All relationships can be difficult at times, but they should not be destructive to our well-being. Learn the difference between a destructive pattern and a difficult season with this free resource, “Is This Normal? 15 Red Flags You May Be Missing in Your Relationships.”


3 Things to Remember When It’s Hard to Forgive

August 18, 2016

The plastic seats were green. The desks a dirty beige. The perfect pale color to make pencil marks easy to read.

That’s how I saw what was making the group of girls in front of me laugh. They looked at me and then added to Jennifer’s desk art: a frizzy-headed stick figure with huge buck teeth and crazed eyes. I knew even before I saw the name scribbled, she’d drawn me. Me. An awful caricature of me.

It’s been years since I sat at that dirty beige desk. But it hasn’t been years since I’ve had those same feelings of rejection and hurt. Of course, they aren’t from girls drawing pictures. But meanness hurts, no matter what age and how it’s delivered.

You can take girls out of middle school but you can’t take the middle school out of some girls.

If you’ve been hurt in this way, you know what I’m talking about. If we’re a stuffer type person, we want to withdraw and get away from the source of our hurt. If we’re more of an exploder person, we want to attack back so they’ll feel as bad as we do.

But here’s where things get a little complicated. Jesus flies in the face of conventional wisdom and says for us to “love our enemies” and “forgive as the Lord forgave us.” Seriously?

Something deep inside us whispers, “Don’t you dare love this person. And certainly don’t forgive them! This situation is the exception.”

Let the internal battle begin.

But what if I were to assure you that Jesus isn’t being cruel or naive in His commands for us to love and forgive? He’s actually showing us how to get free from the long term affects of being hurt. When we’re wounded we have a choice. We can either pursue healing by extending love back, or, we can refuse healing and allow the “rejection infection” to set into our wound.

If you’re wondering how to do this from a godly perspective, I’ve put together a free resource called “3 Things to Remember When It’s Hard to Forgive.” You can download it for FREE by clicking here.

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  1. Lisa H

    I am really struggling with this topic right now. My brother is estranged from our family and has been for over 15 years. Both my parents recently passed away and I was the executor of their will and their primary care giver. Unbeknownst to me, they modified their will years ago and gave my estranged brother a smaller portion of their remaining estate. This brother is now suing me and stating I convinced them to make the changes. He is a lawyer so there is no cost to him, but it sickens me to read the lies he has written about me and my parents. I am trying to honor my parents wishes and at the same time follow God’s word. I am reminded of Matthew 5:38-39 and feel like I should just give him the money and move on. It makes me sick to read letters my parents wrote begging for a relationship with my brother and then go against their request. Please pray for wisdom and discernment in this difficult situation

    • Meme

      Lisa I’m praying for you. It’s difficult because I feel the sting of your brothers rejection in your post. I think whatever decision you make will be blessed. Neither choice should cause you strife because you would be upholding the will of people you have loved. I’m so sorry you are going through this but I believe God takes us through these times to pull us in close and carry us through. That’s faith getting us through circumstances we couldn’t imagine overcoming. Remember there is a cloud of witnesses cheering you on and I’m one of them. Be at peace with your decision.

  2. Sue

    How timely. One of my grandchildren has been facing a difficult person at mid-week service kids’ gathering. Yesterday, she found out this person is also in her classroom at school this year.
    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Mary

    Can you please tell me how to get the DVD for the bible study Uninvited?? I ordered and received the Study Guidr and the book, but the DVD was not with it. I would like to get it asap.

  4. Susan

    My father and I were estranged for 31 years. Recently he sent word through my sister he would like to see me. God has changed my heart during the estrangement and for several years I had been praying for God’s to soften my father’s heart. I went to see my father a few weeks ago and we have laughed, hugged and spent some wonderful time together. Only God’said mercy could have restored our relationship and I give God all of the glory.

  5. Tami

    I think loving your enemy means doing the right thing towards people who don’t like you or are cruel to you. This I understand, but unsolicited forgiveness? Not so much. The Bible clearly instructs us to forgive the way God does which is to forgive when forgiveness is asked for. You are forgiven when you ask for it and repent, not before. If you were, there would be no need to ask forgiveness. God does not expect more from us concerning each other than He does of Himself.
    Being kind to those who wrong you will often lead to an apology in which case we are obligated then to forgive, otherwise when we ask forgiveness from God, we will not get it.
    Think about it this way, if you did wrong to somebody else, how would you feel about them being cool with it? Would you expect it of them? Just forgiving you for no reason? You would have no accountability for what you did.
    The secret is to just let the incident go and give it to God and you just keep doing the Christian you. God will take care of them in a perfect way, perhaps bringing them to an apology.

    • Donna Judalet

      I disagree a little about your post, the only way you can let it go is to give forgiveness. Yes he wants us to forgive as he does, and he forgives us even before we ask him to. He took our sins on the cross even before we were conceived. I believe you must forgive without being asked for forgiveness and that unleashes God’s blessings on you.

  6. Sydney

    Lysa, thank you for this resource you created. It has been very helpful to me in my journey with forgiving my father. Him and I have had a pretty unstable relationship since he left my mom five years ago. For awhile I thought I had truly forgiven him for all of the ways he wronged me over the years. But as this school year started up I realized I haven’t. I am fully responsible for paying for all of my college expenses and my mom helps me out when she is able. I have made many sacrifices in order to stay in school where I am. The start of this semester hit me with some very unexpected costs. I was so angry because he has the money to help me and just doesn’t. Through this most recent struggle the Lord revealed to me that I was still resenting my dad and that I hadn’t fully forgiven him. Stumbling upon this post was no coincidence. Thank you!!

  7. Danielle

    I’m struggling with this concept right now with various members of my family, especially my mother in law. I don’t think these people will ever apologize for the things they’ve done, but if don’t forgive them, that wound will continue to rear its ugly head, and I continue to feel weighed down, resentful, rejected.
    When Jesus was on the cross, He asked God to forgive those around Him and those responsible for His crucifixion. I don’t think those people apologized to Jesus. It is the ultimate example of forgiving others. Forgiving others without them asking or apologizing is grace. We are forgiven by God even when we don’t deserve it, and we are called to do the same for others. We have to give our burdens and wounds to Him, and trust that He will sort it out. The bible says that God is the judge, and He knows our hearts and intentions.

  8. Wounded

    I am a stuffer by nature & stuffed things for 30 years. In that time I thought I was forgiving & gaining healing until one day I realized I had just been bandaging really deep wounds that were still bleeding & very painful.. Wounds mainly caused by my husband. I have withdrawn to the utmost by leaving last year. I don’t want to see or talk to him. I only want to find true healing for the deep, deep wounds in my heart & to forgive but not go back to the source of the hurt. I say all this simply because I need prayer that God will be the healer of my heart & show me His great love for me & my little girl/woman heart.

  9. Robin

    Hi Lysa, I just read your book Uninvited not knowing it was your most recent publication. I realize that God wants me to stop using my past as an excuse, a labyrinth of blame, to never be what He has called me to be. For some time I have been afraid to get up on the ladder onto the flat roof of my home to clear off dead tree branches. As I was reading through Psalm 91 and accompanying prayers in your book, the Lord gave me a supernatural vision of myself being lifted by a Holy Spirit white light arc of grace, light as a feather from ladder onto flat roof, totally unafraid. I could feel the love. So I steeled myself, put on my sneakers and did it. I got the dead branches off my roof, though I must admit , flat on my stomach the whole time. But I still did it in obedience by the grace of God. I have the courage to believe, because of what you have written in Miracles in the Mess chapter that although I am forgiven, I am not set on the sidelines, unable to be used because of what I have done, but God is expecting to mold me and make me as I will allow Him to. Thank you for writing this beautiful book.

  10. Tambra


    I’m reading “Uninvited” and felt a need to thank you for this book. So many of my struggles in life have been from feelings of rejection. It is my firm belief that God had you write this book for me and all those wonderful women out there that he is holding in his healing arms. Praise the Lord for you and the Proverbs 31 Ministries! God Bless you!

  11. melanie

    This is perfect! had a discussion with my 10 yr.old daughter this morning before school about walking in love and forgiveness. She has a friend at school that has been being “mean and snotty” lately and so then my daughter said she “didn’t want to be her friend anymore”…(girl drama) I told her that as a Christian, God commands us to forgive and to walk in love, and that ” love isn”t always a warm, fuzzy feeling but is instead an ACTION that we choose. I asked her to pray and to ask God to give her the right words to say to this girl and to ask Him to help her to forgive. I want her to learn that extending love and forgiveness not only helps the other person but it helps us even more by putting in motion the healing process whithin our own heart.

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