Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude. Martin Luther King, Jr. Sisters practice forgiveness.

According to studies conducted at the renowned Mayo Clinic, angry, unforgiving and negative people suffer health issues and die an early death. High blood pressure, depression, headaches, chronic pain, digestive problems, insomnia and a weakened immune system are a few of the issues resulting from harboring anger and resentment.

Holding on to hurt and pain requires a lot of energy-making your body work really hard to accommodate the negativity. Eventually, those systems say “uncle” and there is damage to your mental and physical health.

Forgiving others, especially family members, letting go of past hurts and grudges, releases the past and your mind and body can be restored to health.

Yes, forgiveness is important to your mental and physical health. To expand the importance of forgiveness, we need only look at the stress a rift in a family can cause-the ripple affect is incredible. The classic Hatfield and McCoy feud is a perfect example of a rift gone awry. Handed down generation to generation, many of the players probably never knew the real reason for the rift-yet generation after generation carried the torch of bitterness and resentment.

Be brave. Be the first to recognize the damage of a family in distress-and be the first to forgive. Set a pattern of forgiveness. We all come to earth with an unknown expiration date-how tragic for the family with unresolved conflict and a lost opportunity to mend relationships.