I Shudder To Think About Forgiving: Misconceptions

Okay, so God wants you to forgive. You probably want to, as well. What’s holding you back?

Just like most things, the problem is in our minds. They are full of misconceptions that we’ve been taught and those misconceptions often make us beat ourselves up.

Let’s dissect some of these misconceptions.

  • Forgive and forget

“If the memory won’t go away, I haven’t forgiven. I haven’t tried hard enough. God must be so angry with me.”

This is such a devious lie. We are doomed to live with continued pain when we find we really can’t forget. And we beat ourselves up when we believe that not forgetting equals not forgiving. The whole problem is that it happened and we know it did. If we have any strength of our convictions, we refuse to lie to ourselves. And what if we did manage to forget completely? We would never be able to use the experience to help others because we’ve forgotten how we were healed from its pain!


  • Deny the wrong that happened or at least deny its effect on you.

“The perpetrator was deeply wounded himself. He didn’t really mean to hurt me. It wasn’t so bad. I survived.”

Denial causes more pain, not less. It says you are wrong to believe the incident was evil. It says your feelings are false.

Okay, say the person was acting out the pattern he learned while he was growing up. Knowing this can’t make us feel better. There are too many people who were just as traumatized and they aren’t abusers.

Making excuses doesn’t heal our pain because it isn’t the same as forgiving.

            electrical storm                Just like “forgive and forget”, it makes us lie to ourselves.


  • Just let him off the hook. You can’t do anything about it, anyway.

“Oh, well, I must be too sensitive. Any normal person would just let it go, especially after all this time.”

This lie also makes you deny your true feelings. It dishonors your integrity. What would you do or say if your best friend told you something just like this had happened to her? Would you tell her she was being too sensitive? Don’t do the same thing to yourself.


  • You have an established relationship so you have to put up with it.

“I have to submit to my husband in order to honor him in the Biblical manner. I just have to work harder to forgive him. It doesn’t matter what he does to me.”having a violent argument

Forgiveness does not demand you subject yourself to continued abuse. Your safety is important. You are a child of the Most High God, part of the royal priesthood and the righteousness of God in Christ. You do not deserve ill treatment. You certainly don’t deserve to be assaulted. You deserve honor.


part 2 of a 5 part series on forgiveness

Next time: Why should I forgive?



Illustrations courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Part 1| Reduce Rage, Promote Peace: You Can Forgive

Part 2| I Shudder to Think About Forgiving

Part 3| God Needs My Permission to do His Job?

Part 4| Forgiveness Nuts and Bolts

Part 5| Forgive Myself? It’s Not that Simple!