Forgiving the Unforgivable

Through my recovery, I have uncovered great anger and hurt at people throughout my life, even those that I love and trust. Addressing this has been important as has standing up for myself. Finally acknowledging the pain starts the healing process.

However, a new problem has set in as I have struggled to forgive. In my heart, I know that it would be the right choice and long to do it. The pain and anger continues to throb inside, however, as I still hold onto a seed of bitterness.

Forgiveness is a difficult topic. On one hand, letting bitterness take root only makes us more miserable. Yet, allowing people to continue hurting you because of the second chances that you give them is also not healthy.

That second choice is not forgiveness but acceptance. Sometimes I forget that important element. One can forgive a wrongdoer but still put up boundaries. A woman with an abusive boyfriend can choose to forgive him but never return to his side.

Another misconception that we often hold about this is that our feelings will change. Someone can truly forgive another person but still feel pained or even angry. Do you think that the man in the video above was any less hurt by the death of his love one? Certainly not! When someone harms us, fear and pain are normal reactions – even healthy ones. Allowing those emotions to grow into fury is the problem, not the indignation and confusion that we face.

Forgiving those who hurt me in the past (or the present) is a difficult task. Tonight, I will have to face someone again that I love but hold bitterness against in a way that hurts both of us. As my recovery continues, this is an area that I hope to grow in to find greater peace.

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8 thoughts on “Forgiving the Unforgivable

  1. MaggiMay says:

    I have experienced the feelings you express so well. Still struggling with some people, especially ones that I need to forgive again and again.

  2. panikikubik says:

    Thank you for this video and keep up your good job.

  3. Ruth says:

    Powerful video. Also, my pastor says forgiveness is giving up your right to retaliate against someone for the harm they did you, but not enabling them to do it again. This helped me get past my own bitterness.

  4. jefairgrieve says:

    Thank you for writing on this topic, Anna Rose! Forgiveness is something I have wrestled with for over thirty years, now. I have successfully managed to forgive my mother for all her cruelty and abuse during my childhood and also during my adulthood, and I have found peace in that area of my life. However, try as I have, I have not been able to forgive my former husband for his cruelty and abuse of me and my children during my twenty-year marriage. I would like to find peace in that part of my life, too, but it eludes me. I’ve been to healing services, talked to a therapist about forgiveness, and have spent a lot of time in prayer about this, but the peace of forgiveness doesn’t come.

    However, I think that sometimes peace and forgiveness may come at times when a person least expects those gifts and isn’t really trying overly hard to make it happen. That’s what my intuition tells me, anyway. Maybe this is one of those things that happens not in our human time but in God’s own time. Maybe this is one of those “let go and let God” matters. At any rate, you have chosen a highly complex topic to write about! But it’s a topic that is important for all of us. Thank you!

    • You are endured so much but have a beautiful approach to it. We are certainly granted sometimes extraordinary grace forgiveness beyond our power to control. That is a wonderful point! It is so hard (nearly impossible) to find it alone even if we are working hard.

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