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What is Real Forgiveness?

What is Real Forgiveness?
November 3, 2014 Lighthouse Network

For Immediate Release
November 3, 2014

Lighthouse Network’s Dr. Karl Benzio: Forgiveness Is Easier Than We Think

Philadelphia—As the air chills around most of the country and Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, many families have concerns about the chilly feelings around the holiday table, too.

Karl Benzio, M.D., a psychiatrist and founder and executive director of Lighthouse Network (www.lighthousenetwork.org), an addiction and mental health counseling helpline, says that anger, bitterness and unforgiveness among family members can make the holidays seem nearly unbearable, with deep-seated feelings of resentment that can last long into the New Year.

“Real forgiveness takes work,” Benzio said. “And especially at the holidays, as we revisit family members who may have caused us hurt in the past, forgiveness can seem impossible. But true forgiveness is actually easier than we think. Most importantly, it requires just one person. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t have to wait for someone to confess their wrongs and ask for forgiveness, although it is better for everyone when that second person is involved in the reconciliation process as well. But the truth is that we can simply forgive them on our own volition, freeing ourselves of the hold that anger, bitterness, vengefulness, hatred and spite associated with unforgiveness can have over our lives.”

Furthermore, Benzio said, when we forgive, we turn over the need to extract some form of payment from the offender for their penalty. That payment could come in the form of an apology, pain, humiliation, remorse, acknowledgment or payback. Real forgiveness allows us to end the power that the offender has over us. Once we stop waiting for that payment, we are no longer dependent on the other person for happiness. We are then able to let go of the offense and get on with our lives in peace.

“Forgiveness is a wonderful gift we give ourselves,” he added, “a healing salve for the spirit, mind and body. For our spirit, when we obey God’s teachings on forgiveness and forgive 70-times-7, we show we are worshiping God and making him the Lord of our life. For our mind, when we forgive, we psychologically and emotionally soothe our thoughts. And for our body, forgiveness actually improves our brain chemistry and helps in dealing with depression and addiction. It will even help in addressing physical ailments, as sicknesses ranging from cancer and heart disease to digestive disorders and stress-induced headaches and muscle aches can all be associated with unforgiveness.

“Forgiving is difficult, but it’s easier than you may think,” Benzio continued. “The truth is that forgiving is far easier than not forgiving and holding that grudge—and the alternative, not forgiving, is truly damaging.”

Forgiveness is a topic in many of Benzio’s counseling sessions, where he talks to patients about true forgiveness, which involves giving up dysfunctional anger, revenge, bitterness, judgments, passive aggressive behaviors, verbal abuse and resentment.

Those concerned about underlying anger and unforgiveness that may lead to substance abuse can call the free, 24-hour Lighthouse Network Helpline at 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242). The most effective help will incorporate God into the healing process, because without Him, no amount of rehab, treatment or medication can bring lasting healing and transformation. Lighthouse Network also provides online resources for those concerned about a family member, friend or a loved one. Visit www.lighthousenetwork.org/im-family-a-friend.

Lighthouse Network representatives and counselors also help those in need navigate the complex health care system and complicated insurance processes, offering expertise to clients to maximize their insurance in order to obtain the best treatment option with minimal out-of-pocket cost. Lighthouse can also help those without insurance find treatment options.

Benzio shares insights on various mental health issues in the one-minute daily radio feature “Life Change with Dr. Karl,” airing on approximately 425 radio stations across the country, including 200 stations in the American Family Radio Network. The purpose of the “Life Change” program is to bring scientific expertise and biblical principles together to examine some common daily struggles and help people successfully navigate life’s obstacles and enjoy fulfilled lives. For more information on “Life Change with Dr. Karl,” visit www.lighthousenetwork.org/life-change-with-dr-karl/.

Lighthouse Network works to guide struggling people through storms to achieve peace and find answers for those who have a hard time defining their problems. Lighthouse Network also offers the free, 24-hour Lighthouse Life Change Helpline toll-free at 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242).

Lighthouse Network’s web site, www.lighthousenetwork.org, provides information to those struggling to find help for their addiction problems, as well as to family members searching for help for a loved one. Topics addressed include alcohol abuse, addictions, and other mental health or life management issues.

Lighthouse Network offers several resources for those struggling with addiction and their families, such as Stepping Stones, a free daily devotional for managing life’s stressors and storms and equipping readers with healthy decision-making skills. Visit www.lighthousenetwork.org/stepping-stones/ to read the devotionals and sign up to receive them daily via email.

For more information on Lighthouse Network, visit www.lighthousenetwork.org or call the Lighthouse Life Change Helpline toll-free at 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242).

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