What Do You Do When You Can’t Forgive?

What if I can’t forgive someone? I genuinely mean that. What if I am trying my hardest to cultivate forgiveness in my heart toward someone, but I just can’t seem to do it? I don’t have the answer. Here is the plain, honest truth. I feel very inadequate to write this blog post. 

I have unforgiveness in my heart. 

That is difficult for me to admit. I am trying my hardest to seek God’s help to overcome these feelings of bitterness and judgement, but I just can’t seem to get over that bridge. I feel like I get about halfway there and I slide back. I have moments of clarity where my heart loves this person in a Godly way. I see they are human and they have faults and flaws… just like I do. I’m confident I have even more shortcomings than they do, but for some reason, I just can’t fully forgive. I know they have a heart that meant no harm and that, as humans, we all sin and fall short. But how do I let my heart release full forgiveness? 

I have read scriptures and prayed on this to the point of exhaustion. I have listened to countless sermons on the topic of Forgiveness. I know the right words to say on this post to tell you exactly what Jesus would say to overcome forgiveness, but doing it is an entirely different story. The offense isn’t the problem. It’s my reaction to the offense that matters. Have you been wronged or hurt by someone you love? Have you been taken advantage of? Have you been harmed in a way that is overwhelming to recover from? God still calls us to forgive. We are still called to love others no matter what the offense or circumstance. I struggle with continually finding myself bitter. The Bible is very clear on harboring bitterness… 

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
Ephesians 4:31 (ESV)

If I could give you a visual of what is happening in my heart, I feel it is best described as a wave crashing in and out to sea. I have these moments where the wave recedes and I feel this incredible God given ability to have such sweet, genuine compassion and love for this person that has a depth of forgiveness like I could never bestow on my own. A love that is clearly provided by my Heavenly Father.  But then all of a sudden out of nowhere, this wave of bitterness creeps up and crashes in and I feel as if I am back in this vicious unforgiving cycle of bitterness that overtakes me and steals my God given victory.  

I have known this blog post was coming. This is a struggle I have been dealing with for quite a while. I even considered having a guest blogger take my slot this month to write on the topic. In the end, I knew God works together for those who love Him and He can use all situations for His good. So, I forged ahead to tell my story. Even though it isn’t complete…..yet. 

Do you ever struggle with “telling God what to do or how to handle a situation?”  I do. I presented this specific situation to Him. I explained the need and time constraints surrounding this post on Forgiveness. I clearly detailed out my need to forgive in an amazing way so I would have a great story of forgiveness to tell. But that did not happen. His ways are not my ways. His timing is not mine.  So, I felt this overwhelming need to share my story. We are not perfect. The Bible even tells us…

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5(NIV)

I chose to share my story because these are the very verses that Broken and Gracefully Loved has been founded upon. The idea that we are not perfect and we can only find perfection in Him.  God calls us to pull together and hold each other up. To call on His name in prayer and petition on behalf of each other. 

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.
Matthew 18:20 (NIV)

That is what we designed this blog to do. To be a help and support for ourselves and for others. To be transparent. To show our weaknesses and not be ashamed. We are not perfect. We are actually made perfect in our weakness. I am looking forward to what God will do in my heart now that I have a group of people who are willing to intercede on my behalf to our Father; to help my heart calm those crashing waves and turn them to a tranquil and soft flow of peaceful waters of forgiveness that remains constant. 

I thank you all for taking the time to read this post and I too will pray for any of you who may be wrestling with similar emotions as well. Forgiveness is so much more than the words we speak. It is a genuine feeling deep within our heart. Forgiveness does not mean you forget, but it does mean you no longer let that situation control your thinking or take over your life. Not forgiving only hurts the one that is harboring the bitterness in themselves. While we are waiting for a full victory, we can have peace knowing if we cling to Him and seek His face to help us overcome this trial, He will meet the need of our heart in His perfect timing. Thank you all for loving me despite my shortcomings and for praying alongside me.

2 thoughts on “What Do You Do When You Can’t Forgive?

  1. Great post ! You accurately described the wave of bitterness that sometimes overcomes us as we struggle to forgive.

    I struggled to forgive someone for a long time.
    I was honest with God ( who knew about my unforgivenesss), and asked him, continually, to help me to forgive. Eventually, I was able to forgive the one who had hurt me.

    The saying is true : To err is human, but to forgive is divine. 🤗
    We do need God’s help to genuinely forgive,


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