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Have I REALLY Forgiven That Person Who Hurt Me?

Updated on February 23, 2012

For years I have questioned the issue of forgiveness.

After all, when I pray The Lord's Prayer, I utter the words, "...forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Then I ask myself, "How do I know I have truly forgiven that person who has hurt me?"

Here's the problem. I may SAY I have forgiven, but I do not FEEL any different. If I find myself still upset or feeling hurt, I conclude I must not have forgiven that person in my heart.

Even Jesus Himself uttered these words in the midst of being crucified, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." I may be wrong, but I think Jesus Himself forgave the crowd during those horrible hours. He was just so full of LOVE.

Back to the question, "How do I know I have truly forgiven?"

Strange, but I believe God truly knows our hearts. Quite often He provides an answer out of the blue. I just have to LISTEN for His consistent surprises along my life path.

Here's what happened. Last Spring I was invited to attend a six-hour workshop led by a Christian woman who has traveled around the country giving her testimony. Since it is easy to forget the inspiration speakers share, I always take notes.

Toward the end of the presentation, she stated, "Here is how you know you have forgiven someone."

She totally had my attention!

She said something I never would have thought of: "The way you KNOW you have forgiven someone is, when you are in the same room with that person, YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE IN THEIR PRESENCE. It does not bother you at all to be around them."

Later, I pondered those in my life who have hurt me. I asked myself, "How do I feel when I am around them?" You see, I believe many who hurt us are those who are close to us: family members, good friends, relatives. Not to mention co-workers, even strangers.

Some of these people I never see again. I recall a near accident I had years ago. On my way to work, I made a left hand turn. I had looked both ways. Nothing coming. However, I forgot to lean forward and backward around the area of the car by the passenger window that totally blocks the view of any oncoming cars. A station wagon barely missed hitting me.

I immediately pulled over, and I got out of the car. The stranger parked his car on the other side of the street. I remember his angry face and that he wore a knit hat. He screamed at me, "YOU IDIOT!" Plus a few obscenities.

I responded, "I am very sorry, I did not see you."

He continued to call me names, and then he drove away.

I was so upset, I went back home, and I called into work late.

Here's an example of an incident with a stranger I would never see again. He was right. I screwed up. Although I was upset with the way he treated me, I could forgive him within a short span of time.

It is those who are close to me that I struggle with the most.

Here's the thing. I have heard the quote, "I can forgive what you did, I can forgive what you said, but I will never forget the way you made me feel."

It all goes back to feelings.

The good news, for myself, is, all those who have hurt me I CAN be in their presence and feel comfortable. Especially friends and family members.

The solution is not hurting back nor seeking revenge. This is the key to peace of mind. Although I may not feel the same way about them, (example, loss of respect) I will never tell them that. I can be kind to them with no problem. I know in my heart I have forgiven them.

All this does NOT happen overnight. Depending on the circumstance, it sometimes takes me a long time to get my bearings and feel comfortable around those who have hurt me. During these times, I confess I do yell at God and express my anger and hurt. But I don't think God would have it any other way. He wants those who love Him to be honest. He knows my heart anyway.

The passage of time helps. It is God's gift to His creation.

So anyone reading this, if you are hurting, I hope the above has helped you in some small way.

I truly mean that from my heart.

Blessings to all, Sincerely, Sparklea :)


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    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Upstate New York

      Margaret, thank you so much for stopping by. I TOTALLY understand everything you shared in your comment. You mention malicious lies...I have been in your shoes. I find that the hardest thing to forgive are WORDS spoken - it's like putting toothpaste back in a tube, it just cannot be done. Nasty words written to someone, on the internet, in person, on the phone...are like knives ripping one's heart apart.

      I heard a sermon on the radio a few months ago: The minister said, "A man can say something nasty to his wife, and forget what he said in three seconds, but the wife will carry it around for YEARS." I found that to be very profound.

      I have forgiven people...but some, even though we remain in touch as friends or acquaintances, it is hard to forget how he/she made me feel. But I am comfortable in their presence and I think that woman speaker has given me a lot of peace sharing those words.

      Thank you, and blessings always! Sparklea :)

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Dear Sparklea,

      Although I am not a Christian I, too, have strong beliefs about the importance and power of forgiveness. I find it hardest to forgive hurtful deeds and words against me that are patently unfair and false, and yet I work hard at doing so. I find that allowing myself to carry around feelings of hate, of being a victim or other painful, negative thoughts and emotions is toxic. I may never trust an individual who has spread malicious lies about me again, but I forgive him to allow me to "detoxify" and focus on the positive people and experiences in my life that give it meaning and joy. Thank you for sharing your own views on forgiveness so beautifully.

    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Romeo's Quill: THANK YOU for visiting this hub and for your beautiful comments. I totally agree with your view on Christians expecting Christian values from non-Christians.

      Every day of life is a growth experience - new lessons are learned, both from good and bad circumstances. The one thing I have noticed in the churches is that some have the tendency to be judgmental and pious. This is something that can really, really not only turn off non-Christians, but Christians as well!

      This is why I love God, but have not been to church in years.

      I don't want to preach...I long to SHOW by my actions...just allowing God/Christ to manifest through me...instead of telling people what they should or should not do. It is so hard sometimes! Especially with my grown children. I have no right to tell them how to I just listen.

      That being said, forgiveness can be so extremely difficult, but I have learned I have to forgive, or I am miserable. When someone hurts me, I never hurt back. I don't believe in revenge.

      But I will say, those that hurt create karma for themselves, and God always takes care of that - not me. I see it all the time. I could tell some beaut stories about repercussions people who have hurt others have met with...but that would be gossip, and I am totally against that.

      God bless you real good, and thanks again for your sincere words. Sparklea (Have a great day)!

    • Romeos Quill profile image

      Romeos Quill 

      6 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

      Hi Sparklea! I hope you are well, and enjoying good health, new friend :)

      I enjoyed reading your thought-provoking, and informative Hub, as it never hurts to be reminded of these things of which you have written:-

      "I can forgive what you did, I can forgive what you said, but I will never forget the way you made me feel."

      That sentence there which you expressed is oh, so true. It's also difficult to forgive when the offender is insincere, or just isn't plain sorry, and the really frustrating one, which I'm sure hits us all at one time or another, is when the person in question doesn't even think they have done anything wrong lol! How frustrating is that?

      It seems that when one is left in that position, there is nought to do but forgive, and move on without that person, but it is a sad feeling when there is no more relationship.

      Another source of frustration I've noticed, is when Christians are expecting Christian values from non-Christians/pagans etc...that can be a real wind up, and so exasperating, and I've seen it leave so many bearing the hall marks of abject disappointment.

      Thank you for sharing your experiences, which I shall do likewise, the gift of your lovely, radiant smile, and sincere words, and I trust you shall enjoy a wonderful weekend.

      With Kindest, And Warm Regards,

      Romeo's Quill

    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Hi Faith! A great way to start my day seeing your smile on hub pages!

      Yes, forgiveness IS such a struggle!

      One author wrote (can't remember his name right now) "You can forgive - but you don't have to eat potato salad with them!"

      To forgive brings peace, but I have always struggled with the way people who have hurt me have made me feel inside. However, hurting back would be so much worse, as revenge is so very, very destructive.

      It is amazing how placing a person on God's altar for Him to handle takes the burden off oneself. I have many on the altar right now :)

      Christ reminds me ALL the time, "Hey, Sparklea, I DIED for ALL this! Let ME handle it!

      It's like saying to my husband, "I forgot to drop that letter in the mailbox when I was out," and my husband replying, "Don't worry, I WILL TAKE CARE OF IT" He picks up the letter on his way out, and he mails it for me.

      How wonderful is it to KNOW God just picks up the problem and takes care of it! Blessings, and Love, Sparklea :)

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      6 years ago from southern USA

      Dearest Sparklea,

      This is a phenomenal read here as to forgiveness, and timely for me to read here this night. What an interesting perspective as to knowing for sure you have forgiven someone. As you write here, yes, we can say the words, but He does truly know in our hearts, the truth.

      It is so very hurtful when it is someone very close to one such as family and close friends who has hurt you, as for me, I just trust that my own family or close friends would never intentionally do something to hurt me, but that is not reality, and no one is perfect. We are humans, so we will get hurt.

      Thank you for sharing that speaker's wisdom in knowing whether or not one has forgiven. That is a really a great way to know just by how comfortable one feels around the person(s).

      Yes, I, too, am comfortable in their presence and can be kind and friendly, but as I told someone close to me, although one forgives, that does not mean one will trust that person very soon again or ever.

      I just do as God tells us to do to our enemies, and that is to bless them, which is a very hard to do sometimes, but when we do, we are free from any chains that bind us and we our placing it all in His very capable hands.

      Voted up ++++ and sharing

      God bless you. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Upstate New York

      LadyFiddler:Thank you so much for taking time to read this hub which I feel carries an important topic that so many struggle with. Jesus Himself said in the Lord's Prayer, "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Jesus loves us so much and forgives us immediately. I do know from experience that I have so much more peace when I HAVE genuinely forgiven someone. Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • LadyFiddler profile image

      Joanna Chandler 

      6 years ago from On Planet Earth

      This is a very nice hub with an important message. I guess as humans we all have a problem with forgiving and most of all forgetting always seems the harder one to do.

      We forgive but that memory of the injustice always hangs on I guess we will never be different unless we have become like Christ born again of a new body an immortal being.

      Once we live is this body we will always have those struggles but can improve by working on it.

    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Nat Amaral: Thank you for visiting this hub. I think one of our biggest battles, at times, can be that of forgiveness. But that woman I mention in this hub helped me so much. I'm thinking also of a family member who hurt me terrible in 2011 ...I was shattered. Yet this person joins us at our home on holidays, and special occasions. I KNOW I have forgiven that individual because I am comfortable in that person's presence. However... although I still love the person, respect has been lost and I will never feel the same way about that person again.

      That being said, I believe no one can fail by being nice. I allow Christ in me to manifest His Light through me. I would rather be the one who has been hurt, that the one who hurt someone. Those who hurt others? They have to carry it, not me. Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • Nat Amaral profile image

      Nat Amaral 

      7 years ago from BC Canada

      Very beautiful and thought provoking. I'm glad I came across this.

      Something happened a few days ago which I'm coming to terms with. The event itself would be seen as petty if it hadn't involved two family members. I'm very worried about one of them. What I will say is that it was a real eye opener.

      Thank you again for writing this piece. Many blessings. Natalie

    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Happy Boomer Nurse, not sure if you received this comment, as I had not signed in when I answered it (above) much to learn on HubPages! Thank you for your comments...forgiving people is definitely a work in progress. I think it can be one of our biggest struggles! Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • Sparklea profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      THANK YOU Larry Wall! This is one of the nicest comments I have received, means so much you took the time!

      I totally understand, because someone VERY close to me was fired from his job in 1999, on his 20th anniversary with the company he was working for. He struggled terrible, especially with the person who terminated him.

      However, so MUCH can happen! The company he worked for took a turn for the worst, laid off SEVERAL people in the department he was working for...and he definitely would have been one of the casualties. Another company bought them out...the benefits are the meantime exactly six years to the day he was fired, he was offered a job at a good company in our area. So far, so good. He just received a promotion and a raise. Today he says, "It was meant for that to happen, God was taking care of me, even though it was awful when it happened."

      The person who fired him died of lung cancer last year, very sad.

      I truly believe in my heart God has you where He wants you at this moment in time. I have found everything happens for a reason.

      I focus on Romans 8:28, "All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose."

      I am a prayer warrior, and I will add you to my prayer list. I know God has wonderful things in store for you. I Thess. 5:24 confirms to me God is faithful to His word. He will never let you down. Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • profile image

      Larry Wall 

      7 years ago


      In the short time I know you, I have come to realize that you are a very spiritual woman with amazing faith. I am a Christian and have seen my share of miracles. Unfortunately, I have not gotten as far as I should at forgiving people. I am going to try harder. As a Catholic I go to confession. I mentioned to the priest that I still felt anger directed at my old boss for firing me in 2010. He said my anger was having no affect on my old boss so I just needed to cast it aside. By boss and I were never friends, we were co-workers. So it is unlikely we will cross paths again. If we do, I will be polite and ask about his family and the office. I will still have to work on forgiving him, but I will try. Thanks for reminding me that I have to put some effort into this endeavor.


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you so much for your note. I totally understand about harboring resentment, I think most of us struggle in that area. I so appreciate your comments, very encouraging. Thanks again! Sincerely, Sparklea

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      7 years ago from South Carolina

      Nice thought-provoking hub about forgiveness. When I was younger and making an effort to consciously forgive others there were many times I thought I had forgiven them but would later realize I was still harboring resentment. That has rarely happened in the past decade so I believe that I've made progress in this area. But there are still occasions when I realize I still have work to do in this area.

      Voted up, useful and interesting.


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