Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month , we will focus on the power of forgiveness .
How does unforgiveness affect mental health?
Research has shown that forgiveness is linked to #mentalhealth outcomes such as reduced anxiety, depression and major psychiatric disorders, as well as with fewer physical health symptoms and lower mortality rates.
We still hear a lot about forgiving in personal relationships. We are told to forgive the major blunders. We are asked to forgive and forget and continue living as if nothing happened. Does that work? To some extent yes, and to some extent no.
Most of us who have been hurt in relationship do not wish to forgive at all. The result is that we suffer from the pain all our life. We are advised to forgive so that at least we can feel peaceful. If we do not forgive, our own peace is lost forever and we suffer. Forgiveness is for us. To forgive does not always mean that the abuser can continue with the same behavior. You need not tell the abuser that you have forgiven him/her. Let them suffer for what they did. But by forgiving in your own mind, you get peace.
Relationship after forgiving - the relationship can never continue at the same level and intensity after any mistake has been made. No amount of forgiveness can ever bring the relation back.
Bringing relationship back - I have said earlier that no relationship will return to the same old level after a major mistake has been committed. This is true. But what if the partners want to bring it back to the old level? How should they proceed? Let’s find out how to forgive and live free !
Interview with writer/actress Nikki Miller about forgiveness
Nikki Miller is an actress, singer and writer from Atlanta, Ga, who recently released a book titled, “Change of Heart” based on true events.
Miller is the CEO of NRM Faith Based Films, LLC, a company she started back in February of 2015. She's an actress, singer, screenwriter, producer and now author. She was born and raised in Florida and lived there most of her life until moving to Nashville, Tennessee in 2004. She recently relocated along with her family to Atlanta, Georgia in 2015. In the early 90's, she attended John Casablanca Model and Talent School in Tampa, Florida and was signed to some highly prestigious agencies. She has extensive training in acting and is now tapping into screenwriting and film production. She recently completed her first faith-based screenplay entitled "Change of Heart" for which she wrote the novel to as well. Although new to the writing world, her goal is to inspire, encourage and change the lives of hurting families through quality faith-based films and novels, in addition to pursuing her other talents of acting and singing. She also enjoys mentoring and speaking with young people regarding their dreams and how not to compromise in accomplishing them. Nikki considers herself to be a diamond in the rough whose talents are yet to be discovered.
To unplug from all the stress, what are your top 3 songs you like to hear?
I like to listen to "I Got It" by Pastor Mike J, "Best Life" by Natarsha Kinder Garcia and "Never Lost" sung by CeCe Winans.
How did your faith helped you throughout your career?
My faith throughout my career, kept me from giving up during the times I wanted to. It's my drive to keep moving forward, no matter what happens in life. My faith also helps me to encourage and empower others to do the same and not give up. BP:
How would you describe success?
Success to me is when you've made an impact on another's life. When a person comes to you and says, "your product/service/message/lesson changed my life" (in a good way, of course), that's success.
Your book ‘ Change of hearts ‘ is about an unforgiving heart. How much does this story overlap with your own experience ?
Nikki: I would say quite a bit. For my experience, it wasn't so much that I was carrying around anger and bitterness in my heart for the family members that molested me as a child, because I actually had forgotten about it. However, every now and then, visions would pop up in my head as an adult that would cause me to cry. It was just pure hurt that I didn't know was still buried in my heart until I released (forgave) those family members in 2017, during a retreat my church does called the Encounter. That's when I felt at peace, and the weight of that hurt lifted from me. In my novel Change of Heart: Never Say Never, which will also be an upcoming movie as well, the main character named Calvin Hardy, Jr., hauls over into his adulthood anger and bitterness towards his dad from hurt that he experienced as a child. He received that same peace I did, but not until his world is rocked by a devastating event involving one of his sons. So, my goal for this faith-based family drama is to show a correlation of what unforgiveness does with ANY hurt and how the enemy uses that hurt against you and those close to you.
It will also bring about awareness of child sexual abuse and advocate speaking up when it first happens. Keeping silent does much more damage to the victim than speaking up. It's not my own personal story; however, it portrays what I grew up seeing, hearing and/or was a victim of. And the hearing and seeing wasn't so much my family, but of people in general in the church and outside as well.
If someone very familiar betrayed you in public by denigrating your career, how would you react ? Could you forgive this person?
Well, although a follower of Christ, I'm still human. With that being said, I would be upset about it, but still would forgive the person because that's what we are required to do. I know who I am and the life I live; therefore, denigrating my career would not affect my feelings forever. So, I would do my part and forgive them for my sanity and then allow God to handle the rest. BP:
Closure is so important for one’s own wellbeing. What advice would you give to someone who is currently in an unforgiving place?
That is so correct, the best closure for one's own wellbeing is to forgive (release) the one that hurt you. It is not for the abuser, the offender or whomever hurt you; you forgive for your own peace of mind and freedom. Harboring anger and bitterness from past hurt that was never addressed properly or at all, In my opinion, is the reason people are walking around depressed, oppressed, feeling rejected, suicidal and some even sick in body. I know forgiving someone sometimes is easier said than done; however, the Bible requires us to do so, but we don't have to do it alone. Again, when we do our part, God will do the rest and if you're concerned about the one who hurt you getting off "Scot-free', they're not because they ultimately will have to answer to God.
Grab your copy of “Change of Hearts” via Amazon:
Keep up with Nikki Miller on Instagram: https://instagram.com/iamnikkirmiller?igshid=wuiiagmepszw