5 Truths That Will Help You Forgive the Unforgivable

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This time they crossed the line, they've gone too far . . . I just can't forgive them. Need help? Here are 5 steps to help you forgive the unforgivable.

We have a double standard when it comes to forgiveness.

We want God’s forgiveness, but find it hard to forgive others. Especially when the damage is life changing or when the offender continues doing things that cause us pain.

God told us to forgive, but sometimes it feels impossible. The truth . . . we don’t want to!

If you missed yesterday’s post – Why We Should Forgive the Unforgivable, you can head over and read it now. Then come back to for:

5 Truths to Help You Forgive the Unforgivable

1. Forgiveness does not excuse a wrong. It gives mercy to the person who did the wrong.

Forgiveness doesn’t remove or deny the past. It does, by God’s grace, give you peace, strength, and courage to move into the future free of the bitterness and resentment . . . ready to live and be happy.

Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:12–13

This time they crossed the line, they've gone too far . . . I just can't forgive them. Need help? Here are 5 steps to help you forgive the unforgivable.

2. You don’t have to tell the person you’ve forgiven them unless they ask.  

The person who hurt you may not believe they’ve done anything that needs forgiveness. They might believe their words or actions were justified.  You could make the problem worse or cause yourself more pain by telling them you forgive them.

If you think you need to voice unsolicited forgiveness make sure you’re not motivated by anger or a desire to hurt or manipulate them to get even.

“Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me.” ~Anonymous

3. Remember that hatred and resentment only prolong the pain. 

I hate when a perfectly wonderful day gets interrupted by a painful memory. It doesn’t take much . . . a familiar smell, a song, a picture, a comment and suddenly I’m reliving a painful moment.

We can’t control our thoughts and memories, but we can control how long we allow them to hold our attention.

So change painful thoughts and memories by calling a friend, turning on some music, getting up and moving, or reciting your favorite verse or quote.

“Not to forgive is to be imprisoned by the past, by old grievances that do not permit life to proceed with new business. Not to forgive is to yield oneself to another’s control… to be locked into a sequence of act and response, of outrage and revenge, tit for tat, escalating always. The present is endlessly overwhelmed and devoured by the past. Forgiveness frees the forgiver. It extracts the forgiver from someone else’s nightmare.” ~Lance Morrow

4. Pray for strength to forgive.

Honestly talking to God about my feelings and asking Him for strength has been the only way I’ve been able to forgive when I don’t want to.

I’ll bet you’ve had times, like me, when you’re sure the person who hurt you doesn’t deserve forgiveness. They’re not sorry. They don’t care. They’re lives look good and you’re having trouble getting out of bed in the morning.

Pray! Pray more!! Thank God for the many times He has forgiven you and ask Him for strength to forgive.

Lord, teach me what You want me to do, and I will live by Your truth. Teach me to respect You completely. Lord, my God, I will praise You with all my heart, and I will honor Your name forever. You have great love for me. You have saved me from death. Psalm 86:11-13, 17

5. Choose to forgive – sit in a room by yourself and speak or write forgiveness. 

Now it’s time to turn off distractions. Take your anger, hurt, frustration, and all the other junk in your head and let it go. Forgive.

[Tweet “Need help . . . use this statement of forgiveness to free yourself from anger and resentment.”]

Speak or write the following:

I have held on to this anger, hurt, and resentment for too long. And because I am completely accepted and forgiven by God in Christ Jesus, I am able to forgive and accept you, ______________. I choose to forgive you for ______________, and release you completely. You don’t owe me. You are no longer accountable to me for this. You are free. I am free.

If you choose to write your forgiveness, I recommend burning or shredding it after you’re finished as a symbol of the forgiveness you’ve given and freedom you’ve received.

“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” ~Corrie ten Boom

What truths do you hold to help you forgive? What is the best thing about finally forgiving the unforgivable?

Join me tomorrow for – How to Heal After You’ve Forgiven the Unforgivable.

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Thank you so much for visiting CMB. I'm glad you're here. Please visit About Blessing Counting and Deb at the top of the page, and don't forget to leave a comment and subscribe before you go. God bless you!

18 thoughts on “5 Truths That Will Help You Forgive the Unforgivable

  1. What a wonderful message on how to forgive! You have given such practical steps to following God’s Word. Thank you, Deb, for writing this series on forgiveness. I look forward to reading the other posts. Linked up through Holley Gerth. Blessings to you!

    1. Hi Sabra. What a beautiful name. It’s so nice to meet you. I’ve loved meeting other bloggers through Holley. I look forward to getting to know you!

  2. The best thing about forgiving the unforgivable is the peace and healing we experience when we do. Remembering, too, that while we were yet sinners, Christ forgave us, gives me the strength and ability to forgive those who have hurt me.
    Blessings, Deb!

    1. Hi Martha, It is only through His grace we are forgiven and have the desire and strength to forgive others. On my own, I just want to be angry and resentful. I’m so thankful He whispers and reminds me how important it is for me to extend the same grace I have thankfully received. God’s blessings!

  3. Hi Deb! I love that quote from Corrie Ten Boom. Sometimes my feelings are really good indicators for how I should act. But sometimes they are full of my negative emotions and unhelpful ideas.
    I find that talking something through out loud is big help. If I say it and hear it, it becomes more real. Forgiving others who have hurt me, or cannot forgive me, takes a real act of will. It’s taking control in a good way!
    Blessings,
    Ceil

    1. I love that . . . “It’s taking control in a good way!” It is remembering we can choose to do and be better. Wow, I’m so thankful God is willing to give His strength when we need it most. Blessings to you too!

  4. Wow! Such a great post. Point 2 in particular, though brief, is very very insightful and important. There’s a lot of wisdom in the quote that concludes it too because I think we often have an altered view of exactly what forgiveness is when we’re hurting. I know I can.

    1. It’s great to hear from you Micah! You’re right, it’s hard to even think about forgiveness when we’re hurting. But it is the only way to begin healing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your encouragement. God bless you!

  5. Thank you for this great post, Deb. I like the way you sound, Plus you are logical. I totally agree with you. I just read your post and it made me believe that I can forgive my best friend for whatever he did.

    You know what? I didn’t need to read your full article. I just read the first line that says “Forgiveness does not excuse a wrong. It gives mercy to the person who did the wrong”, Believe me it made me realize that everybody should deserve a second chance. But a wrong is always wrong.

    1. Thank you for visiting and saying “hello.” I’m so thankful that Lord is the God of multiply chances, and you’re right, He still declares wrong as always wrong. Always praying for His grace and the grace to forgive others. I enjoyed checking out your site. Look forward to hearing from you again.

  6. A good, to the point post. Forgiveness can be so misunderstood. Yes, it is a choice. Sometimes, it is a choice to make more than once, depending upon the depth of the pain and how often we are reminded of it. That was one part I got really confused about. I believed that I truly hadn’t forgiven my offender because I would feel anger and pain when I was reminded again. Then I realized that because the pain was so deep and it affected so many aspects of my life, it would take me making that choice again and again whenever I felt rage, bitterness, hate, etc. Over time, I realized that I had to do that less and less often, demonstrating the depth of healing that had already occurred. Through my experience with serious forgiveness of very grave sin, I can assure you that your post is spot on.

    1. Thanks for visiting Aimee and stopping to share your experience. I completely agree, emotions can surface each time memories hit. And yes, with time and healing the reminders come less often. Tomorrow’s post is about the healing process. I’d love to have you stop by and share your thoughts. Many blessings to you!

  7. I know the person doesnt care. I know I’m going to forgive him. I don’t not want to, because I don’t want that awful weight to remain on my shoulders. I’m hurt deeply; not angry and or resentful. Yet I’m not ready to forgive. How do I not let the sun go down on my hurt–and that hardness inside? I forgave because I knew The Lord wants us to. But this morning the hurt is here agaun . It took 9 or 10 months of daily long prayer hours to forgive one other harm once. this one is in a romantic level. How on earth do married couples forgive the unforgivable before sunset?

  8. I want to forgive this person. I know he doesn’t care. I don’t have anger or resentment. I did but that is already gone. Just hurt. I forgave before the sun went down. I know God wants us to. But when I woke up that hurt was still there and that hardness inside was too. I know the forgiveness is to take away that weight we carry on our shoulders How do I be ‘ready’ to forgive?

  9. Thank you for sharing this message on forgiveness.
    I needed this message.
    I have literally hated someone for years and could not forgive them until now.

    God Bless.

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