Ephesians 4:29–32 ‘And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.’ (vv30–31)

Our attitudes determine who we become and influence our health and ageing. Good attitudes are beneficial. God invites us regularly to audit our attitudes since they affect our spiritual health too.

This resonates with Bycock’s first essential words for a healthy life: ‘I forgive you.’ These are Jesus’ words from the cross. In agony, gazing down on His executioners, critics and disciples, He prays, ‘Father forgive them’ (Luke 23:34). The guiltless one holds no bitterness even as He dies, taking time to forgive with a voiced prayer.

Indeed, He left us this same prayer with the words, ‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.’ Let’s ask ourselves if we hold something against another; a family member, friend or colleague. We may have tried to address it, yet we continue to experience the same emotions when thinking about it and so it’s not been dealt with. 

If we’ve honestly forgiven, we can tell all remaining feelings of guilt to go. They’re only the past seeking to take up residence again. Our challenge? Confidently trusting in God’s forgiveness. Criticism, bitterness, and blame can only lock me in a prison of my own design. I alone hold the keys to freedom. 

Even if others reject my forgiveness, I move from the shadow and into the sunlight of God’s grace. Forgiveness is the soil within which we will flourish. So let’s downsize the scale of our complaints and criticism and allow our heart to expand its capacity to forgive.


Jer. 31:27–34; Mic. 7:14–20; 1 John 1:5–10; Heb. 8:7–13


Take the phrase, ‘I forgive you’ and consider who might need to hear
you say those words to them. Are you able to work with God and set yourself free?


‘Lord, may I learn to keep short accounts so that there is
little room for roots of bitterness to grow within my heart. Amen.’

From Wikimedia Commons
Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.