Three Taverns Church

Why Is It So Hard To Forgive?


“And who can forgive? Forgiving another is as divine an act as we humans can ever aspire to. It’s as hard or harder to say ‘I forgive you’ as it is to admit wrong. But we can and must forgive!”
SA White Book, Step 10

Yes, this is SO difficult! When I struggle with resentments I can spend weeks trying to forgive those who hurt me. Even asking for the power and ability to forgive is difficult. We know that God forgives us our sins, so forgiving others is the most divine act we can aspire to.

I don’t understand why it’s so hard for me to forgive other people, though. I think maybe I am afraid of getting hurt: If I forgive someone, I am opening myself up to the possibility of emotional pain. I am reminded me of how I must hurt the heart of God every time I sin against Him. Jesus died for me , He forgives me of my sins, yet I’m all too eager to sin, even in this moment. I can only imagine how much that hurts God. But He did what He did willingly, despite the hurt, so I guess I need to do the same thing…

Maybe  my problem is that I have the wrong expectations about what forgiveness is supposed to ‘feel’ like. In my mind the process is supposed to go something like this: I ask for the power to forgive, then I forgive, then I feel good, and then life is good forever.

But maybe the reality is more like this: I ask for the power to forgive, then I forgive, then I feel good for a little while, but then I get hurt and I have to start the process all over again.

Maybe my expectation that forgiveness-equals-happiness keeps me locked up and afraid to forgive because a part of me knows the reality: I’m going to get hurt.  Perhaps if I accept that I’m going to get hurt I will be more likely to forgive. Jesus had no illusions about His fate when He came to earth; maybe that made it easier to pray for us as He hung on the cross. He wasn’t surprised or disappointed when we rejected Him; maybe that made it easier to forgive us.

Is it difficult for you to forgive those who hurt you? Why do you think that is?

4 thoughts on “Why Is It So Hard To Forgive?

  1. Nice post.
    It is said that forgiveness is next to Godliness, therefore, it is a very difficult thing to do.
    When you learn not to personalize it is easier to forgive.
    I like the quote “forgive them as they do not know what they do”. I try to keep in mind that ignorance can be dangerous. To reduce injury, reduce ignorance.

    • Hi doc, and thanks for the comment! Yes, when I consider your point that de-personalizing pain makes it easier to forgive, that does seem right. Remember that when someone hurts me it may not be about me at all, but rather about the pain they are going through…

  2. I think it’s important to note that while you might de-personalize the pain, shouldn’t we personalize the forgiveness? I mean, it’s a VERY personal thing to cancel the debt that is owed us, is it not?

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