10 Verses For When You Struggle to Forgive
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14,15)
Oh how I wish I could delete certain memories from my mind. The command to forgive would be so much easier.
But I can’t.
The reality is, we have all been wounded by people in our lives and we can either replay those wounds over and over and let bitterness take root and grow in our hearts – or we can choose to forgive.
It is a choice.
An active, intentional choice.
If you are struggling to forgive others who have hurt you – you are not alone. I have wrestled with these verses and had to apply them over and over.
Bitterness is ugly! It makes a heart cold. I want to grow old gracefully – with a genuine smile of joy that reflects a heart of freedom and peace in Christ.
Forgiveness does not mean we forget.
While it’s humanly impossible to forget the wrongs done to us, we can choose to leave them in the past. This is a mature way of thinking.
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way. (Philippians 3:13-15)
Forgiveness does not equal trust.
Trust needs to be rebuilt through watching the actions of the offender, to see if there has been a true heart change.
The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. (Proverbs 22:3)
Forgiveness does not equal reconciliation.
Reconciliation is the ultimate goal in a broken relationship and sometimes when we take the first step to forgive, this leads the other person to repentance and a true heart change. But this is not always the case.
You may offer forgiveness and the other person may not acknowledge the offense. Perhaps they are happy to receive the forgiveness but in no way are sorry for what they have done. Or they apologize but their actions show there has been no true heart change. As a result, the relationship cannot be fully restored.
If we act as though the offense never occurred, trouble will be right around the corner.
Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16)
Jesus told believers to be as innocent as doves – offer forgiveness.
But be wise as serpents – be cautious.
When we don’t forgive others, our walk with the Lord is hindered. God knows what is best for us and so he commands us to forgive others just as he has forgiven us.
Forgiveness is good for the soul. It is the beginning of bringing healing to your heart.
It does not make the offense okay -but it makes you okay.
Need more encouragement from God’s Word?
Here’s 10 Verses For When You Struggle to Forgive
To print this bookmark – click here.
The natural way to respond to an offense is anger and bitterness.
Bitterness steals joy.
Bitterness steals peace.
Bitterness steals your sleep.
Do not go the bitter route!
See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled. (Hebrews 12:15)
The temptation to be bitter will pop up over and over again. We will never master forgiveness and we are sure to be offended again. That is why Jesus tells us to forgive seventy times seven.
Your enemy, the devil, does not want you to forgive and live free. He wants you to stew in pain. He wants you to be angry, vengeful, hurt, depressed, miserable and resentful. Don’t give in to the devil. Remember who the real enemy is – it is not that person who has offended you but rather the devil using this person to take you down.
Refuse to go down!
Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. (Ephesians 6:10)
Remember the blood of the lamb, spilled out for you, for the forgiveness of your sins.
It’s time to begin healing my friend –and healing cannot begin until you forgive.
Today – make the choice to forgive as Christ has forgiven you.
Choose to live free!
Need more help learning to Rest and Release.
This Bible Study is for you!
You can find the Free Video Series HERE.
And it’s available on Amazon in paperback here and Kindle here.
So helpful. Thank you.
Yes and amen! Thanx….a third word in due season in the last 24 hours….a big AHA moment happening…I’ve got some stuff to do…. 😉
Thanks so much for your insights Courtney. It’s funny how I read your essays when you post and I just always think ” she is so kind and so godly, I bet she never says a mean word or hurts someone’s feelings or carries a grudge.” I sincerely appreciate your willingness to tell people that even you struggle with forgiveness. I would love it if you could elaborate on what forgiveness looks like when you encounter the person who hurt you but who has never apologized. I tend to feel very guarded around them and therefore not very friendly or outgoing. Do you think the Bible requires us to behave in a loving manner as if the other person never said those cruel words? I try not to belabor the mean words, I pray for the other person, but when I see her I can’t behave the same with her. I don’t say mean things to her….I just tend to be quiet. What does forgiveness look like even tho it doesn’t equal trust or reconciliation? Many thanks and blessings to you, n
I have experienced encountering the person that wronged me. I behaved the same way that you are. I am cordial to that person, but i don’t engage in much of a conversation, unless there is no way to avoid it. Just stand tall & ask the Holy Spirit to guide your words & actions. All will be well.
Karalee Gross–Thank you so much for those words, especially the advice to ask the Holy Spirit to guide me. I hope that when I next encounter her I can remember to do that. I was always afraid that I needed to immediately revert back to the hugging and conversation that I used to engage in even if I don’t feel it for her. I am relieved to know that being cordial is enough for now. Many thanks! N
Thank you very much for this post! As always, it is amazing how the Lord brings us the help we need and we serve as the conduits as His wisdom passes through us to each other. I am struggling with a difficult and broken relationship. I know I must forgive and have been trying to figure out how to balance forgiveness with what I can not forget, as well as having to deal with continuing mistrust. The Lord is the only One who can bring me through this and this post helps to answer my prayers!! Praise to Jesus and the Glory of our God!!!
I wish more people would be understanding that Satan is always on the prowl.
Thank you so much Courtney for beautifully sharing the Lord’s Word!
You blessed me today. Thank you
I’ve tried so hard to forgive those who have wronged my adult children. I am bitter I admit and I am trying so hard to forgive. I have been without joy . I’ve been without sleep (I’m so tired.). I’ve been without peace. I want healing to begin. Thank you for this and for the verses. I’m trying. I’m praying. I’m having quiet time with the Lord.
Hello, ” Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” is from 1 peter, not James.
Very helpful post, thanks.
This is beautiful and right. Thank you. As I was reading your post I thought about how unforgiveness is the natural response but God is calling us to the supernatural response. It’s also not easy to leave the past behind, whether it’s the mistakes of others or my own. But earlier this week I stumbled across this in prayer. I realized that I was simply thinking too much about a certain moment in my life and every time I thought about it, it brought defeat to my emotions and made me feel negatively about another person, just because they were associated with this moment in my life. It wasn’t so much forgiveness of the other person that I needed to have but kind of forgiveness of myself (if that makes sense). I decided then and there that the past is over. I can’t go back and change it and I’ve done everything I can to make things right so I’m just going to walk forward and use it as a lesson but I’m not going to dwell on it anymore. Forgetting what is behind, we press on. Thanks again!
So spot on..our Job is to forgive.. The LoRds job is to convict and work on the offenders heart.. I have forgiven my husband for his infidelity..and I pray for the restoration..not just any but a godly one.. And until the LoRd has revealed to me a changed ❤ in my spouse.. I am just to trust GOD with my future.
Thank you for this post Courtney! Very well stated.
Another thing about forgiveness, we must learn to forgive ourselves. I’ve been lied to, cheated on, stolen from, etc in my 59 years on this earth. But i would also be upset with myself for allowing all that to happen. I felt like i had been naive & was “duped”. But once i began my walk with Jesus, He showed me that i must also forgive myself & allow His peace to wash over me. It’s not always easy & quite a few times, i’ve had to lay this at His feet in prayer. But the peace that passes all understanding will be yours.
Blessings for you all.
thanks for this post. I pray it helps me on this journey am on, its been a cycle of betrayal and then ‘remorse’ and then back to the betrayal multiple times. i feel exhausted, but feel obliged to stay in the marriage because of children, but these unending cycles are wearing me out. when i feel i have forgiven and moved on, another episode rears its head and the anger and bitterness emotions become even stronger. she clearly doesnt want to stay married, but then will ask for forgiveness every time another affair discovery comes to light. dont know if i can ever get over this
Amazing article that is …keep it up