The Pain of Unforgiveness

I recently journaled about forgiveness, or more accurately, accepting forgiveness. I wrote, what I thought, was a pretty powerful piece about guilt and worthiness, and how we should accept forgiveness when it’s offered, even if we don’t feel like we deserve it. God will forgive us, when we ask. It’s pretty simple, and as usual, human beings like to complicate things.

Well, right after I wrote that, I realized something…. Here I was talking about forgiveness, yet, I’ve been wrestling for a long time about forgiving a family member. I can talk about accepting forgiveness, yet didn’t think about extending it to someone else.

Not wanting to be a hypocrite, I’m coming clean here on this blog. Please tell me I’m not the only one who wrestles with this!

Forgiveness is hard, whatever side of the equation you’re on – extending forgiveness or receiving it.

In my case, even though I tell myself I’ve extended forgiveness, even had a tough conversation with that person, the hurt is still there. It surprises me that I’m having a hard time forgiving. Or maybe I have forgiven, but I haven’t forgotten. I don’t know.

When I had a good yet tough conversation with this family member, I truly tried to listen to his side of the story. I wanted to understand him. And while that conversation gave me more clarity, it didn’t take away the pain or the issue at hand.

This is something I’ve been thinking and praying about for a long time, and I try to find the answers in God’s word.

Colossians 3:13 (NIV) says: “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Okay, great advice. But how do you do it?

In the book of Matthew, chapter 6, verses 14-15 (NIV), it says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” The New Living Translation puts it even more succinctly, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”


The book of Hebrews chapter 10 talks about Christ’s sacrifice. In verse 17, it says “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” This is similar to a verse in Jeremiah 31: 34, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (NIV)

So, the Lord basically says He’ll wipe the slate clean, yet I’m having a hard time following His example.

The burden of unforgiveness is a weight on my shoulders and getting harder and harder to carry. Or maybe I’m just having a hard time letting go of the hurt.

My heart has definitely softened toward this family member. And the few times we’ve seen each other since that tough conversation have been good. I love seeing him. But when I think back to the incident that has me not forgiving him, the hurt dredges up all over again.

So, tell me, Friends, are there any secrets to help me? How do you let go of the hurt, even after you’ve forgiven someone? Or you think you’ve forgiven them?

Let’s encourage one another!

Got Grace?

While we strive to have “Fierce Faith,” we know there may be some off-days ahead. Days where you are tired, sad, restless, anxious – just not feeling yourself. And despite our unprecedented pandemic circumstances, you can be tough on yourself.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a world-class champ when it comes to beating up on myself. I’m definitely harder on myself than I am on anyone else. So, on the days when I fall a little, where I’m anxious or restless, or even flat-out angry, I need to remember one word: GRACE.

We are all going through difficult times right now, and although most of us have been shelter-in-place for a bout a month now, there’s still this sense of no routine, of being off-kilter. The world hasn’t righted itself and we still don’t have a complete sense of normalcy, or what a “new” normal might look like.

Currently, I’m trudging along day-to-day, but everything feels “off.” There’s a sense of uncertainty in the air, and it’s uncomfortable, at best. So, yes, we’re going to have bad days, that’s a given. We’ll have mood swings for no apparent reason, and maybe even take out those moods on our spouse or family.

But that’s where our daily prayer time can come in – just a moment or two of quiet time (I know, those of you with small kids will find this nearly impossible). We need to take time daily to center ourselves, and every day we need to extend GRACE, not only to others, but to ourselves.

These are strange days, and our emotions may surprise us or get the better of us. Just let it go (yes, I’ve watched “Frozen” one too many times with my granddaughters!). Extend grace to others, but mostly to yourself. Take a deep breath and begin again.


The Burden of Unforgiveness

The link below is a video follow-up to last week’s post on “The Weight of It All.” (Text is below the video, if you only want to read). Just so you know, my father-in-law is a very wise man.

Image by Tereza Flachová from Pixabay

Find out more with this video link.

Here’s the text from the video:

Hi everyone.

Last week on, we talked about “The Weight of it All”, whether you were carrying around the weight of a mistake that you made in your past or the weight of shame across your shoulders. Well, my father-in-law saw that post. He’s a very wise man. And he commented that the greatest weight is the burden of unforgiving. And I completely agree with him.

If we hold a grudge against someone else, it’s not them we’re hurting. It’s us. We carry that around. It takes so much energy to stay angry at someone. And you’re carrying that on your shoulders – they’re not carrying it.

Then, if there are times when you can’t forgive yourself, what kind of weight is that on your shoulders? We’ve all made mistakes in the past. Some of us are carrying long term consequences from those mistakes, but it doesn’t mean you have to keep dragging them around. It’s how you live right now, today, that makes a difference.

Everyone can be forgiven. God will forgive you. Even if you’re not a Christian, He’s still there. All you have to do is ask Him for forgiveness, and He will. And then you can shed that weight from your shoulders.

Put down the shame of the past mistake. Forgiveness is the key. The time is right now. It’s the perfect time to start. Here. Today.

So, do it.



The Weight of It All

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve talked how we look at ourselves, and watching our words. Today, I want to explore the inside instead of just the outside of beauty.

What else prevents you from liking what you see when you look in the mirror? Are you dragging around mistakes that belong in the past? Or carrying the weight of shame or something that makes you feel unworthy? Or unlovable?

There are times when I look back on my life and I’m embarrassed. Some of the decisions I’ve made and some of the mistakes I’ve made have created a little ball of shame that I carry deep inside. There were times I walked in darkness instead of trusting my own gut, or more important, trusting God. If I go down memory lane to the darkest places, then I start beating up on myself all over again. I let shame overcome me.  And it can stop me in my tracks. The weight of my past can be too much to bear.

That weight of my past is not what I want to carry. Today, if I go down memory lane, I want to remember how blinded I was then, and find a way to keep my eyes open now. I want to see that I’ve come out stronger on the other side.

Here’s the deal. We all make mistakes. We’ve all had shameful times in our lives. It’s what you do today that counts.

There’s something that my small group at church has talked about. It’s this: The rearview mirror is really small and the windshield is really large. That’s just a way of saying, don’t look back. What’s in front of you is bigger, and hopefully, better than it is now.

Don’t misunderstand me. Sometimes there are consequences for our past mistakes. We can still be dealing with those consequences long after we’ve made the mistake. But, by looking ahead, instead of behind you, you can make an impact.

It’s what you do with your life right now, with how you are facing each day that matters, and that makes you beautiful. What can you teach someone else because of what you went through? How can you shine the light of hope, because of what you went through? How can you be beautiful on the inside as much as on the outside because of what you went through?

As you may know, my faith is a big part of who I am. I believe that when we ask for forgiveness, then God wipes the slate clean. A lot of times, we’re the ones hanging on to our failure, our mistake, our shame. How we rise from that mistake shines brighter than anything. We can share the light of forgiveness, and in turn help someone else.

It’s what we do with the lessons we learn that make the difference and can lighten our load.

It’s important to forgive ourselves. To love ourselves. To shed that weight of shame and of past mistakes. Focus on who you are today, right now. And on what you can become, and what you can do.

Quit dragging around any of that weight of the past. Our slate has been wiped clean.

Today’s a new day. And it’s a great day to start again.

It’s time to rise and shine!