I have had arguments with the father of my daughter because I haven’t been able to forgive him for doubting, when I was pregnant, that he was the biological father of my child.

Now he has started seeing our daughter again, but… even though everything is all right, those memories plague me day after day. I cry, and sometimes I can’t sleep. It all comes back to me as if it were yesterday. I feel that if we keep on fighting this way it will affect our daughter.

Dear Friend,

It sounds like you are very distressed. You feel so devastated that you have been unwilling to forgive.

You may subconsciously believe that your daughter’s father needs to have consequences for his mistrust in you. You know that he hurt you emotionally, so you believe that if you were to forgive him, he would no longer have to face those consequences. It seems to you that if you continue to refuse to forgive him, he may eventually feel some of the pain that you are feeling.

This line of thinking seems logical to you; he needs to hurt like you are hurting. But the problem is that instead of hurting him, you are causing him to think that you are difficult to reason with. You are continually taking the joy out of being with his daughter and turning it into an obligation that he must fulfill. It’s almost as if you are making him pay penance.

If your intention is to get him out of your life, then you will accomplish that quickly by refusing to forgive him. But if you want him to have a relationship with your daughter, then your refusal to forgive him is sabotaging the possibility of that outcome.

When we hold on to unforgiveness, we are the ones who lose. According to medical studies, a refusal to forgive is accompanied by anxiety, stress, anger, and hostility. These emotions can negatively affect your heart rate, your blood pressure, and your ability to fight illness.1 And those effects increase the risk of depression, heart disease, and diabetes. Conversely, forgiveness reduces stress levels and improves physical health.

Jesus Christ taught: “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”2 This teaching, along with other teachings in the Bible, make it clear that God will forgive our sins only after we have forgiven others for what they have done to us. Consequently, when we ask God, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, to forgive our sins, we must be sure that we have forgiven others first.

Forgiveness is not an emotion; it is a choice. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to choose to forgive your daughter’s father not only because Jesus taught that we should, but also because forgiveness will improve your health, and because you want God to forgive you for your sins.

We wish you well,

 
Linda

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1“Forgiveness: Your Health Depends on It,” Health, Johns Hopkins Medicine
Online 31 March 2022.
2Lk 6:37