5 Verses to Pray When You Don’t Want to Forgive

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What do you do when you don't want to forgive? Do you hold a grudge? Get even? Complain to anyone who will listen? Or do you pray and ask for God's help to love like Jesus and forgive as He commands.

The truth is … forgiving can be hard.

And the greater the pain, the more difficult it is. I think most people would say that there are times when they don’t want to forgive … times when it feels impossible.

The Bible never said forgiving is easy nor does it say that we should only forgive when we want to. It consistently tells us to forgive because we have been forgiven by God through Jesus.

Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Ephesians 4:32

So, even when we don’t want to, because of all that God has done for us through Christ Jesus, we have what we need to mercifully forgive as God has mercifully forgiven us. When you and I remember God’s unfailing everlasting love and forgiveness and the freedom it gives us, the Spirit works in us a willingness to love and forgive too.

That means we choose to forgive because we want people to experience God-like forgiveness … because we want them to want what we have in Christ Jesus.

So, let’s pray and ask for God’s Spirit to help us when we don’t want to forgive…

5 Verses and Prayers When
You Don’t Want to Forgive

What do you do when you don't want to forgive? Do you hold a grudge? Get even? Complain to anyone who will listen? Or do you pray and ask for God's help to love like Jesus and forgive as He commands.

People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.

Proverbs 28:13

Father, sometimes when I fail to remember Your mercy and the countless times You have forgiven me, I am more likely to hold on to anger and less likely to forgive the way You desire. I am so very sorry. Please forgive me once again.

You are so very generous … willing to meet every one of my spiritual needs. Your mercy is great and Your love is beyond measure. I come to You in humble repentance asking You to wash away my sins, cover me with Your mercy, and help me love as I have been loved by You. Amen.

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Colossians 3:13

Father, make me caring and compassionate like Jesus. Help me look beyond words and actions into hearts and burdens. Give me an understanding heart that helps me look at the pain behind painful behavior. Give me patience when life is difficult. And help me forgive even when I don’t want to.

Most of all, help me faithfully remember the extent to which You have forgiven me so that I might willingly and readily forgive others. Amen.

Whoever conceals an offense promotes love, but whoever gossips about it separates friends.

Proverbs 17:9 (CSB)

Father, this one is hard. When we are frustrated and angry, wounded and distressed, it’s difficult to keep it to ourselves. We’re tempted to complain and share the offense with anyone who will listen. Their sympathy and consolation help us justify our withholding of forgiveness.

Oh, how easily we listen to the enemy’s lies. We sacrifice relationships to validate our own sin and self-righteousness. Please forgive us. Please forgive me. And help me, yes, help me surrender myself completely to You that I might forgive as You command.

I have no righteousness of my own. Please cover me with the blood of Christ Jesus … cover me with His righteousness. And help me faithfully live in ways that promote Your love in my relationships and all the world. Amen.

What do you do when you don't want to forgive? Do you hold a grudge? Get even? Complain to anyone who will listen? Or do you pray and ask for God's help to love like Jesus and forgive as He commands.

Search for the Lord and for His strength; continually seek Him.

1 Chronicles 16:11

Lord, thank you. You are the Father who is faithful and loving. You are the Good Shepherd who is kind and caring. You are the Spirit who helps and comforts. You are the Triune God who forgives me and gives me everything I need now and eternally.

By Your grace, I will SEEK You every day. I will sit in Your presence and learn from Your Word. And I will prayerfully invite Your Spirit to help me KNOW, TRUST, LOVE, and OBEY You now and forever.

Please help me focus my life on Jesus that I might love and forgive in obedience even when it’s hard and I don’t want to. I believe Your grace is sufficient and that You will give me all that I need to forgive as You command. Amen.

 Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Philippians 4:8

Lord, by Your mercy and grace, please help me focus my heart and mind on all that You want for me. Help me let go of past pain and anger. Help me lay my reluctance to forgive at the foot of the cross. You were not reluctant to forgive me and with Your help, I believe I can forgive even though I don’t want to forgive.

Empowered by Your Spirit, I will cling to Your promises and focus on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. I will look for the good in people and recognize them as individuals created by and deeply loved by You.

I will focus on who You are and all that You do because You, Lord, are excellent and worthy of praise. I will do my best to remain alert to all that You are doing in me and the world around me. I ask all of this in the name of Jesus by the power of the Spirit. Amen.

So … what should you and I do when we don’t want to forgive?

We not only should but we must run to God in prayer and ask Him to help us remember His love and mercy. He is so good and gracious and He wants people to see His love in His children.

When it’s hard to forgive. Let’s quickly ask the Lord to give us what we need to obey His command to forgive as we have been forgiven.

May He bless you and give you everything you need to forgive even when it feels impossible.

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  1. Sharyn McCormick says:

    How do we forgive when the offender continues to repeat the same behavior? I have a neighbor who has slandered my reputation and turned other neighbors against me and has been doing so for 7 years. Things have escalated to the point of destroying my property. The reason, her dog bit me when I first moved in and I went to get a tetanus shot and as a result I had to give the health dept. her name and address. And no, she suffered no consequences because she keeps her dog fenced in anyway. I don’t know how to forgive someone like this whose goal is nothing but revenge nor do I know the lesson I am supposed to learn from this. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    1. I’m so sorry, Sharyn. What a terribly difficult situation. I will be praying that the Lord changes your neighbor’s heart and that she will begin to treat you with kindness and understanding. And the only guidance I can offer is that you would prayerfully ask God to give you a willingness to forgive and ask Him to change her heart and and the situation. May He be with you and give you His peace and strength each day. God be with you and bless you!

    2. Kathy Francescon says:

      Shayrn, I cannot imagine living so many years, with the hurt and pain you are enduring through this neighbor. I am praying for you and your neighbor. Pray and talk to God. Read your Bible. Do not let this neighbor cause you to not be the kind of person God wants you to be! Trust in God, ask Him to give you a forgiving heart, and help you resolve this conflict. Do not let your anger consume you. Give it to God and thank Him for the help He will give you! It may not be easy, but we must all forgive the trespasses against us as God has forgiven our trespasses against Him. Colossians 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. May God bless you to find peace in forgiveness. I am praying for you.

    3. Christina Cofield says:

      Yes, I’ve struggled many years with this concept. We as Christians have asked for forgiveness, and God has forgiven us. If we do not ask for forgiveness in seeking salvation, we are not forgiven. Of course God is the Ultimate forgiver and forgives more than we are aware of ourselves. I understand forgiving those who have asked. Now, towards those who could care less how they treated you? I understand laying it in God’s hands for justice and releasing yourself of that burden of anger, hate, or revenge. Is God saying forgive those who have not asked for it? Yes, we pray for them and be respectful. But forgive? How can that be if the other is not asking? How could we be forgiven and saved by never asking?

      1. That’s a great question, Christina. I believe that what God is asking of us is that we would have an attitude of forgiveness … that we live with a willingness to forgive so that in our hearts and minds there is no bitterness or anger. God’s heart is always loving and ready to forgive as soon as we repent and that’s what He asks of us. In as much as we think about it … we have forgiven. If the person never asks for the forgiveness, they have not received what would have been available to them. That’s my understanding. Thanks for asking and inviting me to share my thoughts.

  2. Martha Orlando says:

    Yes, Lord, help us to remember that You expect us to always forgive as we have been forgiven, and do so gladly and gratefully. When we falter, Father, help to place us back on the right path for Your sake.
    Blessings, Deb!

    1. Amen, Martha! I’m asking the Lord to help me forgive as I have been forgiven by Him. Have a wonderful weekend! Blessings!

  3. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Thank you Deb for not only sharing these appropriate scriptures, but for showing us how to turn them into prayer. Very helpful when we’re hurting and as a result, stalled in our prayers.

    1. Thank you, Nancy. I so appreciate your kind encouragement. Have a wonderful weekend! Blessings!