Dear Suzie, you say that forgiveness is the foundation of healing, but what if the person doesn’t deserve forgiveness?
I can’t forgive someone who isn’t sorry and who continues to hurt people. I want to heal, but if forgiving is part of that, then I don’t know what to do.
If someone deserved forgiveness, then it wouldn’t be forgiveness.
The abuse that you suffered shouldn’t have happened. You deserved to be nurtured and loved and protected.
But if you are still struggling with anger, rage, bitterness, or other unhealthy emotion or response years later then the abuse continues, even if the offender is nowhere around.
You are still responding to the abuse and that creates a mess inside.
It affects your current relationships because it’s hard to push down anger and bitterness without them splashing out somewhere else.
So, what do you do?
Change what you can. Move past what you cannot.
I don’t have the power to undo anything that took place in the past.
I can’t change another person.
But I can change me and my perspective and that affects my path in life.
It also affects those I love who are innocent of wrongdoing, but who pay the price for someone else’s sin.
Be open to forgiving.
That’s your first big step. It’s not trying to figure it all out. It’s simply saying, “I’m tired of feeling stuck.”
This was my prayer so many years ago:
God, this is bigger than me, and I need your help. It doesn’t seem possible, but I’m placing it in your hands. Work in my heart and life so that these emotions and feelings will be made whole.
Something broke that day. Like the first chip in a granite wall, it started the process.
If someone is still abusive or could harm you or your children, then the process starts in you and that might be at a distance. You are not responsible to fix another person. You aren’t big enough.
But don’t let their decision to remain the same keep you from healing.
It takes time.
That granite wall may come tumbling down immediately, but for most of us it takes time and that’s okay. Layer by layer, it’s a merciful exquisite process as God heals our hearts.
I’m not the same person I was in my teens, or my twenties, and I hope that I’ll look back one day and see additional growth in every decade.
Celebrate along the way
Rather than looking at far how you have to go, celebrate how far you’ve come to date.
That might be that you listened to a tele-seminar and it cracked open your heart just big enough to let hope slip in.
That’s worth celebrating!
It might be that you went a whole day (or hour) without getting tangled up in unhealthy thoughts.
It might be that you suddenly realize that you’re whole. Joy-filled. A good mom. A loving friend. A woman open to all the possibilities that God has for you.
And you arrived at that place one small step at a time.
I’m so glad you came to this site today. If I can pray with you, please share that. I will pray for each of you, and my prayer team (chosen because of the beautiful, faith-filled lives they live) will quietly slip in and pray with you as well.
Today I’ll choose one of you to win an autographed copy of either The Mended Heart: God’s Healing for Your Broken Places
The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness.
Just leave a comment below to enter.
Want a sneak peek? Here’s a couple of links to a free chapter.
The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness
The Mended Heart: God’s Healing for Your Broken Places
I would love to win the Mended Heart. I have a lot of healing that my hear needs.
Thanks for this devo, suzie…I needed to hear the words “you went an hour without getting tangled up in unhealthy thoughts – celebrate that…” I want to be transformed by the renewing of my mind in Christ Jesus – help me, Lord!
God is good. So many hurts, so many challenges, yet we know He is with us. I pray for a forgiving heart. I have surgery tomorrow and as they mend my brokieness I will enter with a mended heart.
Love this devotion. It’s what I needed to here. I am better than I was. I have forgiven the person who hurt me or I think I have. The angry hurt feelings come back at times. I try to pray about it when they surface. Would love to win a copy. I know several hurting people who, like me, would benefit reading the book.
Thank You Suzanne! This resonates in my heart and I would really like to read your books. Crying out to God for His healing of the broken places and the freedom to forgive.
My children, my husband and myself have repeatedly suffered at the hands of my husband’s ex and his parents, who I used to be close to, who have switched alligences to the ex, whom they couldn’t stand before. Did we DO anything to deserve this? NO! It is the result of my husband’s ex’s out and out fabricated lies, which have been PROVEN false. I have forgiven them numerous times over the 28 years we have been married and done everything to restore relationships, but it just keeps happening. God led me to the verse, Luke 17:3&4, where you find the priciple of 70×7. The key here jumped out at me like a sore thumb and that was “IF they come to you and REPENT, forgive them.” I learned that I can forgive them in my heart for my own self and well being; however, I also have to cut them out of my life. I am at peace with that. They have NEVER ONCE come to me or my husband and repented or asked for forgiveness for how they have treated us or our children. God requires repentance for sin, so how can we say we HAVE to require more than what God requires? It is, as far as I am in God’s hands. I will always be kind if I see them but I refuse to be abused any further.
In addition, when I start reliving the hurt, I turn it over to God to capture as I feel like those thoughts are coming from the enemy to trip me up. God knows and He is merciful and faithful. The voice from Him is comfort and not condemnation.
I am having trouble letting go of things that happened in an abusive marriage ten years ago. Things i wish i would have done differently. I need prayer. I am in a new relationship and i need to let go of the old stuff. Thanks for your post today. Please pray for me.
This is what I needed to read today. After being in an abusive marriage for far to long and still having to have regular contact with my ex husband, because of the kids it is really difficult at times. Sadly, he still tries to manipulate and control me so forgiveness is sometimes a daily struggle. I so desperately need to learn how to forgive and let this anger and bitterness go. It’s very hard at times when there is contact still but it can be done. Thanks for the bit of encouragement today.
Thank you for these words. I know firsthand what a relief it was to finally forgive my ex-husband for the mess he left us in when he left. To this day he has never apologized, but I don’t need his apology anymore, it won’t change anything. I am forgiven and I choose to forgive. I know that my God honors my choice. I’d like to win a copy of The Mended Heart to give to one of my daughters who still struggles with unforgiveness.
Thank you SO much, Suzie. I have been hurt SOO very much in my life, many, many times. So forgiveness has been difficult, but necessary. I still struggle with it at times. Many times I’ve had to say, “God, I forgive (so-and-so). I don’t FEEL like forgiving them, but I CHOOSE to forgive. HELP me to forgive them.” And after a while, I realize (at least I think) that I have actually forgiven them. However, I have realized lately that many of my REACTIONS to things and people stem from the pain others have caused me in the past (rejection, especially), and I wonder if I really have forgiven. It’s like a constant battle. There’s SO much I could say…. But I wanted to let you know this post today blessed me, and thank you.
I love this gentle reminder that the road to being fully healed by God, starts with forgiveness. I know this to be true because I have been there. My healing journey started a year ago.
Although my sister(s) chose not to take responsibility for their hurtful words & actions against me and continue to misrepresent them selves to others (and the rest of my family chose to remain silent and act like they couldn’t see what was going on in our own family), I chose to seek God’s healing and forgive them for what they had done and keep doing, then set boundaries with them so their words and actions no longer affect me. I was recently tested on this and with much gratitude to God, Proverbs 31 Ministries, you (Suzie), Lysa, Renee and my Christian counselor Stacy, I PASSED the test! Their words (lies) no longer affect me! At age 52, God has healed my heart from a lifetime of my sisters bullying. They have to go through God to get to me now!
I have never felt more peace & joy in my life! Thank you Suzie for sharing your life so others can take steps to heal their own. I pray God uses my story to bring awareness to what I call the ‘silent’ bullying that goes on within families. (Silent because people choose to pretend it’s not happening or that it is okay because “they are family”)
I have had some instances where it was VERY difficult to forgive, in fact I had to really work hard at it. And I started out praying for that person first, which was a suggestion from my husband. He told me to pray that person receive everything I wanted. I didn’t mean it at first but after doing it everyday for quite a long time, plus spending time listening to God through His Word, I started to mean it. Now this one person, actually my sister-in-law, and I have at least a speaking relationship that is getting better all the time. I read a lot of books about healing my heart because for me it’s not a one time thing. I’m reading right now the Mended Heart but I would love to have the Unburdened Heart. Thank you for your blog, I always read your writings and enjoy them. God bless you!
How I would love to just let all of this anger go. Please pray for me to have a forgiving heart.
Thank you for another encouaging post, Suzie. I need to start celebrating the small victories as I work towards the huge things and people I need to forgive. Thank you for reminding me it is a process and a journey. Not an overnight destination.
The Unburdened Heart – I so need to read this book. Thank you!
This was such a blessing to me today. I have struggled with unforgiveness in my heart from being abandoned by my mother when I was 17 with a newborn baby then married an abusive husband, which is the father of my 3 children, so I felt as if I had no where to go and no one to talk to. I left him 17 years ago and found a fabulous bible based church that showed me that God was with me when I felt all alone and did not think anyone was there, but He was. I am praying for God to open my heart to really forgive my mom and ex-husband, not just superficially, but with my whole heart. Thank you for the encouragement today to know I can fully and truly forgive.
I read the mended heart and I think it’s time to read it again. I just don’t understand why God allows some of us to suffer so long. I’ve prayed so much and surrendered and surrendered. Why don’t I get victory? I know our walk with the Lord isn’t by works, but I feel like I have to ask the question what am I DOING wrong?? I’m lacking joy and peace. I’m trying with God’s grace to build my marriage back. You and others always make it sound so easy to leave the baggage. How many times do I come to the cross. Probably continually others would say? But what do I do in the mean time. I’m frozen. I’m depressed. I’m chronically Ill too. Why does God stay so silent at times?. I had such a breakthrough near the time of reading the Mended Heart. Then a month or so later I just crashed. Again. I will look into your new book. sorry for the rant, Please pray for me
Thank you so much for today. I just said those exact same words to a friend yesterday: “I am tired of being stuck”. I am tired of feeling lost, burdened, alone and unhappy. I know I need to make a change. I can’t make my husband love me nor can I make him change his attitude any more than I could have made him stop drinking. The emotional abuse took its toll on me and I now am feeling the effects. After making the kids my priority I now am starting to feel the weight of trying to stay together. I realize I am angry at him for putting us through what he did, for drinking and not working, for not being there when the boys needed him the most, for losing our house. I am angry! There I said it! Whew! Praying God give me the courage and strrength, his sstrength, to forgive him for his sickness and all the damage it caused. I needed this more today than ever.
I need prayers to forgive my husband of his lying and infidelities from the past 18 years of our 36 year marriage. I just found out that, after 19 months of lying to me about “just talking and texting too much” to the woman coworker and denying any physical intimacy, he has had two affairs with her (one 18 years ago, the other beginning in 2011), both physical and intense. The lies and deception have just about destroyed me, as did the verbal, emotional, and physical abuse that followed when I continued to probe with questions about the affairs. I had just finally worked my way to forgiveness for the emotional affairs I thought he had before the revelations that they were also physical became apparent, and now I am back to square one in my recovery. Please pray for God to soften my heart and help me forgive him for the lies, abuse, and selfishness that he displayed in these affairs. I am trying so hard to find forgiveness, but I am having such difficulty right now. I have prayed for God to forgive them. I have prayed for God to forgive me. I know forgiveness is not an option. But I cannot find it in my heart right now, as hard as I have tried. Please pray for God to help me forgive and move forward for this horrible place in which I have been stuck. All prayers are appreciated. Thanks so much Suzie for this post today. I needed it!!! Blessings to you!
I have a cousin who needed a place to live. We took her in as a family member, and took care of her as such. We provided all of her needs because she didn’t have a job (she was 45). She had been with us for a year. A few times I told her she needed to move on with her life, but she always came up with a colossal problem where it played on my heart that I could not make her go. I later found out these stories were all lies. Finally, the time came when she left. Suddenly. And she never came back. I found out that she had lied to me and my family repeatedly during the time she was here. I later found out she also stole about $10,000 worth of jewelry. I go in and out of forgiveness. I’ve prayed every day that God will bless her and take care of her. Forgiveness seemed impossible at first, but through constant prayer I’ve learned to forgive a little bit at a time. Some days are still better than others. I would be very happy to receive one of your books to help me further with the process. It’s a long one. God bless you.
Needed this today. Thank you. Would love The Unburdened Heart.
Thanks for this devo! I was a day late getting to read it, but in His time, it was perfect timing. Trying to pray thru the hurt of the past & let it go! Thanks again!
This is beautiful. I recognize the process. Mine has been long in some areas but thankful for that freedom in Christ. Learning how to let go of what can’t be changed and realizing only God can change the other person is such a difficult but freeing lesson. I would love to win The Mended Heart so I can read it and pass it on to others to be blessed!
Suzanne you have made a difference in my life. Through your books and prayers. When you came to Island park, Idaho and talked about your beautiful books and life. It made such a lasting impression on my life and others. I have since read your books. I love especially the Mended Heart about God,s healing. I am 73 and celebrate 26 years in recovery from miss use and abuse of prescription drugs. It affected my husband and children see the one they loved close to death. I read The Mom I want to be and I am now I am to my adult Children,grand children. My husband and I are reading now the unburdened heart. This book is such a beautiful book of forgiveness. Thank you for Sharing your gift of life. Your in my prayers. I love you Shareon
“One small step at a time.” Very true words. Sometimes forgiveness sneaks up on us and we realize the bitterness of yesterday is gone. That was my experience when an abusive family member died suddenly this year. Yes, I felt a sense of relief, then guilt at that emotion. But I was able to quickly land on the feelings of sadness and loss that told me I was free of the need for revenge.
Praise God that, only through Him there is freedom from making others pay for accounts we can’t ultimately reconcile…
It’s difficult to find well-informed people about this subject, however,
you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks
Thank you for this gentle reminder, I have learnt that unforgiven heart can rob us our tomorrow. For our spiritual growth we need to forgive to move forward in life, living the rest for God to judge.