When You Don’t Feel Like Forgiving

Set Mind on Christ

If you’ve lived with the day in and day out abuse or hurt from a boundary-busting offender for very long, it’s easy to feel so fed up that you don’t want to forgive him or her. You may have come to believe the half-truth that forgiving someone means “you’ve let them off the hook. Or worse, you’ve embraced the half-truth that feasting on resentments “tastes good and eases the pain.”

But like a steady daily diet of bon-bons and Doritos (or whatever your favorite junk food is), you’re going to regret that momentary bliss, because it’s slowly destroying you on the inside, while not changing your offender one bit! And it’s certainly not helping you grow or move past the pain, even though it feels like you’re stronger when you recall over and over how your offender has hurt you.

So how do you do what you don’t want to do?

The apostle Paul referenced this dogged human condition …

“ … What I want to do {refrain from sinning} I do not do, but what I hate {continuing to sin} I do.” Rom. 7:15

Based on Paul’s God-inspired insight {outlined in Romans 7:4 – ch. 8}, we are to have our “minds set on what the Spirit desires” {Rom. 8:5}.

Lately I’ve become keenly aware of the disparity between how my heart feels during sweet moments of communion in prayer and the moments that immediately follow as I step away and interact—bump into—other “do-not-want-to-do-what’s-right” doers.

{How’s that for a confusing sentence! Just wanting to keep you on your toes!}

The simple truth of this conundrum is that the Spirit does the work of changing our “want to.” But we must turn our wills and “want to’s” or “don’t want to’s” over to God. And if you’re like me, which I suspect you are, you need to turn your will over to God every single second of every day!

But instead of dreading this yielding, I want to learn to embrace and find joy in it. For, after all, isn’t that what “delighting in the Lord” is all about?

So may you delight yourself in the Lord in 2014, and not in devouring and savoring those delicious but deadly morsels of bitterness!

What gets in the way of you wanting to forgive a particular boundary-buster in your life?


What is the “half-truth” of your resistance in this situation and what is the “whole truth of God”?


Click the link to read more posts in this Forgiveness Series.

15 responses to “When You Don’t Feel Like Forgiving”

  1. I’m so glad we don’t have to drum up the desire or the ability to forgive. He can do it for us, through us. And all we have to do is ask. After all, He’s right there, anyway, isn’t He …
    Good to see you again, my friend! Please know I join the crowd in praying you through these radiation days …


    1. Me too, Linda! He is so very close to every one of us! I thought of Him and that sweet reality several times today–including while I was on that treatment table! I felt your prayers, my friend, so please keep them coming! ❤


  2. bluecottonmemory Avatar

    The bon-bon of unforgiveness – oh that is a teaser to the mind – and stomach! I want to know how to make the hurt go away. I can forgive – it’s dealing with the hurt and the real-life relationship of what is.


    1. Well, let me put that down on my long list of topics in this forgiveness series, Maryleigh. I think that’s a valid question and perhaps one that many don’t understand and struggle with. Some of what you’ve mentioned is also about boundary setting, which is on my radar as well. Stay tuned, my friend!


  3. I have always said that unforgiveness makes us ugly and bitterness rots our bones. Think about that word picture for a minute! And it certainly never makes Jesus smile. And that is why we are here. To heal and learn and grow in order to please Him more. Holding unforgiveness or bitterness is a choice, just like love. May we all choose wisely each day. My love to you, sweet Beth. You are such a special sister. Continuing in prayer for your complete healing. xxoo


    1. You preach it, Sheila! Amen and amen! Your metaphor is so descriptive of what it does to our hearts and lives as well. Thanks so much for weighing in and adding some “vividness” to our discussion today, sweet friend! And thanks always for the prayers! They are greatly appreciated!


  4. Dea Beth
    I cannot remember for dear life how many, many times I have and surely still will in future, run to God with my inability to do anything that brings Him joy. Boundaries were also totally non-existent in my life for I labored heavily under the wrong understanding of honoring parents, submitting to your husband, selling all your possesions and give it to the poor, and so my religious list went on and on and on. But it is for the likes of us lost ones that Jesus came. I am so glad you are doing so well in your last report on Caringbridge.
    Blessings XX


    1. I hope that you are doing well too, Mia. I’ve got you on my daily prayer list–praying for your health challenges to improve. I do hope your Christmas holiday was filled with family and love. But I know the frustration of not being able to physically do what you want. And yet, Christ has set your spirit free. You run with it beautifully every time you write, sweet friend!


  5. I needed this today, Beth. I’ve been letting my mind dwell on some dark things and I need to focus on Christ. This is where forgiveness, love, truth, and all good things will be found. Thank you.


    1. I’m so glad that it ministered to you, Laura! Your words are always a ministry to my heart, so it’s nice to know I could lift your weary load a bit today, my friend! Of course, it’s Jesus that’s really doing the heavy lifting! Hugs to you!


  6. I also needed to read this…I am dwelling on some “ouchies”…and I never like myself for it! Thanks Beth. Praying for you too friend.


    1. That’s a good observation, Nannette. We often don’t like ourselves when we get in those downward cycles of resentment and pain. I hope that this brief encouragement continues to minister to your hurting heart. I know “He” is near! Thank you so very much for your prayers, sweet friend! I feel blessed!


  7. May we all refuse the pills of bitterness and savor the sweetness of our Lord. Thanks for the post!


  8. Forgiveness is certainly never easy. For me, at least (and probably others as well) forgiveness of deep wounds comes only through the power of Christ…and may be more a process than a single event.
    Learning to thank God for His work in my life through the painful event helps a lot. It’s hard to nurture resentment while sincerely giving thanks.
    Learning to set healthy boundaries also helps. It’s much easier to let go of old hurts in a position of relative safety.
    And learning to trust God (also a process) not only to use what was intended as evil for good, but also to work all things according to His plan.
    Good post, Beth! Both helpful and thought-provoking.


  9. […] This is #7 in Forgiveness Series. Click link to access #6 – When You Don’t Feel like Forgiving. […]


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