Forgiveness Withheld

We have all done dumb things that can easily be forgiven and forgotten. There are times though when we do that thing that no matter how sorry we are, the injured party can’t get over. They hold the grudge, they stir up negative reminders, and for whatever reason they can’t get past the injustice to forgive. It is heartbreaking for all parties involved.

I did this thing once. It was partially a huge misunderstanding and partially an act of irresponsible behavior on my part. It hurt someone dear to me who had the best of intentions. Years later we each still have our own version of the circumstances and there seems no way out of that mire. It saddens me to think there may never be a pathway of reconciliation.

Sometimes we paint ourselves into a corner and we don’t know how to get out of the anger room. We don’t know how to reconcile the hurt with forgiveness. We think we need an eraser to remove the memory of the injury to reconcile our differences. We think that forgiveness is impossible and it won’t be accepted when offered. We think there must be some level of restitution to repair the damage done and hold that as the measure of sincerity.

Forgiveness doesn’t always include all these pieces of repatriation. For me forgiveness had to begin with admitting my role, my culpability, and my desire to change. I confessed it to myself, to another person, and to God. I sought forgiveness through Jesus because that is the only one I trust to have an eraser that brings healing and change. My life changed in that process. I let go of my anger and bitterness and blaming of the other. I found a sense of relief and freedom and a return of love and care for the person I hurt; and who hurt me.

Unfortunately in this particular relationship nothing has really changed. We still don’t speak. The offended person is still angry and not ready to forgive. This too I leave in God’s hands for God’s timing. I continue to pray for wisdom and reconciliation.

Don’t be discouraged if you are unforgiven by someone who you hurt. Take that to Jesus and allow him to heal and change you. Pray for the person you injured. Pray that they will be free of the negative emotions that trap them in unforgiveness. Pray the broken parts in the hearts of all will be bound up and made new. Pray for reconciliation and all things good.

Then be prepared if God puts a moment in front of you to let that person know you are still sorry and you love them, even if they can’t receive it yet. Be Jesus to them and let him do the rest.

He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3

2 thoughts on “Forgiveness Withheld

  1. Such a sweet honesty. I so resonate with this. Thank you for the reminder. There’s a sadness and maturity in realizing the only person you’ll ever change is yourself. I pray the gentle love of Jesus would whisper forgiveness into the heart of your friend and erase the hurt so that person can be freed.


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