One of the greatest challenges in loving others is to forgive them when they have wronged us and caused us pain. Every time we are wronged, we have to choose how we are going to deal with the hurt. Ultimately, we have to decide if we will forgive the person or persons who have wronged us, or if we will hold on to the hurt. If we hold on to the hurt, it will keep us from loving them. It will keep us angry and upset. We will not be open the release the hurt. Instead, it will continue to fester and grow. Unresolved hurts that are not forgiven continue to cause pain. We don't want the one who wronged us to get away with it. We want them to be punished and our anger toward them is oftentimes the only way we know how to make what is wrong seem right or fair. The problem is, it rarely makes things better. It only deepens our hurt and frustration and eventually turns to bitterness.

Forgiveness sets us free to love again. When we decide to forgive, we let go of the attitude that "You owe me." Our anger fades. Bitterness doesn't have the opportunity to take root. We do not use what happened against anyone. Resentment gives way to acceptance of another's flaws. We no longer feel a need to retaliate.

When we forgive, we do not always have to understand why we were wronged. Nor do we have to wait for an apology in order to forgive. Forgiveness does not justify or make the other person right. What it does is make us free. Forgiveness frees us to say, "I will not use this against you or keep a record of how you have wronged me. I will release you of any punishment I think is due. I will no longer hold on to anger and resentment toward you. I will release it from my heart. I will make allowances for your flaws and give you grace. I will forgive you unconditionally."

Forgiveness is one of the most powerful demonstrations of genuine love. It has the power to mend broken hearts and set captives free. It has the power to bring healing and restoration to relationships. It is the ultimate expression of grace. It is something we grant others even when they do not deserve it, knowing that we ourselves have been recipients of forgiveness countless times. As long as we are imperfect, we will be in need of forgiveness.


Why is forgiveness important to our life and relationships?

What do I do with the hurt when someone wrongs me? Do I retaliate? Nurse the hurt? Release it? Work through it?

How often do I bring up past issues that were never resolved?

What makes forgiving someone who wronged me most difficult?

Did I ever want to be forgiven for something I said or did, and I wasn't forgiven? How did it affect me?

Do I expect others to forgive me when I hurt them? Why or why not?


Unforgiveness keeps us imprisoned in pain and hurt.

I can give up resentment and be free.

I choose to release the hurt I have been holding on to.

I choose to forgive myself for making poor choices and hurting others.

I choose to accept myself and others, knowing that we all have flaws, make poor decisions sometimes and hurt one another.

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. ~Lewis B. Smedes

Forgiveness is the sweetest revenge. ~Isaac Friedmann

Forgive all who have offended you, not for them, but for yourself. ~Harriet Nelson

Forgiving is love's toughest work, and love's biggest risk. If you twist it into something it was never meant to be, it can make you a doormat or an insufferable manipulator. Forgiving seems almost unnatural. Our sense of fairness tells us people should pay for the wrong they do. But forgiving is love's power to break nature's rule. ~Lewis B. Smedes

Love cures. It cures those who have it and it cures those who receive it. ~Karl Menninger

Taken from The 10 Keys to Happy & Loving Relationships Part 9 (Love is Not Easily Angered) by Krystal Kuehn,

Copyright © 2006, 2010 Krystal Kuehn. All Rights Reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher & musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling, a family couples counseling, children counseling and teen counseling center,, an award-winning, self-help and inspirational site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights & words of inspiration to change your life, and where you can find beautiful baby poems, baby quotes, cute sayings & baby videos that will touch your heart & increase your joy & gratitude for the children you love & enjoy!