do something about them before things deteriorate further.

We can’t expect to feel good every day. That’s just life. There are certainly things outside our control that we do well to just “let go.” Some of those things directly affect us.

But I’ve also learned that some things predictably lead to a “bad day.” And if I do something about it, things will look different very soon.

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Doctor, Doctor: Ignoring the Symptoms

Sick womanI’ll call her Mary.

I could probably use her real name: she’s been dead over 20 years. I met her one night in the emergency room during my residency training. She had been bleeding for months, and finally became so weak that she allowed her family to bring her to the hospital. She hadn’t seen a doctor in years.

The diagnosis was easy to make once I examined her: late stage cervical cancer. We went through the steps: blood transfusion, biopsy, various X-rays, radiation treatment. We kept her as comfortable as we could. But Mary never went home again. She died less than three weeks later.

The real tragedy is that Mary didn’t have to die. At least not then. Not that way. She could have probably lived several more decades enjoying her life, her family – if only ….

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