Forgiving Those Who Hurt You is Worth the Effort

Forgiving is Worth It

Forgiving those who hurt you seems impossible.  Besides, why would you want to forgive someone that left you at the altar, had an affair, called you fat, spread rumors about you around the office, or anything from your past that wounded you deeply?

The Problem with Worldly Advice

First, the world will tell you not to forgive quickly.  In a Psychology Today blog article, Why You Don’t Always Have to Forgive, it states forgiving someone that has devastated your world may be the worst thing you can do.  Part of this article states that self-healing must always come first before you forgive someone.

When you take God out of the picture, then yes, you would be responsible for healing your wounds or figuring out how move on and live with the pain.  Without the Lord providing healing and mercy, every victim is responsible for picking up the pieces of their shattered life and rebuilding their self-esteem

Think about how difficult that is for someone that was raped, suffered from child abuse, or beaten by their spouse.  Any time someone suffers from deep wounds, there are emotional phases they must experience: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  Most people do not have the ability to guide their emotions in a healthy way through these stages.

Hurting People, Hurt People

Every person on this earth is suffering from a deep wound, how can the wounded heal themselves?  How can someone that struggles with the simple task of getting out of bed regain the strength to rebuild their life?

You can’t heal on your own!  Thank goodness, you don’t have to.  The only way to gain healing from your pain is inviting God into your problem and that does include forgiving those that hurt you.  The longer you wait to forgive others, the longer you carry the burden of the pain.

Stop Protecting Yourself, Trust God to Heal You

It is our first instinct to avoid getting hurt by putting up walls.  I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the advice, “take care of yourself because no one else will”.  These types of beliefs cause us to guard our emotions, so people can’t get close.

One way to try and protect yourself is by not forgiving those that hurt you.  We think we are punishing them if we don’t forgive.  When I was younger, I thought getting revenge or holding a grudge would show others what they are missing out on by not having a relationship with me.  Then, they will regret what they did to me and come begging for forgiveness.  This was stupid!  There are many ex-boyfriends that I have yet to hear from.

Not Forgiving Others Produces more Hurt

The longer we focus on the pain and carry it as our burden, we are truly punishing ourselves.  If you have been reading my blog or following on my Living All-In Facebook page, then you know I was a victim of divorce.  After I learned of his affair, I immediately forgave him and tried to work on the marriage.  After my efforts failed; he continued his relationship with the new woman.  Within one year of our divorce, he married her.   

Through all the anger and pain, I continued to pray for my ex-husband in hopes that he would fall away from sin and pull closer to God.  I have no idea if that happened, but because I spent more time praying for him than I did complaining about him, I healed faster.

Praying for people that hurt you, speeds up your healing process! #healingwithGod Click To Tweet

I will never forget the time I spent crying hysterically kneeling at the foot of my bed.  I was on my knees a lot during these horrific months; pleading to God to restore my marriage.  During one prayer, a realization awakened inside me that God may not restore my marriage.  My relationship with the Lord was getting stronger, but I didn’t see my husband following God’s Word through his behaviors.  A few questions whisked through my mind, what will happen to my relationship with Christ if He doesn’t save my marriage? Will I still love Him and praise Him?

I am not sure if it was an attack from the devil, a test, or a question God was simply asking my spirit wanting to know where I saw my relationship with Him going if I didn’t get my way.  There was no hesitation as I stood up to answer God verbally. With my dog, Daisy, as my witness, I stood speaking firmly and loudly,

“God, even if you do not restore my marriage, I will forever praise you and thank you for what you have done in my life. You are more important to me than this marriage. I can live without John, but I can’t live without you.”

This was the first time that my trials and problems in life seemed smaller and insignificant when compared to losing my relationship with the Lord. 

Start Healing by Forgiving Those that Hurt You

Forgiving those that hurt you is a non-negotiable to experience joy, peace and healing within your spirit.  Satan wants you to hold on to the pain so it will consume your thoughts.  Even after I forgave my ex-husband, I found myself reliving conversations as to what I would say to him if I saw him now.  That only brought back all the hurt and pain as I was consumed with still wanting to repair something that wasn’t getting restored.  I didn’t realize for how long or how many times a day I was causing myself to relive the sorrow.

Forgiveness is a decision.  It isn’t a feeling.  You will not feel immediate relief.  It may take years, but it is a conscious decision.  Each time I found myself reliving a past conversation with my ex-husband, I stated, “I forgave him.  It is God’s to handle at this point.  I let it go.”

3 Benefits to Forgiving Those that Hurt You

1. God forgave you, so you need to forgive others. Also, God will only forgive you if you forgive others…you will need forgiveness some day.

I was fortunate enough to take a trip to Israel.  It brings the story of Jesus’ death to life when you see Skull Hill in person.  Jesus was perfect and did nothing wrong in this world; yet, he suffered a horrible death for us.  He was spit on, humiliated, betrayed by loved ones, beaten, and died naked publicly.  He experienced a brutal death for our sins and we don’t deserve his forgiveness. 

Skull Hill in Jerusalem. Can you see the skull in the rock?

Jesus suffered yet we are forgiven for our wrong-doings.  If Jesus can forgive us, we should show mercy on others and forgive them.

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

2. Forgiving Those Who Hurt You will Set You Free

 “It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.” ~ Maya Angelou

Holding onto negative feelings such as grudges, anger, resentment, or bitterness makes you miserable.  It keeps you stuck in your past.  That is the reason why you must forgive quickly and not wait for self-healing first.  Forgiving IS a step for self-healing.

When you are stuck in the past, you are controlled by the hurt emotions from your past.  Don’t hold on to something that keeps you from experiencing a happier future.  This isn’t easy to hear, but you must let it go.

Not forgiving others that hurt you is like drinking poison and expecting it to kill the person that hurt you.  Your mind might try to convince you that forgiveness is “letting someone off the hook,” and that you are in fact doing those who mistreated you a favor by forgiving them, but the truth of the matter is that you are doing yourself a favor.

3. Forgiveness is an act of strength

 “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute if the strong.” ~ Gandhi 

Contrary to what many believe, forgiveness is an act of strength. If it wasn’t an act of strength, everyone would do it and it would be easy.  You don’t forgive because you are weak and allowing others to walk on you.  You forgive those who hurt you because you are strong enough to realize that only by letting go of resentments can your old wounds heal so you can experience joy, peace and happiness in your life.

Living All-In…Forgiving Those that Hurt You

Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself! When you forgive you get to be at peace, to be happy and to be able to sleep at night. This forgiveness also applies to you!  I had to forgive myself for the mistakes I made in my marriage for me to move on and let go of the bitterness and resentment.

I have already said this, but it is important that you remember this ONE thing!

You aren’t forgiving for them, you’re doing it for yourself! 

Only after forgiving those that hurt you can you be set free from the feelings of hurt, anger, and helplessness that keep you in bondage and freeing you from the past.