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Why You Should Forgive Others

Updated on August 28, 2016
Blake Flannery profile image

Blake has worked in the mental health field since 2002 educating and inspiring hope on the journey toward recovery.

Resentment Hurts You, not the Person You Haven't Forgiven

You may have heard someone utter the words, "I could never forgive him," or "Why should I ever forgive you." What the person probably doesn't realize is that he or she is only hurting him or herself by refusing to forgive.

Forgiveness is an important part of stress management and keeps a person focused on productive things. If you lack the ability to forgive, even for the smallest things, you may very well be killing yourself a little bit each day. The impact on your health could be as devastating as the impact of other slow killers such as obesity, smoking, or diabetes.

Get a handle on your resentment toward others by truly forgiving others and do it for yourself. Improve your quality of life by freeing yourself of the thoughts that drain your resources. Chances are that if you feel drained everyday, you may feel better if you are able to forgive someone who you need to forgive, So Here are the reasons to forgive as well as a few tips of how to forgive.

10 Reasons to Forgive

The ten reasons you should forgive are a result of the ten reasons resentment is bad. Resentment is a long lasting ill-willed attitude you hold toward someone. Usually people feel resentment due to something they think is unfair or due to being hurt by another person. Resentment is more that a flash of anger. Resentment hangs on and gnaws at your insides. It makes you feel sick. It makes you mean and nasty.

  1. It can damage your health
  2. It can damage your relationships
  3. It definitely wastes your time
  4. It wastes other people's time
  5. It wastes your energy
  6. It wastes other people's energy
  7. It doesn't feel good
  8. It allows other people to control you
  9. It limits your options
  10. You have been forgiven in the past

There are probably more reasons, but we'll cut it off at 10

How to Know if You Should Forgive

You can check to see if you need to forgive someone by answering a few questions. These questions don't necessarily mean you need to forgive someone, but likely mean you are harboring some resentment.

  • Do you wish someone were dead because of something he or she did to you?
  • Do you lose sleep because of something someone has done to you?
  • Do you daydream of ways to hurt someone to get even for something?
  • Are you researching how to make murder look like an accident? (this one is a joke, hopefully)

If you answered yes to any of these, it is likely that you have an unforgiving attitude toward someone. If you have ever heard the phrase, "Forgive but not forget," you might want to forgive the phrase for leading your thinking in the wrong direction.

Forgiving others doesn't mean you necessarily trust a person totally, but it is likely that you will start to focus less on what they did to you. So in a way, forgetting is likely to happen as you forgive.

Remember, it is your decision whether you can trust someone. So set boundaries and new expectations for people who have hurt you, but also try not to think too much about what they did to you. So, in this way you should forgive and forget, but you don't have to trust the person.

How to Forgive and Stop Resentment

Forgiveness is a difficult thing to do because it goes against human nature. Initially you want to retaliate, get even, and be angry when someone hurts you. If those strong feelings don't go away quickly, then you are resentful and will have to learn a strategy for forgiveness. Some people might be able to use logic to forgive, while others will use their personal beliefs to help them.

If you are still angry, it is not likely that you will be able to rationalize your resentment away. YIf you remember how you have been forgiven in the past by others and god It may help you get started. Try this plan.

  1. Admit that you yourself have needed forgiveness before
  2. Tell yourself that forgiving others is good for you
  3. Decide how much you can forgive today ("I'll forgive 10% today")
  4. Find something productive to do with your energy
  5. Forgive a little more each day

With this plan, you will gradually take a more healthy outlook. You will find that forgiving someone a little at the beginning will be the most difficult and it will get easier.

Try to keep an assertive style of communication as you go on your quest to forgive. Assertiveness will allow you to be respectful even if you feel like saying or doing something mean back to someone.

How to Know You Have Forgiven

If you still spend time around the person, it is likely you will feel a sense of peace that you didn't have once you have fully forgiven someone. It will feel good, and your intentions toward that person will feel right. You might catch yourself saying something nice about the person after you say something negative.

These are good signs that you have at least begun to forgive someone. Once you feel this feeling, it will be easier to forgive the next time with the next person you need to forgive. Like anything you will get better with practice. So keep practicing forgiveness.

Jesus Knew How to Forgive

The account of Jesus' life is a beautiful story of forgiveness.  Check it out for yourself.
The account of Jesus' life is a beautiful story of forgiveness. Check it out for yourself.

What if You Need to Forgive Yourself

Sometimes we are resentful toward ourselves due to bad choices we made or lack of self control in an area.  Forgiveness will free you to focus your resources productively instead of putting yourself down constantly.  Realize that you are likely more critical of yourself than others, and you should remind yourself that you deserve second chances. 

Know that God loves you, someone else probably loves you somewhere, and you can change.  You will find forgiveness for yourself when you accept that you don't need to be perfect, but that you are willing to work to get better.


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    • Anita Hasch profile image

      Anita Hasch 

      2 years ago from Port Elizabeth

      Thank you for sharing such an interesting and true article. I have always been quick to forgive. However what happened these last few years makes it hard to forgive and to hate. When other peoples actions hurt not only yourself but also your children you do not forgive do easily.

    • wpcooper profile image


      2 years ago from Barstow

      Thank you sir for your wise words. They are meaningful to me even though they might be difficult to put into practice.

      You wrote a nice article that was welcoming and made a lot of sense. I hope other people can see it and learn from it.

    • Anita Hasch profile image

      Anita Hasch 

      3 years ago from Port Elizabeth

      To forgive somebody that has done you a lot of harm, especially financially is very difficult. But I agree you have to try.

    • MrManifesto profile image


      3 years ago from South Carolina

      it's not that bad to forgive someone, it just take work and time, and a lot of burden in my mind was gone

    • Man from Modesto profile image

      Man from Modesto 

      8 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)

      Actually, I was punched in the face once by a random angry guy (or was it that shoplifter from months before I chased and surrendered to the police?)

      Anyhow, I forgave him and even offered a kind ear if he wanted to talk.

      That's when he threw his Snapple.

    • Blake Flannery profile imageAUTHOR

      Blake Flannery 

      8 years ago from United States


      Sometimes people can 'rent space in your head' for free. It might be worth hating someone if they paid you enough, right?

    • lifelovemystery profile image

      Michelle Orelup 

      8 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Excellent hub! From my position on faith and forgiveness, this is really a command and not a choice.

      "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you." Matthew 6:14

      I also see forgiveness as an act of mercy and grace. Forgiving someone allows you to move on and they no longer get to 'rent space in your head'.

    • The Stages Of ME profile image

      Kathy Henderson 

      8 years ago from Pa

      Love this Hub. Such an important topic and so true. I also love how you use humor as this is such a tough subject for many to battle with. Forgiveness is really not hard when we think about how many times God forgives us for our crazy silly actions. It should be a no brainer. But then again we all lose brain cells by the day LOL so we can blame our goofy behavior for holding onto things on our lack of brain cells.

    • Whidbeywriter profile image

      Mary Gaines 

      9 years ago from Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington

      This was very good and very true. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I too believe it is very important to live life freely forgiving others and yourself - there is a peace that comes from doing so. Blessings

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      There is a difference between refusing to forgive someone and actively hating them.

    • Sunnyglitter profile image


      10 years ago from Cyberspace

      I have a hard time forgiving myself for things I've done, and there are 2 people in my life who I feel like I can never forgive. Maybe I'll try. Nice article.

    • sunbrite profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      All very good tips and true. I just recently practiced forgiveness with a person and I instantly felt free and peaceful. So worth it! Thank you!

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 

      10 years ago from Michigan

      You are hilarious Blake .. I'm so glad to have found your HUBS. :0) Oh, and thank you in advance for your forgiveness .. so freely bestowed on one you don't even know. I call that Blind Forgiveness .. ha ha


    • Blake Flannery profile imageAUTHOR

      Blake Flannery 

      10 years ago from United States


      Feel free to link to this hub, and if I'm harmed by your link, I'll forgive you.


      I couldn't put it better. It's ironic how we have to fight our human nature (resentment) in order to become more human. So maybe we become something more than human when we forgive. I don't know. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      10 years ago from South Africa

      This is an important subject. Much ill in the world comes from a lack of forgiveness. And it is quite hard to forgive because forgiving makes one vulnerable. And it's in our vulnerability that we are most human.

      Love and peace


    • casper18 profile image

      cassie fuller 

      10 years ago from eden nc


    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 

      10 years ago from Michigan

      Excellent Hub on the Importance of Forgiveness. Very practical. Would you mind if I link my hub on forgiveness to yours? Here is my Hub for your evaluation.

      Oh, the disclaimer is hilarious! Good sense of humor there Blake. Great Hub .. I'm voting it up and rating it Useful.

      Bless YOU!



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