Have you ever wondered, “Why can’t I forgive?” or “Why is it so hard to forgive?” Forgiving someone who’s hurt you or your family can be challenging, especially if we don’t have a Biblical understanding of forgiveness.
I know of a man who experienced deep hurts growing up, and then again when he was a young adult. He held on to these hurts throughout this life, and they eventually consumed his relationships with his extended family. He simply wasn’t able to offer forgiveness, nor was he able see the damage his bitterness was causing in his life.
Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping someone else is hurt from it… but the one who dies inside is you. We cannot live an abundant life and be pleasing to God while holding on to bitterness and an unforgiving heart.
Matthew 6:14-15 tells us, “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.”
Let’s examine three reasons why it may be hard for you to forgive.
Why You Struggle To Forgive
1. You’re not sure what forgiveness really is.
Forgiveness does not mean you have to forget what the person did to you. It does not mean you need to be a doormat and allow them to continue to hurt you. It means that you do need to continue to pray for them, love them, and desire what’s best for them to grow in Christ. It does mean that you won’t bring up their failure, your hurts, and the past over and over again.
2. You want to put the blame on someone else.
Balancing emotions can be challenging. We may feel guilt, and then angry that we feel guilty when the other person was obviously the one who was wrong, so then we shift all the blame to them. It’s all their fault. But what we find in scripture is “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). This is a simple prayer, but it takes practice to apply to our lives. Lord, forgive me, as I forgive others. We make the choice to forgive. (Nancy Leigh DeMoss has a highly reviewed book called Choosing Forgiveness you can read more about here.)
3. You can’t offer something you haven’t received yourself.
This is a big one for Christians. Only the forgiven can truly forgive! When I think of all the Lord has forgiven me for, it becomes easier to extend forgiveness to someone else. Romans 3:23 says, ” For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” That includes you and I! We are human, but we can choose to be women of grace and compassion, despite our shortcomings. We can choose to receive the forgiveness He has already given to us!
When all else fails, commit Ephesians 4:32 to your heart: “And be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.”
Rejoice in knowing He has forgiven you, and He offers that same forgiveness to all of his children!
Lord, help us to grow more like you with each new day.
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Go in grace today,