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Happiness and the science of forgiveness

“Forgiveness is the trait most strongly linked to happiness.”
(Elias, Marilyn: U.S.A. Today, December 10, 2002  “Psychologists Now Know What Makes You Happy”)

The psychologist's view of  happiness, reported above, ties in with the Biblical view, but goes against the grain of much in contemporary culture. If forgiveness is tied that strongly to happiness, perhaps some of the ideas we have grown up with need to be thrown away. We tend to associate happiness with education, success, good health, and so forth. Not that those things are unimportant, but forgiveness is the single most important trait that leads to happiness.

There's a story told in the Gospel of  Mark chapter 2 that tells of four men who bring their paralytic friend to Jesus on a mattress. But they can’t get their friend to Jesus. So what do they do? They go up to the roof of the little house and tear it apart.

I've never noticed before but this was probably Jesus' own house.  He had moved to Capernaum from Nazareth; the point of the first two verses is that when Jesus returned from his short preaching trip around the neighbouring villages, he found crowds pressing around the door as though he were a movie star of well-know footballer.   Jesus himself was the unlucky householder  who had his roof ruined that day.  This opens up quite a new possibility for understanding what Jesus said to the paralysed man  How would you feel if someone made a hole in your roof? But Jesus looks down  and says, with a rueful smile, "“Your sins are forgiven.”

Some legal experts were sitting there, muttering among themselves, “Why does he speak this way? He’s insulting God. Only the one God can forgive sins.”

"Jesus immediately recognized what they were discussing, and he said to them, “Why do you fill your minds with these questions? Which is easier—to say to a paralyzed person, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take up your bed, and walk’? But so you will know that the Human One has authority on the earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed, “Get up, take your mat, and go home.”

Jesus raised him up, and right away he picked up his mat and walked out in front of everybody. They were all amazed and praised God, saying, “We’ve never seen anything like this!”" (Mark 2:8-12)

What is the relationship among sin, sickness, and forgiveness?  Forgiveness from God, removes sin and allows healing from sickness.

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