ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Yet Another Article On Forgiveness

Updated on August 4, 2020
Carola Finch profile image

Carola is a Christian writer and author of several books. She writes about Christian living, relationships, and other topics.


Here is a fresh look at some of the issues surrounding Christians forgiving other people.

As a Christian woman, I sometimes feel flogged with articles, Bible verses, and sermons about forgiveness. I know that I should forgive the people that hurt me. It’s right there in the Lord’s Prayer and throughout the Bible – I have to forgive others if I expect God to forgive me (Matthew 6:15, Luke 6:37, Colossians 3:13). Yet the human part of me cries out against it.

So many people have abandoned, exploited, bullied, and rejected me. My hurt and anger against them sometimes rose up despite my attempts to overcome them through forgiveness. My human nature doesn’t want to extend mercy. I wanted to wallow in fury and pain and take revenge. This is a toxic state that hurts me more than anyone else. As Joyce Meyers says, it’s like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

God says that He wants us to be in good health and prosper (3 John 2). He tells Christians to love their fellow man and think about good things. Resentment and revenge plots certainly don’t fit in that category. So how do we Christians move into forgiveness? What is this process, and how do we do it?

My great-grandmother's teapot
My great-grandmother's teapot

The Story of the Teapot

I heard a story a while ago that I think illustrates the concept of forgiveness quite well. It is the story of a valuable teapot that was smashed to smithereens by a woman named Nettie. Nettie might have accidentally let it slip from her hands. Maybe she deliberately threw it against a wall in a fit of temper. She may have broken it to upset the owner in revenge for some slight. For whatever reason, there is the teapot broken beyond repair. Yet the owner forgave Nettie for causing the loss of a cherished heirloom.

I think about a special teapot that I proudly display in my glassed-in wall unit in my dining room. When I was a child, my mother told me the story of how it was passed on to her from her great-grandmother. She carefully brought it over to Canada from Europe in the 1950s and treasured it. It was never used. Then I think about someone smashing it. Could I forgive the perpetrator after the urge to strangle him or her passed?

Forgiveness is a process that starts with accepting loss. If someone broke my precious, irreplaceable heirloom. I would have to accept the loss of my teapot and all that it entailed, such as losing a reminder of my childhood and a part of my heritage. The teapot is gone and can never be restored.

According to the book Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds, author Chris Brauns says that counselors and pastors disagree about what forgiveness means. Christians need to turn to the Bible for guidelines on this subject.

Steps to Forgiving Others

Accepting the consequences of offenses

When people sin against us, there are devastating consequences. We suffer loss, whether it be a broken object that is gone forever, lost innocence, broken trust, betrayal, or physical pain. We also suffer terrible emotional pain.

We naturally respond to hurts with a barrage of negative emotions such as anger, fear, and anxiety. Before we can move on to forgiveness, however, we need to acknowledge that we have lost something we value.

Look to Christ as an example

Forgiveness is a skill that we learn from God. It does not come to us naturally. Christ is our example. Even when he was dying, he asked that God forgive the people who were involved in his torture and crucifixion (Luke 23;34).

We cannot forgive others on our own strength. We need to pray to God for His support and lean on Him instead of our own understanding.


Why We Do Not Want to Forgive

We want to deny that we have been hurt

There are many reasons why we don’t let go and forgive. One reason is that we want to stuff our hurt deep down and deny our pain. We avoid facing the issue of forgiveness by running from it.

The problem is that inside, we are an uncontrollable, seething volcano of negative emotions such as anger and hurt that spews lava everywhere, burning everything in sight. This state not only hurts us - it impacts the people around us. We may become bitter over time.

We think unforgiveness does not hold offenders accountable

Another reason we don’t forgive is that we feel that pardoning an offender is getting off scot-free. We think that seething in anger is somehow hurting them instead of us. Whatever happens, we are the ones being damaged by our toxic emotions.

Unforgiveness gives us an emotional payoff

We may choose not to forgive because our unforgiveness gives us an emotional payoff and a feeling that justice has been served. Instead, our anger robs us of energy and time that God wants us to focus on having a fruitful, positive life. When we let go of our negative emotions through forgiveness, we can replace them with a positive state that lead to emotional healing.

Do we Need an Apology Before Pardoning Someone?

Some people think that they need to have an apology before they can forgive, but the problem is that offenders often do not acknowledge they hurt us. Some people know they have hurt us or know and do not care. Others take perverse pleasure in being cruel to us. Others are clueless as to how their words or actions affect others.

It doesn’t make sense for us to stew over our hurts. Many perpetrators are out there enjoying their lives without a thought about the havoc they have wrecked on our lives. Shouldn't we be free and happy, too? When we allow our wounds to continue to fester, we are giving the offenders an open door to hurt us again and again.


Forgive And Forget?

Do we forgive and forget? We forget in the sense that we are not constantly thinking about and dwelling on the violation against us. We would not be wise, however, to forget the offense entirely. If, for example, a friend betrays a trust by blabbing our secrets, we would be foolish to trust them with private information in the future.

We are wise if we are wary and careful around offenders in the future. We may choose to allow some people to rebuild our trust in them over time. Other people may never be trustworthy.

Vengeance Belongs to God

If the people who hurt us are in our lives, we are tempted to torture them with anger and bitter words. If we were physically attacked, we instinctively want to fight back. We want to allow pain to fester and plot our revenge, but God claims vengeance for Himself (Romans 12:17-19). As believers, we have to trust that God sees how people have offended us and will avenge us (Psalm 37).

Who Are We Really Punishing Offenders When We do not Forgive?

When we feel angry towards our offenders, we may have a false sense that we are punishing them. In truth, we are hurting ourselves the most and, at times, other innocent people.

Personally, I have decided that my time is so valuable that I am not going to give my offender one more minute of my life by fretting over their sins against me. I want my time to be spent leading the good life God has planned for me with joy and peace of mind.

The Difference Between Forgiveness and Accountability

Some people don’t understand the difference between forgiveness and accountability. For example, a woman can forgive a man who raped her. She can resolve to let go of the humiliation, the violation, fear, and outrage she suffers because of the attack.

However, the rapist is still accountable for his actions because he broke the laws of God and man. He should go to prison not only to pay for his crime but also to protect other women from him.

I heard a pastor speak on forgiveness recently. He spoke about a woman who endured years of verbal abuse from a man and kept pardoning him as an example of forgiveness. I found this example disturbing because the abuser was not held accountable and did not seem to suffer consequences for his behavior. No one has the right to verbally, physically, or sexually abuse another human being.

Forgiveness does not mean we condone sin. By tolerating bad behavior, we are telling the perpetrators that it is OK to abuse and hurt us. God says that we are temples and His children (1 Corinthians 3:16). Temples are holy places that are undefiled by sin. Jesus commanded that we are to love other people as we love ourselves. Abusive treatment is sin.

Sometimes we must take action to stop the abusive behavior such as confrontation. Confrontation doesn't always work, however, and should not be attempted if it puts us in danger.

If women are verbally abused by our husbands, for example, it is time for them to seek help and leave the marriage. Some of us may need to sever our contact with former friends who have become toxic in some way. We may need to keep others at arm's length.

Concluding Thoughts

In the book Forgiveness: Finding Peace Through Letting Go, bestselling author Adam Hamilton says that forgiveness is essential in surviving marital problems, helping families staying together, and achieving lasting relationships.

Ultimately, forgiveness is for us. Forgiveness is a release from our prison of hurt and pain. We are free to enjoy life, assured that God will heal our hurts and avenge wrongdoings.

© 2013 Carola Finch


Submit a Comment
  • no body profile image

    Robert E Smith 

    6 years ago from Rochester, New York

    Forgiveness is the act of deciding to love a person as Jesus said to love and leave the vengeance to God. I had a person that became my enemy during my work days. I became her enemy when as soon as she learned that I was a Christian. This atheist lady thought it her duty to attempt to destroy all Christians. She set me up in situations in which she thought would get me fired. She made up stories. She left rooms that I would enter. She made up false allegations against me. One day my supervisor asked me why I let her walk all over me and not fight back. Why did I help her with her job load and why did I not try to put her in a bad light? My answer was simple and quick to come to me, "If I don't love her, who will?" It was plain to me that she was energized by the enemy of Jesus. Yes, I hurt and at times would come to tears because of pain caused by this woman but I put that down at Jesus' feet and refused to think about it. I would remember David and Saul. I would not put my energy into retaliating against someone that God put in my circle. After some years of working with her she left my work location. I wonder now if the love I tried to show her made a difference in that long run, the big picture. I wonder, did she ever come closer to God. I pray for that woman often and wonder about her. God gave me a burden for that person that has not left to this day because of the pain she inflicted. Forgiveness is such an all inclusive word. Do I get angry if I dwell on those hard years? Yes if I let my flesh dwell on it. But I refuse to do that. My biggest wish is that my pain was not for nothing, that she would come to know why I was the way I was and become my sister in Christ.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    When we live so as to be co-heirs with Christ, in part by learning to forgive others, our gain is going to be so great that what was forgiven is not at all memorable. The sooner we forgive and forget, the shorter the time the poisons of anger, hate, hostility, etc. remain in our system to distract us from what we can become in striving to "be even as I am." Good doctrine here in your Hub. Thanks

  • Carola Finch profile imageAUTHOR

    Carola Finch 

    7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Thanks for your comments, MsDora.

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Weithers 

    7 years ago from The Caribbean

    Concerning the teapot, we can ask ourselves. "What does losing the teapot do to me?" At the end of the day, I'm still all that I was before the teapot broke. Now physical and emotional abuse hurt much more than losing a teapot, but if we trust God with our lives, we will still be worth full price of the value He placed on us. Let us not act as if the offender took our souls. You give very good counsel here.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)