How to Forgive Others When They've Hurt You
“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” - Mark 11:25
Have you ever felt the weight of hurt so much that you thought it would be impossible to forgive?
After a long season of traveling and busy schedules, my family has prioritized a lot of rest and relaxation lately. On the weekend, you can find us binge watching our favorite show or being lazy watching a few movies. A few days ago after reflecting on one of our show finales (I’m a brooding intellectual like that), I realized a common theme from our screen time has been forgiveness. Better yet, it’s the burden a character feels when they refuse to forgive.
What I’ve noticed from my real life and the characters on the screen is how much pain we cause ourselves when we refuse to forgive. Not only does it cause us emotional stress in our present situations, but the hate we have in our hearts will fester, causing subconscious damage for ourselves and our future relationships.
When we withhold forgiveness, we think we’re teaching a lesson. I’ve thought something like “I can’t let them off the hook this fast. I need them to understand the pain they’ve caused me before I move on from it.” Have you thought similar thoughts towards someone who’s hurt you? Ironically enough, by not forgiving someone WE are the only ones we’re not letting off the hook. Because let’s be honest, we probably spend way more time thinking about how others have hurt us than they do (just how we probably don’t fixate on how we’ve hurt others in the past.) However, when we forgive others, we’re extending love in the same way Jesus did and allowing ourselves the chance to finally heal.
But what if we think forgiveness is impossible? We’re too hurt by someone’s actions and there’s no way we could ever forgive a particular grievance. We read in Mark chapter 11 verse 25 that Jesus says to forgive others so our Father can forgive us. But let’s jump back to verse 24. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Do you think it’s any coincidence Jesus preludes His forgiveness lesson with the assurance that prayer is the key to seeing the impossible be done? It may not make sense to our human understanding but prayer can move mountains, including the treacherous terrain of hate and hurt we have in our hearts.
After forgiving others, you’re free from the bondage of hate. And when we forgive, we can trust God with the situation and know He will handle it better than the human way we naturally would.
Are you seeking to teach others a lesson by withholding forgiveness? Pray that God would help you forgive today, and make the first step in releasing the anger you have in your heart towards someone who hurt you.
With so much love,