Unburdened Heart Study Week #4: I release unforgiveness so God can fill me up

Unburdened Heart_Grass&SkyIn Chapter 3 of The Unburdened Heart, Carlie discovers her husband’s secret. He was having an affair and it devastated her family, and her.

Some of you may be tempted to tune out this week, saying, “My marriage isn’t in trouble. My husband is faithful.”

But unfaithfulness takes many forms. As I’ve read your comments the past three weeks, many of you have shared your struggle to forgive an unfaithful friend, or coworker, or a church family that hurt you with their actions.

Unfaithfulness can cause physical pain, emotional heartbreak, confusion, and with a new conviction that people can’t be trusted. It may even turn inward, as we ask, “What’s wrong with me?”

That leads us to the word apolyõ. It’s another meaning found in the word forgive in scripture. It means to: dismiss; send; set free; to go away; to release.

It can also mean to divorce, but not in the sense that we understand that word. In this instance, it’s completing releasing unforgiveness so that something else can take up residence in it’s place. Which leads us to this week’s theme:

I release unforgiveness so God can fill me up.



 1. Read Chapter Three of The Unburdened Heart. What was your first thought as you read Carlie’s story?

2. On page 56, it reads: “It is in our secrets that God desires to reside in the richest manner. It’s our inner court of the temple. It’s the place where thoughts are conceived and give birth to action. It’s where we find solace or peace. . . or turmoil.”  Why do you believe that God asked Carlie so quickly to forgive?

a. Describe a time that God has asked you to give Him your secrets (your thoughts, deepest feelings, hurt, anger). What was your response? 

3. After reading Carlie’s story and Chapter Three, in what ways are you willing to release unforgiveness so God can move into the broken and wounded places in your own life?


  1. Its amazing how and what God reveals to us, through other peoples struggles. I feel the pain and heartache that Carlie has gone thru and can’t imagine being in her situation. But what God has revealed to Carlie “the importance of forgiveness and to forgive quickly” shows how much God loves her. He asked her to bless her enemy, by doing this she placed the burden and the hurts on him. God is the healer, God wants Carlie’s heart, he knows she loves him and that she wants to honor him, in all she does. In her obedience to him she is able to move forward and she has placed her ex-husband in God’s hand. God is asking her to trust Him, for He will take care of her.

    So I am learning to trust God, to be obedient to Him, to seek forgiveness and to forgive. And that although it may be hard, God is always with me, for He is faithful and loving.

  2. Wow is about all I can say. God has placed this study in front of me at the right time. I found this site last week and after misreading the start date (thinking it was saying March 25th) sign up and bought the book for my kindle. When I realized the study had already started I began reading the book.
    And I do truly believe that God places people and things in your life for a reason.
    Ten years ago my childrens dad left me for another woman. And he was and is a controlling type of person. He has this mind thing with people. Any way now 10 years later he has taken my children from me so that he and his wife can be the parents. And since they love him so much they went along without question. They used my current husbands past from before I met him to help turn the children. So for the last year I have had no contact with them.
    Forgiving my ex, his wife is what I know I need to do. I also am doubting and second guessing myself about my husband.
    I need to sit down and let it all out (so to speak) with God and ask for guidance and let it go to Him.

  3. I have been struglling with forgiving my husband who has left our family (including 2 toddlers) for an affair. He keeps pushing me in a corner and hurting us by spreading lies to friends and at church to shift the focus from his actions. Each time I try to move forward he inflict a new hurt on us. At times I feel like i am fighting a losing battle but I continue to pray and forge forward in hopes that one day I will come out on the other side of his hurt and be joyful in Christ. I keep asking God to show me his love so that inturn i can love my husband thru the hurt and forgive as I should. I need to do this not only for my salvation but to create a happy home for my boys again.

    • Steffi, I’m so sorry for the pain you and your boys have endured. Truly, my heart hurts with you. Wouldn’t it be shocking, if in spite of lies and his leaving, that God filled you up to the point where His love shined through. I remember the sick man who lay by the pool of Bethesda. Can you imagine what the others, those who were sick and waiting for a miracle, thought when he stood for the first time, his legs shaky, and then he confidently followed Christ out of the sick crowd into a new life? That’s my prayer for you today, that as you intentionally walk into a deeper relationship with the God who loves His girl so much, that it would surprise you how much His presence fills those empty places with joy. My prayer is that joy begins to surprise you like grief has these past months. My prayer is that when he inflicts lies, you stand so strong in the truth of what you know, and what God knows, that your joy and faith belies every lie, putting it to rest. My prayer is that the energy that the enemy would like to claim in your thoughts, in your physical body, in your heart, are all so in tune with God and His presence and His love that he is thwarted in his plans. And that your joy splashes out on your children and in your home. In Jesus’ name, amen.

  4. YAY! I finally got my book in the mail just now! 🙂 Now to do some serious catching up!

  5. Unfaithfulness does take many forms. My husband recently left me, and I have been embracing the fact that, although he did not commit physical adultery, there has been emotional adultery with his ex-wife.I have been set free, given God’s peace and comfort, by forgiving him, not just through my words, but by praying for him. I know he needs healing and before he is able to receive the unconditional love of a biblical marriage, he needs to heal, forgive himself. He is returning to old familiar patterns, and hurting me the way he has been hurt, in the past. Hurt people hurt people. That is why it is so important to find peace, joy, and freedom through forgiveness.When we have unforgiveness in our hearts, we aren’t allowing God’s love to flow freely through us. We should forgive as easily as Jesus forgives us.

    • Wow Joy the phrase hurt people hurt people has really touched a nerve with me! I am ordering my book tonight and dealing with this with the help of my Heavenly Father, thank you for your honest comment I want you to know you have helped some one by opening yourself up! I pray for so much love in your life! God bless you.

  6. This chapter really spoke to me. I also, like Angie above, was raised by a father who, altho he didn’t abuse me physically and probably didn’t mean to mentally either, left me with feelings of self worthlessness and not living up to anything and I have a brother and sister who, probably from watching my dad treat me that way, continue to treat me that way. Everything I do, their son or daughter or someone they know can do better; they never say thank you for anything I do. My brother especially, will make sure his wife is treated like “royalty” and yet I can do all the dishes for 20 some family members at the holidays because his wife “works so hard” and is “so tired”. It seems whatever I do, it doesn’t count. Then I married a man who was wonderful and gave me my self-confidence back but I am not good enough for him according to his family and he never defends me, altho I think he sees how they treat me as now, whenever he goes over there, he lets me stay home and I’ve even heard him make excuses to his mother about how I can’t come even tho he’s said nothing to me about going. Everything is my fault and I’ve learned to just take it and not say anything and walk away because I’ve been doing it for years with my own family but it hurts and I’ve had enough. (And that’s why I think God made Carlie forgive immediately — the bitterness just brews and it’s harder to get rid of the longer you hold on to it) I need to remember that I am a temple of God; that He resides in me and that I do not deserve the criticisms and blame and insignificance that is bestowed upon me. Sometimes I find myself blaming my husband for not defending me and even my mother for dying when I was young and leaving me to fend for myself with my family. I know it’s not fair. I just need to give all this stuff to God and let it go, fill my heart with love and good things. This has carried over into other parts of my life. I don’t feel I’m good enough for my friends and will stay home from outings because I’m not sure they really, truly want me to go or sometimes I’ll come home from spending time with them and doubt that they really like me or did I do or say something to offend them. I

    • My prayer is that God is your safe place to share these hurts and concerns, and that He begins to fill you with the image of how He sees each of us. Loved. His. Worthy because of His love. His creation, a marvelous workmanship that He delights in.

      As you read through the book, write down those thoughts that speak to you, that show you what is forgiveness and what is not (stuffing your concerns is not forgiving), but how to find your value and confidence in the truth of God’s word, so that when people are a work in progress you deal with it in a healthy way, and release those things you cannot fix, and you no longer embrace other’s words or actions as your identity.

  7. Hi Suzie,
    I just wanted to say how nice it was to meet you in person at the Hearts At Home conference in Normal on Friday night! What a fun surprise! As we chatted at your book table about this forgiveness study, I could see the love and passion in your eyes and it warmed my heart! Thanks for being so real and transparent with us in your book and in your weekly posts! I’m so grateful to God for drawing me into this study at just this time in my life! I am also grateful to you for following His leading to write the book and do this study with us….so thank you! Each day as I get up, I start waving my white flag of surrender! =)

  8. Boy does this study and this week in particular ever hit home. God has put this study in front of me and is bombarding me from every direction with sermons, devotionals, and another Bible study because He knows that this is not an easy subject matter for me. I must begin by saying that I was raised by an physically and emotionally abusive father whose favorite words were to tell me that I was not good enough and would never amount to anything. I responded by trying to overachieve, be perfect and prove him wrong. My mother (whom was my support and rock) left the family due to physical abuse and wants nothing to do with me or my children despite repeated attempts on my part. I looked for a husband who could offer me safety, love and support and thought I had found that only to have my “perfect marriage” fall apart when I learned that a pornography addiction was a huge part of his life and our marriage. Along with that came comments and feelings that I no longer measured up after 20 years of marriage. I admit that I have shaken my fist at God but cried out face down on the floor with Him also. With God’s help we are working on the marriage, and I have finally decided that I need to work on myself and let God heal me. That is when I found this study. He always has a way of showing up when you need Him. Thank you for writing this study and sharing it with us all.

    • It’s a journey, and I’m so glad you are on it. There is truth ahead that I believe will absolutely heal your heart, and show you what forgiveness looks like, with God’s help, as you live free from the burden of resentment or the labels upon your heart put there by man.

  9. God has really been placing loving women around me.. it’s uncanny! But myself and two of I’d say my closest friends were talking in church and my “rejection friend” walked up to us, hugged the friend of mine she seems to like and asked about getting a ride to the retreat. My other friend who didn’t know who she was spoke up and said “you can ride with us”… So my “rejection friend” looked at me and said if it is okay with you. I said sure or something like that. After she left someone said something about me being a rung in her ladder. I struggle so much — part of me wants to hug her and tell her kind things.. but the other part of me says — Hello?!? She really doesn’t care anything about you! and that I am just someone to be used and stepped on. I think maybe denial could be a way of shielding from the hurt… just to make everything seem okay… But that is not setting boundaries and using wisdom. I don’t want to keep getting stepped on, but I want to get rid of the hurt feelings / fear etc.. I feel like a discarded crumpled up piece of garbage when I am around her.

    I am praying for her and myself that we would both be healed and see anything in us that is not Christ like. When my rejection friend walked away I was asked who that was and I just began crying and my friend looked me in the eye and told me identity statements of who I am in Christ and not to let her have power over me. At this point, I feel like I need to just keep praying for her and to trust the Lord to show me how to move forward and to realize forgiveness. I think sometimes I am too quick to act, but if I wait on the Lord and seek what He wants, if I can get that understanding, I should be okay… I know probably she rejects others cause she is rejected, but it’s not my job to fix her.. I can’t even fix myself.. I am putting all my trust in God and studying the word to strengthen who I am in Christ. He has to illuminate my path because this isn’t something I can fix.

    • I think at some point we realize that we are all works in progress, and the power we give to people over our lives can be in our own hands.

      When you meet your friend (with no labels), require nothing from her that she cannot give or perhaps doesn’t want to give, and let God be that need-meeter instead. Love her, free her from the expectations that she may not be willing to give, and that’s okay. That’s her work in progress, and you let God do what He wants to do in you.

Speak Your Mind