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I Can’t Forgive Her

I Can't Forgive Her #forgiveness #faith

He forgave me.

God forgave me.

At times the knowledge of this is completely overwhelming.

He… the almighty… the most powerful… the most amazing and glorious God, has forgiven ME.

I know that as a Christian, I am also called to forgive.

Sometimes this comes easy. I can forgive someone the instant they ask for forgiveness or when I feel the urge to forgive them in prayer. However, there are other times that forgiveness doesn’t come as easy. I seek, I search, I pray. I know that I have to find forgiveness but I just can’t seem to dig it out of me. I beg God to relieve the strain of that unforgiveness, to soften my heart, to help me see that person the way He sees them… beloved.

It is in those moments, of breaking and crying out in desperation, that I am finally able to forgive.

However, there is someone who I have been trying to forgive for a very long time. She hurt me deeply. She was self-centered, inconsiderate, and for lack of a better word… just plain stupid. Her recklessness has hurt others and I find it very hard to forgive her.

But God has called me to forgive. Am I not dishonouring Him and His precious gift of forgiveness if I, myself, can’t forgive?

I pray the same prayer every day. I want to tear down these walls that I know are obstacles to my faith and my relationship with God. I beg and I plead and I ask Him to help me forgive.

I hear a whisper in my spirit and I start to cry.

“Why can’t you forgive her… especially when you know she’s already forgiven by me?”

I am grieved at this revelation.

This person I am angry with, the person who I can’t forgive… is me.

I am forgiven.

I am forgiven so I need to stop condemning myself for the mistakes I’ve made.

He has forgiven me but it is time to forgive myself.

I need to leave the past behind and truly take a step out into my future… a future without fault or blame.

She is me and I am forgiven.

This is something that I’ve struggled with for a long time. I am sharing this with you because I want YOU to have the same freedom I had when I realized that self-condemnation is not the way God wants us to live!

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. - Romans 8:1 #faith #scripture


Jennifer Bly
Jennifer Bly
Author of My Kitchen, My Classroom: An Introduction to Homeschool, creator of The Deliberate Mom, Deliberate Homeschooling and regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Jennifer writes about parenting, her faith, and life with her husband and two girls. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Applied Human Service Administration Degree with a specialization in Early Learning in Child Care.

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68 thoughts on “I Can’t Forgive Her

  • Amanda - Growing Up Madison

    Oh Jennifer I’m sure by now that you know it is so much easier to forgive others than to forgive ourselves. We are so much harder on ourselves than we are with others. It takes time and sometimes lots of it. I’ve been really hard on myself a few times but each time it’s gotten easier and easier to forgive myself. You’re a beautiful person inside and out and everything will be alright in the end. ((huggss))

  • Janine Huldie

    I totally get this and seriously I can always forgive others around me so much easier then myself. I tend to be my worst critic and have award time letting this go when I do them. So, I get this in spades, especially recently when I messed up the dates for Emma’s kindergarten orientation. Even though all turned out well in the end, I still have issues deep down and reading this made me realize it. Time to let it go for good and start fresh. thanks so much for sharing this today.

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

      I remember that post about Emma’s orientation. It turned out good though… and maybe that’s exactly what Emma needed. You never know!

      I’m glad this had an impact on you. We really need to forgive ourselves. The torment we experience otherwise just isn’t worth it.

      Wishing you a lovely day.

  • Ana Lynn

    I struggled with this for the longest time after my divorce, still feeling the influence of an abusive relationship and blaming myself for everything that went wrong. It took me a good long while to realize not all of it was my fault and to forgive myself for the things that were. Forgiving someone else though… not really difficult. Usually I am not the one to hold grudges.

  • Leilani

    In church we recently had a women’s meeting, and one of the speakers spoke of God’s love for his children. He spoke of how God loves us all NOW. Not as we want to be, or as we will be someday, or as we used to be. . . he loves us NOW. And I think that when we have a hard time forgiving ourselves we need to remember that. God will forgive us if we ask to be forgiven, because he loves us. So it’s okay to forgive ourselves. Even though it can be hard. Very touching words, Jennifer! You are amazing because you know you’re not perfect, yet you’re moving forward and trying to be better each day. You’ve been forgiven ten times over I bet :)

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

      Thanks for sharing what you recently learned in church. I love it when we heard those spiritual confirmations/sacred echos like that.

      It is hard to forgive oneself. I have to hand it over to God… daily. It’s one of my greatest spiritual battles.

      Thank you for the kind and encouraging words too. You’re such a gem Leilani.

  • Ceil

    Hi Jennifer! What a great point you bring out here. We talk a lot about forgiving others as we would forgive ourselves…but do we really forgive ourselves?

    The person I am hardest on is myself, and I see that you suffer from the same disease. Erg. But knowing that God forgives me really helps to start peeling my fingers away from all the guilt and sadness. I still struggle with self forgiveness, but I think I’m not alone there. God will gently keep leading me; I just pray I keep following.

    Wonderful post, and a great message. Loved it!

  • Susan Evans

    Forgiveness can be really hard when the person who hurt us is not sorry. But when we release that person to God and ask God to enable us to forgive anyway, God does a supernatural work through us and we don’t become bitter.

  • Cindy Hasko

    Yeah, it’s hard to forgive a lot of the times when it comes to others and with ourselves. I am hard on myself too with so many things. There are a few things that I beat myself up for too, but like you said, by the grace and mercy from God, we are forgiven. His Word says so, otherwise, He would be a liar. Thank God for the unconditional love and mercy Jesus has on us. He covered us with His blood. He is the very best friend we will ever have. We all have to move forward with Him and pray that He removes our attachment to our past sins. They will only hold us back from all the things He wants us to do for Him and all that He created us to be. I am so happy you have a heart for Jesus. He is your ROCK….and You Rock!

  • Misty

    It is SO easy to hold onto past hurts and offenses. Sometimes, I think we are our own worst critics :/ prayers to you! That you can let go of those feelings and experience freedom!

  • Tiffany (A Touch of Grace)

    This is me right now Jennifer. I cannot forgive myself for things I’ve done and people I’ve hurt. I’ve asked God to forgive me, and even though I know he does, I just can’t forgive myself. I’m so glad you’re able to finally forgive yourself and I hope I’ll be able to join you soon. :)


    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

      We are so much alike Tiffany. I can forgive myself but it’s something I’m going to have to take up daily to God. I can be doing well for weeks and then all of a sudden -BAM – I’m back into the rut of self-condemnation. Praying that you can overcome as well.

      Wishing you a lovely day.

  • Jen@JENerallyInformed

    Great post Jennifer. There was a woman I was very close with who betrayed me terribly and her actions actually caused physical harm to someone I care deeply for. I could not forgive her, I hated her and I have never hated anyone before, never even experienced that certain emotion before this incident. I stayed quiet holding in my pain as she continued to throw me under the bus to many, many people in order to cover her own sins. I could not forgive her for years and had to turn all of the hurt, pain and grief over to God. When I did he healed my heart. I still do not associate with this woman and God doesn’t require me to do that at this time, but forgiving her and removing the hardness from my heart was such a wonderful experience.

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

      I’ve had some really deep hurts that take some time to forgive but this inability to forgive myself has been paralyzing. I know I’ll have to hand this over daily to the Lord. I am horrible with self-condemnation and it will only hurt my walk with the Lord if I continue to do it.

      Thanks for sharing your experience with forgiveness Jen.

  • Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    Thank you so much for bearing you heart and being so honest with us. This is where true growth happens; for you and for others. I’m not sure why it is, but you are right – forgiving ourselves is the most difficult thing to do. When I have a difficult time forgiving myself, I remember this truth – God wants us to live in the freedom of forgiveness, but the enemy wants us to cling to our guilt. Seeing it from that perspective makes me realize the importance of letting go. If we hold onto our guilt, we are ineffective for Christ, which is exactly what the enemy wants. This isn’t just a practical living issue, it is a spiritual one. The verses that help me the most are Romans 8:1 and and 1 John 4:4. I am so thankful that you realize the importance of forgiving ourselves as Christ has forgiven us and that you are encouraging others in that. I wrote a post called How To Not Let The Past Dictate The Future about this idea. Forgive me for writing a book here! Thanks, again, for your encouragement.

  • Soozle

    Amen to that.. I also have struggled greatly with forgiving someone who went out of their way to be as malicious as possible to me; I know in my heart that I should ‘let go’ of that anger, but its not easy… Best of luck to you with finding the strength to let go!

  • Robin Kramer Writes

    This post stopped me cold. I can relate. It’s terribly easy to fall into that rut of playing over our past mistakes and sins. I’ve always taken comfort with Psalm 103:12, which states that “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

    I’m praying today that we both grasp this for ourselves!

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

      Of course you can relate… we’re cross-border sisters remember?!

      Thank you for sharing that verse with me. I’ll have to spend some time meditating on it.

      This may be something I’ll have to hand over daily to God. I’m okay with that… and I’m certain He’s okay with it too.

      Blessings to you my friend. Thanks for your kind words.

  • Jessica Dimas

    I forgive so easily. I can’t stay mad for very long and I can always see the good in a person behind the mistakes they make. UNLESS IT’S ME. If it’s me…well, I can go years with hating myself for something I did long ago. So I know how you feel. We all commit atrocities at some point and time in our lives and it doesn’t do anyone any good to continue harboring the guilt in our hearts over it. One way that’s really helped me forgive myself is to remember that every mistake I made taught me a very valuable lesson. Every experience we have leaves us a BETTER person, even if it was a bad or “stupid” experience. We come out knowing the importance of something that we didn’t know before.

  • Remy

    Hello Jen! I had blamed myself in many circumstances, but I think the best way for any human to heal, is to let it go… The more you blame yourself for things that you cannot have control off, the more guilty you feel.

    Sending you lots xoxo

  • Tamara

    It’s so interesting – I definitely dwell on things I have done, for years longer than others. There are a few people in this world who can make me keep a grudge, but nothing like the ones I hold on myself.
    Thank you for this beautiful reminder.

  • Jac

    It’s always reassuring to know that I am not alone in this struggle! It’s so hard to forgive ourselves, despite knowing that we are forgiven. I am so quick to forgive others, but myself? UGH! That’s such a struggle.

    I have been writing a lot about this in my personal prayer journal lately, and it’s helpful. I have a section on “confession” where I just lay it all out, and then re-read a few of my favorite verses about being forgiven.

    Thank you so much for this fantastic post!

  • Jessica James

    We are our own worst enemy and our own worst condemner. I’ve sat beside you in this same position, and it feels as though we are undeserving, but we are not, and you are not. I thank you for writing this, because I feel it is good in a sense to be aware that our mistakes follow us, and can change us, but most hope it is a change for the better. And, in your sense it appears it was for the better. Congrats.

  • Lysa

    Oh my gosh Jennifer, I loved it! Forgiving others, even if it takes 16 years, is so much easier than forgiving ourselves. I also have not forgiven myself for my past. Like you, I am a Christian and I know it is what God wants and needs me to do but it is such a difficult thing to do. We are all works in progress and I hope someday soon I can FINALLY forgive myself. Like you said He has forgiven me and so have the people I have wronged so why am I unable to forgive myself is my question as well. I know that I am my own worse critic and worse enemy at times but my heart is so heavy for things done in my past.
    However, your post has inspired me to pray more on it. When I am ready, hopefully He will give me the strength soon, I will take that dreaded walk down memory lane and attempt to forgive myself one situation at a time. As my amazing sister always says, “When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.” Very wise words and possibly a way to help you as well.

  • Brittany Bullen


    Oh man, I can SO relate to this one… except in this case it’s my Dad. I have the weirdest relationship with him… we’re really close and yet so many of the things I do are to fill this void of approval I’ve had from him my whole life. Just when I think I’ve forgiven him, he does something ELSE to hurt me and I have to start all over… it’s tough, for sure. Good for you for working on it! Good luck!


  • Debbie

    Hi Jennifer, as hard as it is sometimes we have to forgive people for our own sakes and not so much for the sake of the other person. Forgiving doesn’t mean that we have to forget, it just means that we can let it go and move on with our lives.

    Not forgiving means not letting it go, which can get us down and stop us from moving forward. Which is never a good thing.

  • Mrs. AOK

    What a great reminder… I think we usually do not realize how tough we can be on our own selves. :::raises hand high:::
    I’m hard on myself, a lot. I truly need to work on that, but thankfully, I’m growing, and learning to love the woman I am.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Brittany

    This is beautiful; it gave me goosebumps. It took me a long time to forgive myself for the deep ways that I hurt myself and others. It was a painful process…probably more painful than the hurt I caused in itself. It’s a process that forces us to look at ourselves for all that we are, then see ourselves washed clean by the cross. Accepting ourselves for who we are in Christ rather than the sum of our actions is a tough thing to do. I still struggle with this from time to time. I condemn myself for things that I have or haven’t done. The words “I shouldn’t have” appear far too often when I talk to myself. But I’m learning to shed the shoulds and shouldn’ts more quickly with time. Romans 8:1 is beautiful in its truth. It gives me chills every time. Thank you for sharing this. You are such a lovely woman :)

  • Sarah Nenni Daher

    I love Leilani’s message because I was about to type the same thing. :)

    We grow everyday, and with that growth comes the challenges He and others give us. I’m touched you chose to share this part of your journey with us, Jennifer.

  • Rebecca

    WHOA! What a twist!!!! I love this so much, and you’re right. We forgive others, He forgives all, and yet we struggle with forgiving ourselves. This is so beautiful!!!!!

  • Chris Carter

    Ah yes…. this one- I get and I mourn so many women who can’t forgive themselves and walk through this life in shame and heavy hearts!! It’s a constant struggle for me as well…

    I keep reminding myself that I offend our Heavenly father’s sacrifice each time I ‘convict’ myself under His redemption!! I remind myself over and over again- how Christ’s crucifixion MUST be honored in how I pour grace on ME. How dare we dismiss, or worse yet- neglect the very act of God for His beloved children? We place ourselves in a prison that He freed us from…

  • Tammi

    Very thought provoking. I think most of us are guilty of holding ourselves to a higher standard. We do not easily forgive ourselves for mistakes and transgressions. I very much appreciate your reminder that God has forgiven each of us. We are in no way more powerful than He, therefore, we do not have a right to be unforgiving of ourselves. Thank you for sharing this!

  • Rachael Boley

    This was powerful and something I struggle with so often. Thank you for this beautiful reminder of God’s grace and forgiveness. I always know it’s there for everyone else, but forget I’m included in that.

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

      We need these reminders don’t we? I have struggled with this for a long time and I think it will be something that I’ll have to frequently pray about and work on. Eventually those old habits of self-condemnation will be gone for good.

      I’m glad this touched you Rachael.