It’s Not Okay, and I Forgive You

by A.C. Williams @Free2BFearless

Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Hebrews 12:15 NLT

When someone hurts me, and they apologize, I usually respond with the same phrase: “It’s okay.” That works, right?

I don’t like saying, “I forgive you” because it ends up sounding sanctimonious. I’m not a stained-glass sort of person, so I tend to steer away from churchy vernacular.

But here’s the problem: If someone hurt me, it’s not okay.

Maybe the hurt was unintentional, maybe it wasn’t. It doesn’t matter. Hurt is never okay, and the truth of the matter is “it’s okay” and “I forgive you” don’t mean the same thing. They shouldn’t be used interchangeably, but I fear that there is a generation of Christ-followers who haven’t learned to distinguish the difference. I’m among them.

I don’t like admitting when I’ve been hurt. It feels petty. Like I’m nit-picking or being too sensitive. I think: Surely I’m mature enough to absorb a few hurt feelings.

So instead of dealing with the hurt, I pretend it isn’t there. I tell myself that no hurt was intended, so I should be happy to carry on working with or being around whoever hurt me. God commands us to forgive. So that’s what I do. They hurt me, and it’s okay.

But that’s not forgiveness. That’s denial. And it’s dangerous.

Denying that you’ve been hurt never allows you to heal. The hurt just gets hidden, stamped down in the dark recesses of your heart. Maybe you’ll be functional for a while, but the hurt won’t stay there. It puts down roots. What started as legitimate hurt at being wronged may grow into bitterness. Your heart will eventually overflow, and what comes out won’t be pretty. 

Our hearts are the core of who we are. When we speak, we speak from whatever is stored in there. Jesus said, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fill his heart” (Luke 6:45 NASB). If what’s in our heart is mercy and grace, that’s what we communicate; if it’s damage and pain, that’s what we communicate. If you’ve spent a lifetime hiding your hurt rather than facing it, your heart will be cold and resentful and afraid, and that’s not a heart God can use.

So what do you do to heal a hurting heart?

Friend, you can’t do anything. But Jesus can.

The first step to take may seem obvious, but if you’ve made a habit of hiding your hurt, it won’t be obvious to you. Your first step toward healing is to admit that you were hurt. Name it. If the hurt is some fuzzy concept, you can’t do anything with it.

If you can’t identify how someone hurt you, you can’t really forgive them. Choosing to live your life in hurt and pain is choosing a life of bondage, and you’ve put the chains on yourself.

Acknowledge the hurt. Name the hurt. Then, you can give it to Jesus.

You may not be able to address it with the person who hurt you, but you can address it with the Lord. You can recognize that how you were hurt wasn’t okay, and you can choose to forgive.

That doesn’t mean you’ll forget what happened. It doesn’t mean you will be immediately able to move on. Honestly, it may be better that you don’t, especially if you’ve come from an abusive situation. Forgiveness and restoration aren’t the same either.

Our world is full of Jesus-followers who have concealed emotional trauma all their lives because denying it was easier than confronting it. Stop hiding from your hurt. Stop ignoring that it exists. It’s time to heal. Give yourself the opportunity to do that, and be brave enough to extend it to others.

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It’s Not Okay, and I Forgive You – insight & wisdom from A.C. Williams, @Free2BFearless on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

amy c williams

About the author: A.C. Williams is an author-preneur who weaves fantastic tales about #AmericanSamurai and #SpaceCowboys, and she’s passionate about helping writers master the art of storytelling. A quirky, coffee-

Finding Fireflies

drinking, cat-loving thirty-something, she’s on a mission to help authors overcome fear and live victorious. Join her adventures on social media (@free2bfearless) and visit her website, www.amycwilliams.com.

Join the conversation: Are there hurts festering in your heart today?

7 thoughts on “It’s Not Okay, and I Forgive You

    1. Hi, Amele! Thank you so much for your question. It’s a good one. When I’m trying to understand what a Bible verse means, I always look for context and I compare different translations. The Amplified Version of Proverbs 19:11 may give a little more clarity in this case:

      Good sense and discretion make a man slow to anger, And it is his honor and glory to overlook a transgression or an offense [without seeking revenge and harboring resentment]. (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=pro+19%3A11&version=AMP)

      Not every hurt we experience is intentionally directed at us. Most situations where I’ve experienced hurt have been indirect–someone’s actions hurt me when they didn’t even realize it was happening. What Proverbs 19:11 is saying is that wise people don’t fly off the handle. They don’t immediately jump to conclusions and fling accusations at people because of their hurt feelings (imagined or actual).

      “Overlooking a transgression/offense” doesn’t mean you don’t forgive. We are always always always to forgive. But in some cases, if the hurt was indirect or obviously unintentional, it’s not always necessary to walk up to someone and inform them that you’ve forgiven them.

      Like those people who cut you off in traffic. Or some stranger on social media voicing their opinions on something. If you allow those people to hurt you in a way that causes bitterness and resentment in your heart, you’re headed down a dangerous path. Wisdom is being willing to let go of that hurt, to overlook (or walk around) what they did or said and let God deal with them.

      Now, there IS a huge difference between forgiving someone and restoring them to a place of trust in your life. And that’s a topic for another time. But for now, in the context of Proverbs 19:11, overlooking a transgression doesn’t mean you don’t forgive them. It’s just in some cases, confronting someone about your hurt isn’t always the path to peace. I hope that makes sense.

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      1. Thanks, Amy, your answer was very helpful. Now, how do we overlook an offense and acknowledge and deal with the hurt at the same time? Thanks for replying

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Amele, dealing with hurt is one of the greatest struggles I have faced in my life, and I’m not an expert. But I can tell you what the Lord has taught me.

    That being said, if it’s a situation where abuse is taking place (physical, verbal, emotional, whatever), get out. Find help. There are wise, godly people who are waiting to provide help and refuge for those who are suffering at the hands of loved ones. Getting away from that situation is best choice.

    But for other hurts, the unintentional ones or the ones where confrontation isn’t a good idea, I take time to process the emotions I’m feeling.

    First, I let myself acknowledge the hurt. You don’t need anyone to validate that. The emotion itself is valid. It may not be based in truth, but it’s important to acknowledge that you actually feel hurt, because then you can do something about it.

    Next is the truth part of the process. You have to take a good long honest look at WHY you are hurt. Are you feeling hurt because of something someone did to you today? Or are you projecting hurt from a past relationship onto someone else? Emotions are complex and tangled and they get all muddy at times. That’s why it’s important to slow down and not react immediately. Words spoken in anger never heal wounds. You must interpret your feelings honestly, using God’s Word as a standard for what is true and what isn’t. Many times what you’ll find is that the hurt you feel right now is connected to a hurt you experienced in your past.

    Once you understand why you’re hurting, it’s much easier to put a name to it. Then it’s no longer a fuzzy emotion rumbling around inside your heart. It can be called betrayal, broken trust, injustice, taking advantage. Whatever it is. When I have a solid hold on it, I can actively give it to Jesus. It’s no longer a concept. It’s a choice. I can choose to take the hurt I am feeling and turn it over to my Lord, Who is the only one who truly knows how much pain I feel.

    You choose to forgive. And you choose to entrust the hurt you feel to Jesus and let Him help you heal. It doesn’t happen overnight. Depending on the depth of the hurt, it could take years. In some cases, I don’t know if it ever goes away. But God does something miraculous in the process of trusting our hurt to Him: He redeems it.

    God can take the jagged broken pieces of our hurt, and He can transform it into a beautiful work of art that can bless other people. Even if your journey through your hurt is painful, you will learn something about yourself and about Him. Then one day, where all that hurt used to be so strong and powerful and all consuming, it will be a shadow in the face of what God has done with your story.

    Sure, you can choose to cling to the hurt and embrace bitterness and resentment, but what if your hurt is the key to helping someone else survive what you survived? What if your broken heart can help another heart begin to mend?

    When you’re hurting right now, it’s hard to see the future. But know this: God sees your hurt. He knows your heart. He cares. And none of it will be in vain.

    That was a super long, rambling answer. I hope there’s something in there that helps. May the Lord richly bless you as you battle your way through the pain of your hurts. Don’t give up.

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