In my post Coming Out of the Shadows  I shared my healing journey from sexual abuse. Since then I have had mixed emotions about it all. God has healed my heart but the scars are still there.  Forgiveness isn’t a one and done. I have had to forgive every step of the way in my healing. When I held onto that hurt my healing would become stagnant.  After sharing my soul in that post I felt so free but also emotionally drained the bitterness and anger began to creep into my heart and my old way of shutting down and self preservation mode was just on the surface. I used to think if this person would apologize and his life was reflective of change I would suddenly be okay.  I was so wrong he did apologize (his life was and still is a mess) and I was filled with hatred towards him; I had to really seek God to help me so that I could truly heal and forgive this awful offense. That was many years ago; and I no longer hate him, I have forgiven him and my heart is free (this took many years). I was the queen of petty I would just cut you off if you hurt me, you were dead to me! Thankfully I have grown!

Over the past few months I have encountered so many hurting people. Marriage wounds of betrayal, parent wounds of wayward children, sibling hurts from childhood that are still lingering that was never addressed, relationships so fragile teetering on a huge explosion. Church hurts from spiritual abuse, legalism and manipulation.  I have struggled over the years; what does it mean to truly forgive, if I forgive am I letting this person off the hook? Have you ever rationalized holding on to bitterness and hurt because the person hasn’t responded the way we would like them to. Raises hand. I have! To forgive means to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, a flaw or mistake; to cancel a debt. I know I often fall short exercising forgiveness or even seeking it when I have wronged someone. Then I remember that God has forgiven me of so much and He doesn’t hold it against me. He canceled my debt! I try to give my family the benefit of the doubt when my feelings are hurt or if I am slighted and feel unappreciated at times. I have to constantly remind myself that the relationship is more important than “winning” the argument. Which means I have to give up the right to be right! OUCH!  That is so hard for me! I now realize that forgiveness is necessary for my growth and healing; I also know that some relationships can’t be restored when the relationship is toxic and unhealthy. Forgiveness doesn’t always mean restoration.

Is there a relationship in your life that needs to be restored? Are you holding on to bitterness? I know I still have some work to do in this area God is stretching me!


  1. June 28, 2017 / 10:48 am

    Thanks for sharing, Karen! For some strange reason, I am still holding out for those apologies for being wronged, even though I know they will never come. I used to feel some sort of satisfaction knowing their lives were miserably broken, but then even that became ‘not enough.’ I say I’ve forgiven, but if ever I hear their names, there’s an immediate eye roll, followed by a lip twist, and a shoulder shrug of indifference that’s really a mask for the unforgiveness still lingering. These are definitely not relationships I want restored, but I would like to forgive and really mean it, really feel that release, and be able to smile knowing that the past is in the past, and God has given beauty for ashes.

    • Karen's Essentials
      June 29, 2017 / 6:35 am

      Tracey WOW! Your story resonates with me its so very hard to forgive on our own well it’s impossible. I have done the eye roll and the stank face too just from the mention of his name! WHEW! The struggle is real! Amen! God can indeed turn ashes to beauty! I would never say I am glad that God allowed me to endure such hurt and pain! But I am glad that he has given me the courage to share so that others who are hurting will know that God can heal even their deepest wounds!

  2. Joyce Riley
    June 28, 2017 / 12:25 pm

    I was holding on to unforgiveness when I went through my divorce, I didnt want to let go of him walking out on me. I wanted him to suffer the way I suffered, I couldn’t stand him, didn’t want to be in the same room with him. I wanted everything he did in life to fail. Then one day I heard a sermon by Dr. Charles Stanley on forgiveness. It changed my whole way of thinking towards my ex. I started praying for him, once I started praying for him I started seeing him differently. It took some time for me to get to where I am but I got here. My daughter had to remind me that God loves her dad just as much as he loves me and that I didn’t have the right to think that I should say how her dad should be punished. I was like she’s right because God ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts.
    So now we have a cordial relationship, we can now be in the same room and I not give him the side eye. I was angry that he never apologized for leaving but after I was constantly praying for him he came to me and said how much he was sorry for what he did. Even if he had not apologized God had confirmed that it’s okay I got you and him. Now, I try not to hold on to unforgiveness because I just don’t feel right, the Lord is tugging at me and my heart is heavy so I just have to let it go and forgive.
    Right now restoration needs to be done between my sister and me, I’ve apologized but I’m not sure if she’s ready to accept it, but I do know the longer you hold out on accepting someone apology the more time the devil have to whisper in your ear and then resentment will build in, then you start to think you’re right for not forgiving that person. Praying that eventually God will restore the relationship. Thanks for this blog! Such a blessing and very encouraging. As always I love you and thankful to God that you are my niece!

    • Karen's Essentials
      June 29, 2017 / 6:27 am

      Wow! Thanks for your transparency! It is so hard to forgive when the hurt is deep you just want to make that person pay! I am so glad that you are on the other side of that as it relates to your ex. I am heartbroken over the rift with your sister. Give her time but keep pursuing the relationship keep seeking God and His direction! I am praying that your relationship is restored! I am so honored that God is allowing me to share my heart! A few years ago heck a few months ago I would have never shared any of my heart in such a public manner. Thanks for all your support! Love you too!

  3. Danita
    June 28, 2017 / 9:03 pm

    When the offense is consistently perpetuated in the present and well communicated boundaries are crossed genuine forgiveness is increasingly more challenging. I have come to the point where I now find myself praying more for me than the offender. I ask God to change me in the unchanging situation. I know He is still able to do ALL things but fail so because I value this relationship I still hope for heartfelt change in the other party but in the meantime change me as I NEED Devine help to extend grace and respect the position when I’m struggling with the person. Just like you I have been forgiven more times than I can even begin to count so how dare I not extend that same grace to others! I love you Karen and I thank God for the bold and beautifully vulnerable way He has given you to share your heart

    • Karen's Essentials
      June 29, 2017 / 6:21 am

      Thank you for your encouragement! Thank you for sharing your heart in such a transparent way! Be encouraged keep those boundaries in place to protect your heart (and sanity)! I pray for your healing and for the offenders healing as well.Keep seeking Him He will direct you and maybe your boundaries have to be tightened since they keep crossing the line! I know its hard when the offender is someone you love so dearly! God hears your cry! Love you to life!

  4. LaShawn Toomer Hill
    June 29, 2017 / 8:56 am

    Just wow! The growth, the love, the struggle, the joy, the pain, all works together for His good.

    • Karen's Essentials
      June 29, 2017 / 9:13 am

      Yes indeed! Ashes to Beauty!

  5. Sharon Hammond
    June 29, 2017 / 6:38 pm

    Hi Karen! How can you forgive a person that commits the same sins against you, over and over and over? I don’t mean something done in the past, but in the present and on a daily basis. That’s a rhetorical question; it’s impossible to answer. I want to know if God really sees what’s going on. I know that he’s the only one that can fix this very broken and damaged relationship. I hope one day that I can be free of the anger I harbor. I’m just not there yet, but I am very happy for you.

    • Karen's Essentials
      June 30, 2017 / 8:51 am

      Hi Sharon! I am so sorry you are hurting by the acts of another who continually hurt you over and over. In my opinion there are relationships even deemed important such as a sibling, spouse, parent or child that maybe toxic and need strong boundaries to protect yourself. I have been there and still working through some of that I didn’t realize how much their actions or inaction has affected me until writing this post. I find that God is trying to teach me something about me and that He wants me to be totally dependent on Him in the midst of my pain and anguish. God certainly sees what’s going on just keep leaning into Him and He will direct you, lead you how to handle this situation. I know about that anger after being hurt over and over. WHEW it ain’t easy but I do know I can’t do it in my own strength or power its impossible. Thanks for joining in the discussion please subscribe so you get emails each time I post. xoxo

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