Forgiving Hurts; Not Forgiving Hurts More

by | May 20, 2019 | Forgiveness | 14 comments

I feel sooooooo free…Part of me wants to jump up and down. Another part stands in awe that nothing ties me down any more. The wounds still hurt, but they don’t own me anymore. I never thought so much pain on Thursday could lead to so much joy and peace! I’m glad I didn’t give up.”

The above email expresses the freedom forgiveness offers. It also shows the process may be painful.

To forgive means: to—

  • send away,
  • give up,
  • let go,

Using the word FREEDOM to guide us through the process of forgiving, we’ve looked at  why we forgive and the need to be real. Today we look at our first E: Emotional.

Getting real about our losses pushes us smack dab up against our pain. If something hurt when it happened, it often hurts to let it go. That’s why forgiving may get Emotional.

If something hurt when it happened, it often hurts to let it go. #healing Share on X

I’ve sat with countless women, like the one who sent the above email, as they forgave people who’d wronged them. Some hurts were scratches and easy to give up. Others were deep wounds

Expel the Hurt

Letting go of some hurts is like removing a barbed arrow. It feels like you are causing more harm. But if you don’t remove it, infection will set in and poison you and possibly harm others.

Some fear they can’t face the swirling pain of anger, grief, rejection, and betrayal. It will bury me, and I will never recover.

I’ve found the opposite to be true. Women who expressed gut-wrenching emotions through deep sobs returned the following week in liberated peace. They told me they slept and felt better than they had in years.

Jesus Feels Your Pain

Don’t avoid forgiving because you fear the pain. Jesus knows your agony.


  • was overwhelmed with sorrow tothe point of death, sweating drops of blood as He prepared to pay the price for our sins in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-44).
  • prayed with loud cries and tears (Hebrews 5:7).
  • pressed through for the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2).

Ignoring pain doesn’t remove it. We exhaust ourselves trying to hold lids on our boiling emotions aware that any bump could spill their scalding contents. Or, suppressing them limits our capacity to feel pleasant emotions like joy.

How much better to invite the Lord into our pain and let Him empty our boiling pots. Allow your emotions to surface before God, and perhaps a trusted friend. Forgiving, like vomiting, can be messy, but oh the relief expelling the toxins brings!

The loss is real. The process may be painful, but relief and freedom follow.

A woman, I’ll call Jana, forgave the person who broke up her parents’ marriage. A year later, Jana saw ‘the enemy’ at a family function.

“Forgiveness is supernatural,” she said. “God used it to heal my emotions. Instead of feeling angry, I felt sorry for her.”

The process of forgiveness may stir our emotions before it heals them. Press on. Freedom awaits.

Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness” (Is. 35:10 NLT).

Share your thoughts here.



The Forgiveness Brings Freedom Series continues with Have You Counted the Cost of Not Forgiving?

Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

Sometimes I link with these great sites:

Tea &Word Tuesday, #Kelly Balarie & Friends#Recharge Wednesday, #TuneinThursaday, #HeartEncouragment #Dance with Jesus, #FreshMarketFriday, #Grace&Truth, #Faith ‘n Friends

More From This Category

How to Forgive Yourself

How to Forgive Yourself

Do you have trouble forgiving yourself? My husband Larry talks about how to forgive yourself and shows why it is important. Here's Larry. We’ve heard, forgiveness is divine. Forgiveness removes the burden of guilt and relieves the hurt from being wronged. Yet, I find...

read more
How You Can Overcome Hate

How You Can Overcome Hate

"Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. Saturday afternoon my husband and I strolled down Fayetteville Street in Raleigh from the State Capitol Building to Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. We stopped to get fresh juice on a side street...

read more
How Do I Love My Enemy?

How Do I Love My Enemy?

How do two porcupines hug? Very Carefully.  How do we love our enemies? With divine guidance and power. Jesus told His disciples to love their enemies. What did He mean? What does it look like to love your adversary?  We associate love with feelings. I love chocolate...

read more



  1. Ann Musico

    It isn’t easy but I look at it as a form of spiritual detoxification. Any detox isn’t easy, especially at the beginning, but once you get through it you feel so light and free.

    • Debbie Wilson

      That is a perfect analogy, Ann. Thanks so much.

  2. Melissa Henderson

    This is a very timely message. When I read your words, “Jesus Feels Your Pain”, I paused and remembered He knows my struggles with forgiving certain people. I feel so awful about having trouble forgiving these people. Yet, Jesus feels my pain. He knows my struggles and He is softening my heart.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Yes He does Melissa! Isn’t that a wonderful comfort and source of hope?

  3. J.D. Wininger

    Great post Ms. Debbie. What a wonderful reminder that as we forgive, we release the pain that accompanies the wrong. I loved how you showed it’s safe to bring our pain and inability to God. I believe He wants us to, but so many of us are ashamed to go to Him in a broken state. We forget He is our Creator, He can fix us better than before. God’s blessings ma’am.

    • Debbie Wilson

      J. D., we do forget He is willing and able to restore us. I liike how you said, “better than before.”

  4. Connie

    Much wisdom and encouragement here.
    Your post is very timely for me. Thank you.
    My own post this week is somewhat related.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks, Connie. I want to check it out.

  5. Bethany

    So very true. This is wise, Debbie. I’m so grateful God isn’t scared by our emotions and knows how to use them in the process of forgiving.

    • Debbie Wilson

      And to see the emotions Jesus expressed helps too. Thanks, Bethany. Appreciate you.

  6. Karen

    I have worked very hard at at forgiving 1 person. I know now that God understands this and everything about me. Thank you.

    • Debbie Wilson

      He certainly does, Karen. And we’ll be talking more about that as we go along. I hope you’ll follow the series. Blessings to you.

  7. Wanda Price

    This is such a timely series for me personally. I spend years owning up to the fact that I needed to forgive those who knew of the physical and verbal abuse I endured….and did nothing.

    Unforgiveness can become a
    Generational Curse, if not addressed honestly.

    Thank you

    • Debbie Wilson

      Wanda, you’re not alone in feeling resentment toward those who were supposedly emotionally healthy but didn’t intervene and stop an abuser. Deep injuries can be layered and complicated. I’m thankful you are finding your way to freedom and breaking the generational curse. May you be filled with joy and healing.

Refreshing Faith Blog

Pin It on Pinterest