How to forgive when it's hard


Forgiveness isn’t complicated but it is difficult. In this article, we tackle the tough topics with Scriptures on forgiveness when forgiving is hard. This topic comes up all the time in counseling. Simply put – Sin plagues the world we live in, therefore forgiveness is a crucial skill set.

“Forgiveness is a crucial skill set in a broken world.”

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Scriptural Forgiveness Defined

Forgive is a verb, and action. Dare I say, a choice. The dictionary defines it as “canceling a debt”. Debt cancellation is exactly what we received through Christ. We were released from the punishment of our sin. As a result, we are called to release others from their debt as well.

Often times our perspective of forgiveness leads us to stand our ground. We stubbornly fold our arms in adamant refusal. We demand our rights. Narrowing our focus to the offense keeps us from seeing the bigger picture in forgiveness. God does not call His people to anything that doesn’t ultimately get worked for our good (Romans 8:28), including forgiveness.

Forgiveness is for the offender and the offended. Nothing in God’s economy is wasted. When rightly faced, hurt drives us deeper into God’s loving arms. In His loving arms, we find comfort and healing.

Before I go on to discuss the scriptures on forgiveness, I have to stress that each scripture on forgiveness is an intentional choice. None of the elements are dependent on our circumstances or other people. In other words – God’s Word or call on our lives never depends on our circumstances or the behavior of others. His Word stands regardless of the difficulties we face.

“Forgiveness is a choice.”

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7 Scriptures on Forgiveness

1. Pray (Matthew 5:44)

This is twofold. Lift up your own heart to God, talk to Him about your hurting heart and any difficulty you’re facing in offering forgiveness. Ask for help. We are told directly to pray for the offender.

2. Love and do good to the offender (Romans 12:9)

Neutrality is not enough here. Instead, we are to offer love sincerely. This is hard stuff. This step usually gets thrown out the window because we don’t feel sincere or genuine (more on that later). Obedience doesn’t require feeling like it.

3. Don’t speak poorly of the offender (Romans 12:14)

As the old adage goes, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Speaking poorly of someone is a great way to get the anger churning, which leads to bitterness and resentment. This is not to say you can’t speak to a trusted friend, but the focus would be more about your feelings, responses and struggles rather than tearing someone else down (more on that here).

4. Release them from your punishment (Romans 12:17-19)

Punishment? How am I punishing them? This may not apply to an offender who is not in close proximity, however, typically an offense that we’re struggling to forgive is in a relationship close to home. And the punishment I’m talking about usually looks like the silent treatment, withholding affection, and keeping the offender at arm’s length, etc.

5. Don’t celebrate their failures (Proverbs 24:17)

This means refrain from gloating, saying, “I told you so” or having a mindset of, “That’s what you get”.

6. Treat them the way you want to be treated (Luke 6:31)

Breathe this one in for a moment. When I mess up I want grace and I want a second chance. Am I willing to offer this to others when I get hurt?

7. Stop dwelling on the past (how to here) (Isaiah 43:18)

So often people say, “But I can’t forget what happened”. I get that. I wish I could hit delete on a few old hurts and never remember them again. Dwelling is different from remembering. Dwelling literally means a place you live. Do you spend your time turning an old hurt over and over in your mind? Accept that forgetting isn’t an option, but dwelling on that old hurt is a choice. Choose to replace those thoughts with new ones. Resolve to stop bringing up the past and focus on today (Philippians 4:13-14).

Forgiveness is a Clear Command

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. ~Ephesians 4:32

We are to forgive because God has forgiven us…not for any other reason. Not because the offender apologized, promised to never do it again or because we feel like it. We’ve been forgiven much and our call is to forgive much. It is also important to keep in mind, when we know our calling and choose not to do it…it’s sin (James 1:22-25). But when we choose to obey, even though it’s hard, we reap blessings (John 13:17).

Forgiveness and Challenging Situations

1.What if they do it again or don’t change?

The question of reconciling or releasing a relationship has nothing to do with forgiving. Peter asked this question in the gospels. Likely he pictured his own challenging relationships as Jesus talked about forgiveness. I picture him scratching his head as he asked, what if they keep doing the same thing over and over? This convo made it into the canon of Scripture because in His wisdom, God knew this would be a challenge! Yet, His command to forgive is not dependent on our situation. Nor is it dependent on whether or not the other person changes.

2.I can’t forgive someone because it doesn’t feel sincere or genuine.

Remember, forgiveness is a verb, and an action. Scripture clearly gives the command to forgive. There is no additional criteria to feel like forgiving. Feelings are not reliable guides.
Encouragement: As we step out in faith and obedience, God will do the heart part (AKA hard part). We are responsible to obey God’s Word and entrust the rest to God. He is faithful to work in us (Philippians 1:6).

3.What if they don’t say sorry?

Our calling is never dependent on another’s behavior. There is not command to forgive if the other person apologizes. It certainly helps the situation and sometimes makes forgiveness easier, but not necessary in order to move forward in obedience.

Scriptures on Forgiveness and Blessings

Blessings are promised alongside obedience (Deuteronomy 30:16, John 13:17,James 1:25). Choosing to obey the command to forgive leads to blessing. Keep in mind that nothing is wasted in God’s economy(more on purpose in pain here). He is known for turning ashes into beauty, mourning into joy and despair into praise (Isaiah 61:3). It is in a place of hurt that we find comfort and healing in the arms of God. Plus, forgiveness has a two-fold blessing. The other person receives forgiveness, which often softens the heart and hopefully leads to repentance. But even more so, offering forgiveness brings peace that cannot accompany bitterness and resentment.

Scriptures on Forgiveness Wrap Up

Forgiveness is a crucial skill set in this broken world. It is also a difficult calling on the life of a Christian. We must make the choice to obey the command to forgive. There are seven elements of forgiveness that are not contingent on other people, our circumstance or our feelings. God promises to bless us when we obediently choose to forgive. Who is God calling you to forgive?

7 Scriptures on forgiveness

Struggling to Forgive Yourself? (More on that here)

Forgiving doesn’t always mean trusting…learn more here.

7 Things Forgiveness is Not here.

Need more personalized help on how to forgive when it’s hard? Schedule an appointment here.

95 Comments

  1. Monica Hundley on April 28, 2018 at 8:24 am

    I need to share this!

    • Sunshyne on April 28, 2018 at 8:27 am

      Thank you Monica!

    • Dominique on March 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm

      Thanks I needed to hear that; I even find it hard to forgive myself. Question: do you actually have to let the individual know that you have forgiven them? Or why cannot I just distant myself from that individual and never speak to them ever again?

      • Sunshyne on March 19, 2019 at 6:56 pm

        Hi Dominique, that’s a really good question. Without knowing the situation, there are times when distancing yourself is appropriate. There are also times when reconciliation is appropriate. If you’re having trouble knowing which one is for you I recommend seeking Godly counsel. I also have a link for you about self forgiveness… https://sunshynegray.com/how-forgive-yourself-move-on/

        • Curt Cottrell on April 20, 2019 at 9:20 pm

          Really needed to here this , i asked the Lord to forgive me when i was 17 and ill be 54 on April 26th , i thought I had given everything to him , but there was some hurtful deep rooted things that had happened to me , that at the time it wasnt for me to ask for forgiveness , as years past that hurt and unforgiveness, led to anger and hatred , bitterness. Someone else had done this to me and at the time i guess i felt like it was an all inclusive prayer , but subconsciously i guess i was holding back , i had to have justice , and i wanted to judge and be the executioner and seen this person under the prison. But thank you Jesus for showing me that forgiving isn’t for the person its for you and it doesn’t let them off the hook with God , but its like having a cancer removed. Thats all …love everyone and I FORGIVE EVERYONE …YEAH

          • Anonymous on August 9, 2019 at 7:25 pm

            Hello
            I’m not sure who to address this to- I have been struggling to forgive a family member for molesting me – I lived a life of lies trying to escape it. I wanted to forget.
            I am focused on it now and it makes me angry and heartbroken. I can’t find a way to forgive because I can’t understand this evil that anyone would do to a baby a child. So I have been reading the Bible a lot looking for the passage that will help me “understand “ how Heavenly Father has had this as a plan for my life. I’m broken I prayed and pray every day and night to heal for heart. I don’t know how to stop the pain. Please anyone help me find that passage! Please??



          • Sunshyne on August 14, 2019 at 10:27 am

            I’m so sorry this happened. Know this-God hates sin and hates that you’ve been hurt. I want to encourage you to find a therapist that specializes in trauma and is a Christian to help guide you through the process of healing.Here is a link to a Christian therapist network so you can find a therapist near you. Praying for you now.



          • Howard Schultz on October 22, 2019 at 9:25 am

            To anonymous:

            This world we live in is broken, that is just a fact, Unfortunately this be true here on in this world we all live in.

            There is no closure, I know of, even in my own tragedies too. There is accepting what is past, to the point to be able to move forward. Not easy at all, especially when one’s mind is focused on the trouble (s)
            For as I read from Sunshine here
            The Thought(s) drive Emotion(s), and then once formed and how strong it is formed it drives behavior.

            So deep and true, to see I can not change anything that is past happening.

            And any and all worry over any of it, will not help
            \
            Matthew 6 When Jesus asked, will worry add any moment to your life?

            I replied No, as a matter of fact it is hamming me presently, so I turned to trust to hear how to stand in Faith and out of worry over past bad stuff.

            Learning as Paul taught in Philippians 3, I put the past behind me, and move forward toward the future.

            For all is forgiven, even those that have done harm to others and still do that too, unfortunately so.

            My hope is that this will stop, and then I saw my own depravity and need for God to forgive me. Then I sought that to see I am forgiven. That this forgiveness is given to all persons, Everyone.
            What???????? How can that be?
            Mad and upset over this truth, I got to see Matthew 18:24-35

            Where that person in that allegory got Forgiven, who begged for it and was granted it.
            Then did not forgive others, and demanded punishment to them even though the King, God himself forgave him of his sin(s)

            So the response to his being forgiven is in Question right? So the same is for us all.
            How can I not forgive once I see I am forgiven
            For not one can
            1 John 4:19 we love because God first Loved us. In Son this is done once for everyone on at the cross in Son’s death for all to be forgiven.

            2 Cor 5:16-20 is the message to us to see this truth and be reconciled to God in thanksgiving and praise, Psalms 100:4, 103:12

            Does being forgiven stop anyone from continuing in Sin?

            Not me any way, and ever time I think I got it, I get a messenger
            2 Cor 12:7-10

            To turn to God in despair and tell him how you feel, not just another person God himself in Spirit and Truth,
            Acts 20:21

            Starts the new Journey in letting go of the troubles we face or have had happen to us
            To not give up, to not deny God as we read this in Job for us to get it to not give up on God seeing us through it all, no matter how long it might take

            So I hope in trust to God you turn to God personally in your thoughts and ask to be revealed truth over error(s) of this world we all are in that is full of deceit for the self to survive.
            John 16:33 not meant to diminish your tragedy, I wish it had not happened, regardless it did.
            It is past, and whenever your mind is on it, it plays out as if happening again right now

            So ask Father of in risen Son for you, to renew your mindset fo the past to see new and not happen again prayerfully

            That is the mind that always responds to whatever the thought is that is dominating it in as Behaviors
            Proverbs 23:7. read it from verse 1
            Romans 12:2, see it from God’s view, for God does not want anyone to harm anyone else too. So he gave his Son to turn around the evil that we all are first born in and not aware of, until later on in life and repent from turn to God in trust to be made new in the risen Christ, not the dead one as religion teaches others to not sin, and so each go after to not to find out they can’t be perfect either as no one can.
            So Gal 2:21 is seen to see for ourselves each as Paul saw and told us in Galatians 2:20
            Again not easy, it is a Journey to see in not quitting beleif one does see,
            Col 1:21-23 tells us each what is done by Done by Son for us all.
            All are forgiven, yet not one is saved by being forgiven.

            So I see to forgive, not having to forgive, only because I am forgiven it makes no sense to me now to not forgive!

            Yet whenever I am in that mode of better do it or have to do it, I put me back under Law to see I can’t do it, and in truth only God can and has done it for me and all the world in Son. To reconcile that

            Eph. 1:6,7,13 Accepted, forgiven and sealed by God not me or anyone else

            Phil 1:6 can I, you and all in beleif turn to God to stand in Faith to his teaching us,
            Can I, you and all say to God I do not know how, but I know this you will somehow get me through this too. I believe you and will one day see this whether here on earth or there with you.
            So while here on earth you are with me. and when not here on earth I am there with you. So steadfast to never leave you nor forsake you.

            So can we stand even in troubles to last through it, even as Jesus did it for us all first?

            A new view given you to see it from Father’s view for all to turn to him in beleif too,
            I trust somehow this will help all on Father time to reveal it to each of us in those that do not quit beleif to his love and mercy of Son for us



          • Achie Enriquez on February 29, 2020 at 12:10 am

            I am happy that I read this forgiveness enlightenment. I was hurt when my kids get mad at me for a simple thing asking them to at least know, how are we doing. But when I confronted one of them, he said he is busy and he has his own family and return to me the question. Why are we not the one to ask how are they doing. The mere fact that they post to the social media of there whereabouts, I told them that they are doing fine. I even told them that they have time for their house helpers why not us. I told them that there’s 365 days in a year 12 mos. in a year, 31 days in a month, 7 days in a week, 24 hours in a day, 60 mins in an hour and 30 secs in minute. I am requesting to just check us once in a while. Just a three words text only. I know that once you already given them to have a good life, it is not their obligation to take of their parents. Because they have their own family.



    • Cheryl on August 2, 2019 at 7:54 pm

      Hi. I am struggling with this. My ex and I “tried” getting back together. While apart I remained single, focused on raising our 2 children alone. He was in another relationship for a 10 year period. Now, everytime we argue, he calls his ex. I have forgiven him numerous times, only for it to happen again and again. I see this is a toxic relationship and feel I must leave. He says I refuse to forgive. If forgiveness means to release the offender from the punishment, then is leaving a toxic relationship punishment and unforgiveness? God does not leave us. Im confused as to what is the proper perspective here. Help!

      • Sunshyne on August 3, 2019 at 2:24 pm

        Hi Cheryl, There is a distinct difference between forgiveness and trust. From the information you provided, the issue sounds more like trust has been broken and there is no tangible evidence to trust him as he is continuing to contact his ex-girlfriend. You can forgive and not trust someone. Here is an article that I hope will clear this up further… https://sunshynegray.com/trust-forgiveness-relationships/

      • Howard Schultz on October 22, 2019 at 9:42 am

        This below should sate person, seeing how that was before the new entered in, as today there is no male, female, Jew or Greek We are all made as one fro his love that has won for us all to be at peace,
        Sorry this is happening and happened to you

        Proverbs 25:24
        It is better to live in a corner of an attic than in a beautiful home with a cranky, quarrelsome woman.

        We all are quarrelsome over what we each think should be whether right or wrong is not the issue, at least not to me anymore

        Psalms 1 talks of this too, ab0ut the Law. Yet the Law if not understood as is not, brings out wars as James talks of.

        Hope this might help in hearing what to do from with in you where Father leads you in his truth,
        Jeremiah 29:11

  2. Casey Bochantin on April 28, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    So happy that I stumbled across this…definitely needed! I was saving it when I realized who the author is!

    • Sunshyne on April 28, 2018 at 7:45 pm

      Hey! So glad to hear from you! Glad the article was helpful. ..definitely a challenging topic!

    • Michelle on March 17, 2019 at 8:53 pm

      Beautifully written, but difficult to hear. I am definitely a work in progress, and I am always striving to be more obedient to God and His word; but I still struggle with “moving on.” I can forgive, and I want to forgive those who have hurt me; but leaving the past in the past is difficult at times. The latest struggle that I have is with my older 1/2 sister who felt the need to leave me out of the equation when telling a group of people who her siblings were. Now I am left wondering how long she has felt this way; when did she decide that she wanted to be separate from me? Needless to say that I am very angry and hurt by her actions.

      • Sunshyne on March 18, 2019 at 2:27 pm

        Hi Michelle, Thank you for taking the time to share. I’m glad you found the article helpful. Forgiveness is a difficult topic. Your sister’s choice to leave you out sounds incredibly hurtful. In the article, I aimed to emphasize forgiveness is a choice (to release offender from our punishment). I wonder if the difficulty your having is more about resolution. Talking directly with your sister about her motives might enable you to move forward (leaving it in the past). Praying for you as you work on the healing part.

  3. Lynn on April 29, 2018 at 5:39 am

    Thank you for this article, I am struggling with a situation where I find it hard to forgive this person but after reading your article. I know God will help me and I can forgive that person and move on. God Bless you.

    • Sunshyne on April 29, 2018 at 12:38 pm

      Thank you so much for your feedback Lynn! You’re absolutely right. ..God is so faithful in doing the heart part;) I’m glad the article was helpful!

      • Joselyn on February 24, 2019 at 6:14 pm

        Love this. So encouraging to my life.

        • Sunshyne on March 13, 2019 at 2:17 pm

          Thanks for stopping by Jocelyn!

  4. Veronica on May 11, 2018 at 9:28 am

    I forgave… but even though I was the offended party, the person won’t even look at me. He will enter a room, say “hi” to everyone, except me. I forgave but I have no way of showing my love and the forgiveness that I have given. So I chose to just leave when he comes because then I could get bitter and as an action, forgiveness sometimes has to be done regularly. I don’t know if I’m acting right.

    • Sunshyne on May 15, 2018 at 12:20 pm

      Hi Veronica! Thank you for sharing. Always remember, that you only have control over your own actions. You can offer forgiveness apart from the other party’s willingness to receive and offer forgiveness toward you.

  5. Colin Bleakney on May 14, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    I need this message today. I know I have been forgiven so much by God, therefore because of His grace and forgiveness and cancelling my debt, I ought to forgive as He forgave me.

    Yes, it is indeed an act of the will, therefore the choice to forgive lies solely with me.

    “Lord, I choose to forgive those people who hurt me in these past few days, thank you Lord for Your forgiveness of my sin and cancelling my debt, Amen.”

    • Sunshyne on May 15, 2018 at 12:22 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to comment Colin! You’re absolutely right! God offers us forgiveness and His purpose for us includes offering forgiveness as well. Nothing will give us more peace than doing what we are made for:)

  6. Elizabeth on May 20, 2018 at 5:19 am

    In Gods word, it IS by His example of Forgiveness as He was nailed upon the cross. Forgive them Father for they know not what they do. As mere humans in this trecherous world in which we live. If we ONLY could obey Gods word without hesitation or remorse. It by Prayer that we recieve the Blessings with a Pure and Sincere Heart to TRUST Gods Word. Lean not to your own understanding. Just do it. He forgave us for our sins! It hurts Yes! Yet until we do Forgive can we be free of the burden that was unjustly placed against us. Just learn to forgive, the heart that beats within you is fighting a battle with Satan everyday. Look to the Cross as the example we should strive to be like. Purest Forgiveness of the most High.

  7. Emily on October 3, 2018 at 6:53 pm

    Of all of the articles, devotions, explanations, etc. (and I’ve read more than my share!), this one is tops them all. As I explained to my husband, it’s an easy read, but complex enough to answer all of your “But what if…” questions. Without a doubt, written by a daughter of The King. Thank you Sunshyne, for using the gift He gave you to share His love in your counseling of others!

    • Sunshyne on October 5, 2018 at 6:50 pm

      Hi Emily! Thank you for your encouraging words! This article was born out of my own “what if’s”:) I appreciate you sharing your thoughts!

  8. keo nha cai on October 9, 2018 at 10:43 am

    Pretty great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to mention that I have really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.
    After all I’ll be subscribing on your feed and I’m hoping
    you write again soon!

    • Sunshyne on October 9, 2018 at 6:44 pm

      Thanks for stopping by! Glad to hear you’re subscribing;)

  9. Doreen on October 17, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    I have to say, God always knows where to lead us and who’s words to use in order to speak to our heart when we really need it most. I literally had a situation at church this evening where a person in authority shunned me when they normally are very friendly and even looked up to, relied upon and trusted my abilities..
    This person would barely look at me and avoided me when I approached them.
    But when others engaged in conversation with them, they were fully engaged in the conversation. At first I thought it was just me being super sensitive. But later I had another encounter with them and it was the same thing again. No eye contact and avoidance. This really hurt me and all the way home I asked God to lead me in the right path to forgiveness.
    God led me straight to your article. Thank you very much for allowing God to work through you with your words of encouragement and edification.
    I will continue to come to your site and will keep you in prayer.
    May the Lord hold you up and bless you for being a light,,
    God Bless,
    Doreen

    • Sunshyne on October 18, 2018 at 12:28 pm

      Hi Doreen! Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. And a double thanks for keeping me in prayer. I’m so glad the article was a blessing!

  10. Edith Teichroeb on October 22, 2018 at 10:59 am

    Good article but it stops short of addressing an all too frequent issue and that is abuse. I left an abusive relationship and struggled with forgiveness if it meant continuing in that abuse. After prayer and advice, I was able to forgive him, hand over his offences to God, and step into wonderful freedom. But I did not resume that relationship and never felt that I should have, however your article suggests that in order to fully forgive, I should have placed myself back in harms way. We are not God and cannot forgive as God does. He is able to truly forgive and remember our sins no more. The past no longer has a hold on me, I remember but it no longer brings pain. Praise God for His goodness!

    • Sunshyne on October 22, 2018 at 4:16 pm

      Hi Edith! Thank you for reading the article on forgiveness and taking the time to share your thoughts. I didn’t intend to insinuate that forgiveness must always end with reconciling the relationship. In the article… “The question of reconciling or releasing a relationship has nothing to do with forgiving.” You are right…forgiveness may end with releasing the relationship. I’m so glad you have found freedom from an abusive relationship. I also appreciate you sharing your thoughts…it gave me the opportunity to clarify further!

    • Babette on October 30, 2018 at 8:47 pm

      I agree, i have forgiven the person who killed my mother, then married my father. But do not feel the need to be a part of their family, or bow to her as is required for her acceptance. It is healthy for me to keep distance.

  11. Ariat on October 24, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    Thank you! I needed this, it came into my life at the perfect time! I was struggling and dwelling in the past, re-living a specific hurt in my life. Resenting the individual that caused the hurt, wishing and wanting them to feel the hurt and pain I feel.

    I was stuck in a toxic cycle, until I came across this. It saved me. Thank you!

    • Sunshyne on October 25, 2018 at 9:56 am

      I’m so glad you stopped by, Ariat! It is definitely hard to stop the cycle of dwelling on a past hurt (I find myself there, too, sometimes). The choice to forgive and move forward takes intention!…Thank you for sharing your encouraging words!

    • Elesa on October 27, 2018 at 8:18 pm

      Thanks for this message, I will save it and read it everyday in hopes I can finally heal my pain and stop holding all the anger I have for my sister, who hurt my parents until the day they both passed.

  12. Patti on October 27, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    Thank you. This helps a lot. But I don’t feel safe in my situation. My words get twisted, phone conversations listened to and was threatened by this person’s daughter. She is the fiance’ if my brother and they have my Mom who has severe dimentia. We have different ideas of what her care should look like. I haven’t been allowed to see her in 6 months.

    • Sunshyne on October 30, 2018 at 2:15 pm

      Hi Patti, Thank you for stopping by. Your situation sounds quite challenging. I want to share a link with you… https://sunshynegray.com/learning-how-to-trust-again/ This article separates forgiveness and trust. What you are describing is an inability to trust your brother and sister-in-law, which is separate from the topic of forgiveness. I’m hoping this helps.

  13. Hannah on November 2, 2018 at 9:26 am

    Thank you for this! I have been struggling with forgiveness, and the fear of getting hurt again always stops me from forgiving. But I will definitely try these seven things. Thanks again!

    • Sunshyne on November 2, 2018 at 10:08 am

      Hi Hannah, I’m so glad you found the article helpful. I have another link for you… https://sunshynegray.com/learning-how-to-trust-again/ This article addresses trust alongside forgiveness, since the 2 topics are intertwined and often confused. Thank you for taking the time to share you thoughts!

  14. Deb on November 2, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    This is an amazing post! Perfectly written & powerful message. Exactly what I needed to stumble upon. I live in a state where winters get dreary and I always say I need more sunshine. I may have just found mine in your blog! Love the spelling of your name. Thank you

    • Sunshyne on November 7, 2018 at 1:44 pm

      Hi Deb! Thank you so much for your encouraging words! Glad you found the article helpful:)

  15. Amand Graves on November 5, 2018 at 7:14 am

    I’ve been struggling for 4 years to forgive my ex husband. He’s now down and out all I want to do is say karma. But I know it’s not the right thing to do. I really needed to see this today. Thank you

    • Sunshyne on November 7, 2018 at 1:46 pm

      Hi Amanda! It is definitely tempting to say “karma”. God delights over your desire to honor Him(God) with your choice to forgive. Hang in there!

  16. Angela on January 13, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    I enjoyed this article. My husband was in prison for doing something illegal and kept this a secret for 5 years until he was caught. I supported him and the household for almost 2 years. Upon his return back home I have felt unappreciated and our marriage is holding on by a thread. I have forgiven him..but I feel he took all I did for granted. I am now struggling with staying or walking away. Please pray for our marriage.

    • Sunshyne on January 18, 2019 at 6:24 pm

      Praying for you Angela! I encourage you to share this with your husband to open communication.

  17. Rebecca on January 24, 2019 at 1:03 am

    Three were a couple of thoughts that helped me with forgiving. One was the idea that every sin is really between the individual and God. I may have been wronged, I may have been sinned against, but ultimately that’s between that person and God. God isn’t going to ask me what I think should happen, because He’s wiser than me. If I don’t get a say, why hang on to the hurt? I realized I was holding on to the hurt because I felt like letting go would be giving the other person a free pass. But in reality, it was only hurting me – they didn’t care and God already knew my heartache. The second thing that really made a difference for me was realizing that, in holding on to the hurt, I was telling Christ that His sacrifice wasn’t enough for me. That it could cover everything else, but not this. But how arrogant and prideful! Of course it covers this! I was denying the Atonement by pretending it wasn’t enough for me. Sometimes it still hurts. But when it does I simply remind myself that it has.nothing to do with me; Christ has already made me whole.

    • Sunshyne on January 24, 2019 at 6:31 am

      Hi Rebecca, You’re right, the sin is between the individual and God…but so hard to take that truth in when we bear the hurt the offense caused. I loved the second point…it’s so true, Christ’s atonement is enough. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts…I’m confident it will resonate with other readers too! Thank you so much Rebecca!

    • Sherrita on June 21, 2019 at 8:44 pm

      This thought process really helps me! He hurt me but fights the battles!

  18. Cheri Mello on March 12, 2019 at 11:47 am

    I Will Post This!! HOW TRUE! And THANK You for Your inspiring Words👍🏼❤️ JESUS KNOWS our Pain The TRIALS, And ITS TRUE!! We CAN apologize OR JUST BEING born into A family Where someone WAS married BEFORE .. ( Being A Grown stepchild) YOU CAN NEVER please the other person Sometimes😢 EVEN Your whole life , JUST LOVE Them Anyway!!! BC Then YOU REALIZE… IT’S NOT YOU 😊👍🏼👍🏼G-d Bless

    • Sunshyne on March 13, 2019 at 2:17 pm

      Hi Cheri! Thank you for your kind words and for sharing the post! Forgiveness is such a big topic that every person journeys through in a broken world. It sounds like you have a testimony that God will use to encourage others! Blessings:)

  19. Sandie on March 27, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    I have enjoyed reading all the posts. I have been dealing with letting go of hurt from infidelity that resulted in a child being born. My husband and I are still married because there was not a release from God! Our marriage has been restored as God promised. We are still a work in progress..But God!! There are times when my mind goes back to the dark details! I pray that one day it will be far away from my thoughts. Moving on and letting go has been a challenge. I thank God for Supportive Friends, God, Jesus The Holy Spirit and Christian blogs like yours. I know God joined us and we want let no one or nothing separate us. I know in God will get the glory out of all of this.

    • Sunshyne on March 28, 2019 at 11:59 am

      Hi Sandie, What a testimony! Thank you for sharing, choosing to forgive in the deepest of hurts is a testament to God in your life. The process of healing does cause the recall to be a problem. You want to forget, but can’t. Take heart, one day it will be far from your thoughts. I don’t know how long since the infidelity, but it can take years for a more complete healing (daily memories to stop). However, there are things you can do to intentionally move away from the thoughts of the past. Sometimes our thought habits can keep us in a place of hurt. Again, I don’t know how long you have been in the process (though everyone and situation is unique). I have an online course “Taking Every Thought Captive” you might find helpful… https://sunshynegraycourses.teachable.com/p/taking-every-thought-captive/ Also a book recommendation that will speak to your experience, “When Trust is Broken” by Cindy Bealle. Praying for you!

  20. Cathey on March 29, 2019 at 8:41 am

    I find hurt coming from a preacher hurts more. Lost so many friends that hurts. Really I am being shamed. No one from church tried to help. Except the ones who left when we did. I really don’t know if I can go on. 30 years is a long time.

  21. Rich Mc on March 29, 2019 at 10:46 am

    I have a question. Is it not the case that God will only forgive our sins if we Repent i.e., ask for forgiveness? It seems as though we are being held to a higher standard if we are asked to forgive those who do not similarly apologize, or ask US for forgiveness. Can you explain this inconsistency?

    • Sunshyne on March 31, 2019 at 8:04 pm

      Hi Rich, Great question about us being held to a higher standard than the person who offended and hasn’t apologized. That definitely throws a wrench in the forgiveness process! They are being held to the same standard as us (God’s Word). Their choice to make amends is between them and God. Just as our choice to obey is between us and God (our obedience to God shouldn’t be dependent on another’s choices). Hope that helps.

  22. Maria on March 30, 2019 at 6:59 am

    I put everything into my 17 year marriage but I was not good enough, my husband left. For the past 7 years I raised my kids alone. I thanked God for carrying us moment by moment. I have a full time job, 2 part time jobs to make ends meet & no help at home. I am struggling to forgive my x-husband. On the surface it looks like he is doing well with his new marriage & financially it’s going better with him – he moved on, all friends & family move on. Daily I feel the impact of his desicions in which I had no choice. I don’t want to be a single parent. On practical level I’m fine (my children are super with their help, we make an excellent team), but emotionally I struggle. I don’t wish him bad things, but I can’t wait that I become more happy than him. We have the minimum contact because of me. In the beginning it was too sore, I don’t trust my emotions. I don’t talk bad about him, but I don’t do good to him. I’m just absent. It’s really difficult not to dwell in the past, if I feel daily in everyday life what he done to me.

    • Sunshyne on March 31, 2019 at 8:12 pm

      Hi Maria, Thank you for sharing the struggle your facing…I’m sure others can relate to your struggle to move forward. I often find that the difficulty moving forward is about unforgiveness AND a lack of healing from the deep hurt you faced. This part can’t be skipped. I recommend processing through the hurts through Biblical counsel through your church. I also have a journaling outline in the resource library (sign up to receive access) to help process hurts through writing. Finally, I do biblical counsel online… https://sunshynegray.com/christian-counseling/ Praying for you as you journey toward healing.

  23. Imogene H Dotson on April 1, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    Sunshyne, I have struggled with this for 7 1/2 years . . . yes, a long time . . . too long. It’s my ex-husband. We had both been married before with children — we were in our 40’s — but when we came together we managed to make “1” family. I had 1 grandchild — he did not have any but together we were happy to welcome 7 more into our family and the year we separated we had welcomed the first great-grandchild. We had a successful business that we both worked in, had everything we needed and a lot of what we wanted. We were fortunate to be able to travel to Europe 3 times and across the US. This is a long story but I will try to make it brief. In 2008 he had a 4-wheeler accident and almost died; in 2010 his daughter (an RN & DON at a nursing home) attempted suicide — she was planning to divorce her husband because she had lost custody of her 3 children because he (not their bio father) was abusing them — she survived but with cognitive disabilities that prevented her from ever working again. We and other family took custody of the children with visitation for her for several years. After this my husband began to change – – at age 60 he decided he didn’t want to work anymore — he wanted to file bankruptcy. I told him God had blessed us with a very successful business and we had everything we needed that he did not need to file bankruptcy – – and that it would be fraudulent. His reply to me was, “I’m going to file and if you do one thing to screw it up, I will see you live in a grass hut!” Well, he not only filed, our life began to deteriorate, he bought a Harley motorcycle and wanted to join a motorcycle gang, began staying gone, finally abused his granddaughter we had custody of, finally moved out, moved a young ‘biker babe’ in with him, began drinking to excess, doing drugs, came to my home with a gun threatening to shoot me (I called 911 and he was put in jail). After months of this, going in and out of court, I ended up loosing the home we lived in that I had prior to our marriage (he would use it as collateral for loans for our business (which we ran as a proprietorship instead of a partnership — big mistake on my part), when my father passed away I inherited $280,000 which he insisted that I pay on the industrial buildings we had our business in — I told him we were going to get old and needed to put the money back for our retirement. In the end I found out he had told a buddy of his that he had been planning the divorce and fraudulent bankruptcy for 2 years. The court gave me a life estate in my home, the payments for the loan on it were coming out of our business — after 2 years he stopped paying the payments and that’s when it went into foreclosure. I didn’t have the means to make the payments or to “buy it back”. He lived with his biker babe for the 2 years, then married her 2 months before the house was put in foreclosure. She called me several months later and ask my forgiveness for any pain she had caused me in all of this. She said, “You tired to warn me”. She said as soon as he married her he told her she needed to mortgage her house in NC so he could “buy Imogene’s house”. She said the light bulb finally went off and she told him no at which point she said he turned into the devil. She said she left him and went back to NC for 3 weeks, then decided to go back and try to work things out with him. She said when she got there he mixed them a drink and within 30 minutes she was on the floor bent double with pain and prayed to God not to let her die — he sat on the bed and laughed at her. She said as soon as she could get up she left for NC. She said, “I know he tried to poison me because he knew she didn’t have a will and in NC if a spouse dies without one the surviving spouse gets everything – which included her home. She said 2 weeks after that he brought the motorcycle she had at his house to NC and picked the one he had there up. When she got on it to ride a couple of days later, she had no brakes — another attempt on her life. —– he destroyed so many lives, children, grandchildren, his 2 brothers, his niece who is an attorney in TX, his nephew who idolized him at one time — none of them or extended family have anything to do with him now — so in the long run he destroyed himself — they all remain in my life. —— I loved him and never in my wildest imagination thought something like this could happen in our lives. I have had so much pain and anger that it has almost destroyed me. God has truly blessed me through it all — He worked it out that I have a roof over my head, food on my table and so, so much more. My sister and I live together and with our meager incomes we pay our bills and and we have God to thank for all we have. Some days I think I’m almost to the point of being able to forgive him but I can’t hide what’s in my heart from God and He knows I need help to get to the “finish line” of being able to forgive.
    I apologize for the length but I appreciate you reading it. Please pray that I can reach the point of forgiving him. ~Imogene

    • Sunshyne on April 7, 2019 at 1:21 pm

      Hi Imogene, Thank you for sharing your testimony of walking in faith even in the most hurtful of circumstances. I will be praying for you as you step out in faith and forgiveness of your ex-husband.

  24. Monika on April 8, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    I am currently experiencing a situation where I have forgiven him for how he chose to handle a situation. We both handled it wrong, and I apologized to him for my mistakes. However whenever I see him at church, he will ingore me.

    • Sunshyne on April 13, 2019 at 9:24 pm

      Hi Monika, That can be a tough situation…it sounds like you want to move forward and he doesn’t. It’s possible, his response has more to do with his own internal dialogue about the situation. But it sounds like you’ve done all that you can do…pray for his heart to seek reconciliation. Praying for you in this uncomfortable interactions.

  25. Wendy on April 19, 2019 at 5:35 am

    I am glad I came upon this. I also have been having a stuggle forgiving in my life. I read this and understand and some things really clicked . I think I am just not a nice person. I have been so programmed in my life to feel bad and sad, that the negative side is always there and I am 59. That is a lot of years being angry and holding onto the anger. My father left me when I was 5, and the trauma of that has affect all my relationships in my life. I want to be happy and no I need to forgive.

    • Sunshyne on April 25, 2019 at 12:20 pm

      Hi Wendy, Forgiveness definitely brings freedom from past hurts. And your so right…our past affects our present. You are wise to move forward in forgiveness.

    • Janice on December 12, 2019 at 5:20 pm

      I’m going through a rough patch in my life right now. After reading this letter on forgiveness it touches my heart. God is all about forgiveness, and my spiritual teachers constantly teach on forgiveness. Thank you for this article.

  26. Curt Cottrell on April 20, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    Really needed to here this , i asked the Lord to forgive me when i was 17 and ill be 54 on April 26th , i thought I had given everything to him , but there was some hurtful deep rooted things that had happened to me , that at the time it wasnt for me to ask for forgiveness , as years past that hurt and unforgiveness, led to anger and hatred , bitterness. Someone else had done this to me and at the time i guess i felt like it was an all inclusive prayer , but subconsciously i guess i was holding back , i had to have justice , and i wanted to judge and be the executioner and seen this person under the prison. But thank you Jesus for showing me that forgiving isn’t for the person its for you and it doesn’t let them off the hook with God , but its like having a cancer removed. Thats all …love everyone and I FORGIVE EVERYONE …YEAH

    • Sunshyne on April 25, 2019 at 12:16 pm

      You hit the nail on the head, Curt! Thanks for sharing a piece of your testimony:)

  27. Sara J on May 9, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    Forgiveness is essential to our own healing. It sets our hearts free to be who God made us to be and to not get trapped in a life of bitterness.

    • Sunshyne on May 15, 2019 at 1:13 pm

      Absolutely true! Thanks for sharing, Sara:)

  28. Florence Nandwa on May 10, 2019 at 1:19 am

    Normally when someone offends me I take some time off, cry it out and talk to God and everything goes away, but this time around they got me good tried crying but no tears, was unable to talk to God, but this has helped me big time, thanks.

    • Sunshyne on May 15, 2019 at 1:12 pm

      I’m so glad you found this article helpful, Florence- praying for you as your heart needs healing. Choosing forgiveness is the first step toward healing…entrusting the hurt to Christ takes a bit more time.

  29. Cheryl on May 22, 2019 at 8:41 am

    Hi, I have had the opportunity to reap the blessings of forgiveness but I must say that I believe forgiveness is often a repetitive choice, not because the offense is repetitive but because when situations or circumstances remind us of the offense we must choose to act in obedience to the Lord. I do believe that with time God heals the heart.
    I have an honest question regarding forgiving as Christ forgave. I John 1:9 says that if we confess He is faithful to forgive, and as Christians the forgiveness of our sins was a free gift but the requirement was the recognition of our sinful state. How does this fit in to our understanding of forgiveness?

    • Sunshyne on May 22, 2019 at 9:07 am

      Hi Cheryl! That is a great question. We do have to understand that we are in need of a Savior (Jesus) due to our sinful state in order to step forward and ask for His forgiveness of sin. That forgiveness brings reconciliation with God and everlasting life. Forgiveness of others does not require the other person recognize their sinful state. It’s simply a command of God. Also, important to note…forgiveness does not always lead to reconciliation with the other person for us. Here is another article that may help… https://sunshynegray.com/trust-forgiveness-relationships/ Thank you for taking the time to comment and leave a great question:)

  30. Soni on June 12, 2019 at 11:50 pm

    Thank you. There was only 1 thing you wrote that l believe the Lord wanted me to know and l just love how you described it. That forgiving is being obedient to God’s word. Especially the fact that we can leave the heart part (hard) part up to him to work through us💗

    • Sunshyne on June 13, 2019 at 12:21 pm

      Yes, Soni! There is blessing in obedience! So hard sometimes, but worth it…God never fails to show me His faithfulness in the healing part when I am walking in obedience:)

  31. Ann on June 19, 2019 at 9:27 pm

    I had a very hard time forgiving my abusive father! I have two brothers and a sister. We were abused in every way possible. He used religion and God to keep us in fear so that we would stay under his control. He used physical abuse and caused us children to do evil things to each other so that we could “survive” and maybe earn his love. He used military psychology on us as well. Some of the punishments we had were going without food for days, causing us children to beat each other up, or ignore each other for days…..the mind games that were played were horrendous. It was to the point that we had Stockholm syndrome. He was also abusive sexually. I will say that my husband said he does not know how we survived. Some say they would blame God I’m this. Why did He not stop it and so on. He was there the whole time. He allows man freewill. Punishment comes to those unrepentant. Yet the chains that bound me on this were unforgiveness. It bound me to him and to the memories and kept me from having joy, peace and even a real life. I asked God to help me to forgive because I love God and because I wanted freedom. O yes, I hurt from the past abuse it I was no longer in that past abuse, yet I was chained to it because I could not see past it. It took a very long time and asking and begging God to help me, because my dad had not changed, yet I was no longer in that place anymore so my decisions and I actions were from a place where they were finally my own. He could stay bound in his son if he chose or repent but I could have freedom for myself and obey God whom I love more deeply than that thing that no longer is my life. God did bring me to the place of forgiveness. I can tell you it is so freeing. I am no longer bound. I have joy, I have a life and a future to look forward to. Most of all I have Jesus! My dad has not changed. I can say I do not want him on hell. If he died I would cry my eyes out. I am sad for him and what he is losing out on with all us kids and grandchildren, but he will have to do his own choosing. I chose to walk in freedom! So sweet! Thank you Jesus!

  32. […] healing part takes time, however there are some things you can do to help the process. Check out this article for more information on […]

  33. Donna on July 15, 2019 at 7:18 am

    Would I be able to share this article in our church bulletin?

    • Sunshyne on July 17, 2019 at 3:52 pm

      Hi Donna, Yes, absolutely, please share. I only ask that you put the website somewhere on the article. Thank you so much for sharing:)

  34. […] we actually go about forgiving is a great topic, too! I cover how to go about forgiving in this article. Don’t miss […]

  35. […] Forgiveness is defined as canceling a debt. As Christians, our debt was canceled through Christ’s death on the cross. In other words, we are released from the punishment of our sins. Therefore, we are called to release others from their sin as well. […]

  36. […] there an old hurt that needs to be released? Check out this article for more […]

  37. 7 Benefits of Forgiveness - Christian Counseling on December 18, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    […] How to Forgive- Even When It’s Hard […]

  38. Anel on January 7, 2020 at 8:06 pm

    Thank you for this article. How to forgive when you can’t forget is one of my greatest challenge. I was abandoned by my father and after 35 years I decided to find him. I say i have forgiven but every time I remember his abandonment I feel resentment. I will keep praying and know that with time I will be healed.

  39. N/A on January 25, 2020 at 10:13 pm

    Stop asking your victims to forgive. F*ck off. You need to be regulated by the government to protect people from you. I’m not forgiving. I am going to suicide. Now STFU. F*cking ridiculous for a group of people to get away with that garbage for that long. God is an abuser. Satan is my “persecutor”. God is my lame “hero”. And I’m the victim. FIND ANOTHER VICTIM.

  40. MAYA HARRISON on February 7, 2020 at 10:23 am

    I just found out my husband had an affair with my sister and now have a 4 month girl, on this fast, and a min I had to stop. I am having such a hard time. I really need God’s strength. I need to know what to do. I am deeply hurt, angry, bitter. I dont want to see him with his baby because images of them having intercourse keeps shows up in my mind. He did apologize but not remorse. I really dont what to do.

  41. […] we make to release someone from our punishment. This means we are entrusting the offense to God. Choosing to forgive is even commanded of Christians (Ephesians […]

  42. How to Forgive When It’s Hard! – My Blog on March 18, 2020 at 7:10 am

    […] Source by madeline7236 […]

  43. How to Forgive When It’s Hard! – My Blog on March 19, 2020 at 1:44 am

    […] Source by sunshynegray […]

  44. […] enemies as a choice to release others from our punishment and entrust the offense to God. Check out “Scriptures on Forgiveness” and get a free guide on biblical […]

  45. […] out these articles on “Scriptures on Forgiveness” and “7 Things Forgiveness is […]

  46. […] put, forgiveness is releasing someone from your punishment and entrusting the offense to God. As Christians, we […]

  47. Claudette on June 24, 2020 at 11:25 am

    To the dear woman who was molested and is looking for the scripture that says this was God’s will for her life. There is no such scripture. It was not God’s will for this to happen to you. Not everything that happens to us is God’s will and people who say that it is are making God the author of sin. This happened to you because of sin in the world. It was done to you by someone who was evil. Nothing about it was your fault or God’s. I hope that you have found a good, wise Christian counselor. I will pray for you.

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