Forgiving The One Who Hurt You

Forgiving The One Who Hurt You

Forgiveness is hard, especially when we’ve been hurt deeply by someone we love. The emotions that come after pain has been inflicted are strong and valid, yet over time, latching onto unforgiveness is not good for anyone.

At one point or another, we will all be faced with the challenge of forgiving, and the struggle to not hold tight to anger, confusion, and resentment. But forgiving those who let us down frees us from the bondage to those emotions, and frees us up to let ourselves love with God’s love even when we are hurting.

There are times when we may not feel like forgiving right away after being hurt, like I talked about in today’s Proverbs 31 Devotion, They Don’t Deserve My Forgiveness.  And that’s okay. But overtime, it takes a toll. Not doing so prevents us from moving forward in our own lives, robs us of peace and joy, and prevents the opportunity for reconciliation and restoration of important relationships.

Learning to forgive – especially when our hearts are hurting and our minds are telling us it is not deserved – allows transformation to take place within us. It allows us to take back control of our feelings. and love with a love that can only come through the strength and faith we find in Jesus.

Forgiving is empowering. It takes the power away from hurt and bitterness and gives us the power back over how we feel, act and live. It unbinds us from the hurt and opens the door for God to begin a mighty healing – in us, but also in those who hurt us. Most of us know the passage in Matthew 18 about when Paul asked Jesus how many times he had to forgive someone, which I talked about in today’s devotion. But another important scripture is found in 2 Corinthians 2:7 which says, “Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.” True forgiveness leads to healing for BOTH people involved.

I’ve been on the giving end of forgiveness, and also on the receiving end of asking for forgiveness for my own wrong doings.  In fact, sometimes accepting and receiving forgiveness for something we did wrong is almost as hard as forgiving someone who hurt us, simply because we also struggle with forgiving ourselves. Yet just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean it’s impossible for either party involved, because all things are possible with God.

Below is the end-of-chapter activity from Chapter Five in my newest book Love Life Again: Finding Joy When is Hard. If you’re struggling with forgiving someone who has hurt you or let you down, consider taking some time to do them.

LOVE YOUR LIFE CHALLENGE #5

Forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it and set yourself free.

REFLECT:

Who in my life currently, or from my past, am I purposely or inadvertently refusing to forgive? How is my refusal to forgive them impacting how I interact with others, how I feel about myself, and my overall joy and peace?

How might life be different if I set myself free from the prison cell of unforgiveness?

ACT: Consider those people in your life who you have been withholding forgiveness from, then carry out these three steps:

  1. Write down the person(s) who have hurt you whom you have not been willing or able to forgive.
  2. Close your eyes and speak the words “Lord, I forgive (insert their name)”. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. You may not feel any different at first, but over time, God will begin moving in your heart and replacing pain with peace.
  3. When you’re ready, and it might not happen right away, pray for that person. You may not feel like it, but your willingness to pray for them helps set your heart free.

PRAY:

Dear Jesus, You know the shame and regret I feel for the sins in my life – some from my past, and some in the present. I am humbly asking for your forgiveness of all my sins and the ability to let them go and remember them no more. If I have harbored unforgiveness towards someone, open to my eyes to see how that’s affecting my joy and give me the strength to forgive those who have wounded me. In Jesus name, Amen.

SMILE: Buy yourself a bouquet of your favorite fresh flowers and put them in your kitchen in a vase. Each time you catch a whiff of their sweet, pleasing fragrance, remind yourself how loved you are by God and how forgiveness has set you free.

 

If you’ve ever forgiven someone who you didn’t feel deserved it, will you share how doing so set you free and how God may have used that obedience in your life for good – for you and the one who hurt you? Leave your comments on the blog

 

 

8 Comments

  1. Julie on Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 8:52 am

    Tracie, I have harboured unforgiveness in my heart for years! My husband was associate pastor of our church, the pastor’s wife seemed to resent me for some reason and especially when my husband and I answered His call to move on to interim pastor another church that was hurting, she stopped talking to me and avoiding me. I always spoke to her and never did anything to cause this! She has even unfriended me on Facebook! What??!! I was and still am hurt from this. Then just last year, (we have been at our new church for about 3 years now) my middle daughter graduated from college. She is still on the roll at our “old” church, and they had a graduate recognition Sunday and my daughter was not one of them. My feelings were hurt so bad, not for me but for my child! People she had grown up with, she was born at this church, saved at this church, and was failed to be recognized!! I still want to cry! I have forgiven the pastor’s wife in my mind, maybe not so much in my heart, but can’t seem to get past any of it. How do I get past this? This Sunday is their homecoming and I DO NOT WANT TO GO AT ALL!! Well part of me does for spite….I need serious help huh!



  2. doris on Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 8:56 am

    What do you do if the person didn’t hurt you but it is my sister and she hurt our mom very badly emotionally when she was very sick. When we were at the hospital she said, How often do we have to do this over and over. why doesn’t she just die?! She then did not return her phone calls and did not go see her because “it inferred with her and her children’s lives.” Lived in the same town and my sister did not work. She had time to spend time with her. My mother took care of herself and lived alone even. She had bouts of illness that put her in the hospital for three days now and then but she took care of herself. Even with an amputated leg she drove herself. My sister made her cry so many times and made her feel like she was “sucking the life out” of her and it was so wrong. How do you forgive that? My mom has died and my sister said it was for the best. How do you forgive the hardness of that?



  3. Lindsey Schenkel on Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 9:41 am

    Thank you, Tracie, so much for this reminder of forgiveness. It IS incredibly hard to do, despite God’s calling. As you talk about in your article, I work in a place with a lot of women, and the deceitfulness and cruelty displayed is at times overwhelming! While I’ve been working on forgiving certain coworkers (over and over again), my mind always thinks “I can learn to forgive, but do I stay in a workplace that is so toxic?” I don’t necessarily want to fall victim to the-grass-is-always-greener mentality just to get a new job and experience the same issues, but I can’t help but wonder if all of the daily negativity is doing damage to my soul…..



  4. Amy on Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 9:53 am

    I feel as if God targeted me with this. I have been needing to forgive my sister. I have always been there for her through her two divorces, helping raise her two daughters, as she was a single mom, I have given her money, bought her a car, and countless support in other ways. She now has her kids raised and is in a better place financially.

    When our dad moved in with me she promised to help me with him. To make a long story short, she has refused to help, and has not called or visited in over a year. I am just hurt that she doesn’t care enough about me to help me when I need it, like I did for her.



  5. Hurting on Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 10:26 am

    For years I have struggled to forgive my ex-husband. He is a narcissist, so does not even believe he did anything wrong by the emotional, mental, and once physical abuse I suffered at his hands. He pushed me so far mentally, I tried to take my own life. He used the mental state that he contributed to, to gain custody of our daughter. He has never apologized for what he’s done to me or to our daughter. He does not raise her, he lives with his parents. He is a parent when it is convenient for him (when he’s not napping, “studying,” going to the gym, with his friends, etc.). Our daughter wants to live with me, but he will not allow it. By the time (about 18-24 months) after he illegally (Used my medical records without my permission, I was in default in divorce proceedings because he talked me into trying again and I never responded to papers or dropped the divorce. I had no clue this had happened, and he went to court dates without my knowledge.) gained custody of her, the court proceedings of me trying to get her back were constantly drawn out. By the time the final date came, he had, had her in his “care” for over three years and even though the judge agreed how everything happened was wrong and shouldn’t have happened, he said she had been with him too long now and couldn’t move her. I spent countless nights praying, I kept detailed logs, I spent $30,000, and my baby girl did not get to come home. I felt like I failed her, I felt like God was punishing me, I was devastated. I went into a very dark place mentally. It’s been a couple years since then, and I’m working on getting back to God. I didn’t only harbor (still do) unforgiveness and resentment towards my ex, but I did towards God, too. I couldn’t understand why He didn’t help me and my daughter. It wasn’t just about me, my little girl’s life will be drastically altered by this. I’m scared for the day she sees who her father really is, because it will be an emotional tornado. I am very diligent about not speaking ill of him in front of her, because it is not my place, but it is inevitable she will figure it out on her own. She is 8 now, and asking a lot of questions that I don’t know how to answer. I can’t redirect forever. However, I feel pretty confident in saying I’ve forgiven God and myself for being angry with Him. My ex husband however, I just can’t seem to move past it. My heart is so hurt, I am still so damaged from the situation and I have been diagnosed with PTSD from our relationship. I need more help with being able to forgive him. Even saying the words of “I forgive …” makes me angry and sick to my stomach. I know it is not healthy for me, or my Faith. I have a counselor, but it just doesn’t seem like it’s enough. I’m tired of the anger and the bitterness. It affects me as a person, a mother, and a wife to my current husband. No one deserves the wrath of my hurting, not even me. I just don’t know how to fix it.



  6. Lauri on Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    I was molested as a child from 9 years old to 11. I am now 57 years old, close to 58. Until last year I never told anyone about it. I have had several therapists over the years but never said anything. It has been an issue with my relationships with men and my self esteem. I drank a lot and did recreational drugs to hold back the pain. I need to forgive this person and let go of the hurt and pain and anger. I suffer from anxiety and depression and I know that also stems from my past. Just how l go about it is a question I need answered.



  7. Audrey on Monday, June 10, 2019 at 10:17 am

    Lauri – my story is similar to yours. I highly recommend working through a couple of books that God used to heal me. Soul Care: Seven Transformational Principles for a Healthy Soul by Rob Reimer and Steps Member Book: Gospel-Centered Recovery. This is more of a small group book so you can’t really do it alone, but you may want to see if your church would be interested in it.



  8. Jeremy on Thursday, June 20, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    “…If we find ourselves minimizing something serious that someone has done, then we thwart forgiveness. When we find ourselves saying, ‘well, I wasn’t really hurt that bad,’ then we might be minimizing it when we shouldn’t be. …the depth and breadth of a ‘hurt’ is always in the subjective experience of the one who was hurt. If you were truly hurt, it makes no sense to minimize the hurt to arrive at someone else’s concept of ‘forgiveness.’ You’ll soon know, by how you feel, if you’ve minimized the hurt based on fact or based on something less truthful or less important. If you can’t seem to complete the process of forgiveness; if you can’t seem to truly let go, it might be that you’ve minimized the hurt….”

    Just a thought to add to the discussion



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Tracie Miles is a bestselling author and the Director of COMPEL Training with Proverbs 31 Ministries.  She helps women grow stronger in their faith, pursue the life of purpose God designed them for and live a life of peace, joy and happiness despite their circumstances.

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