Walking with God to Untangle the Mess of Unforgiveness

Don’t we all struggle with unforgiveness from time to time? Here’s a powerful exhortation by Cathy McIntosh for Day 8 of our #GodlyAdventure!

Walking with God to Untangle the Mess of Unforgiveness.

Maybe you thought twice about opening this article. Few want to read about forgiveness. Or lingering unforgiveness. It’s a touchy topic that we often avoid facing.

I have no idea of the trails and wounds you’ve encountered. I don’t know your story. But I do know my own and the life-altering hurt I’ve experienced. And I know some of the heartache I’ve inflicted on others.

Since you made it this far into the article, will you spend a little time with me as I attempt to shine some healthy and encouraging light on this troublesome topic?

The timing of this article is no coincidence. The season is approaching when we’ll occupy dinner tables with our offenders. Forgiveness plays an important part in our upcoming preparations, because the holidays can usher in powerful struggles with anxiety. The mere thought of contact with certain people can bring overwhelming stress and rampant emotions.

One Thing to Remember When Struggling with Unforgiveness

Let’s remember one mighty truth:

God is good.

He intends far greater riches for us than the struggle of living with stress and anxiety.  The path leads to joy rather than torment… when we’re walking with God.  He provides all we need to forgive even the worst offenses. After all, He is the ultimate example of a forgiving heart.

The Lord gives His commands and instruction for our benefit. Reasons to follow His precepts go far beyond “because God said so” and express His tender love and care for us.

Scriptural Reasons to Forgive and Get Past Unforgiveness

Look at some of these Scriptural reasons to forgive:

  • Matthew 6:15—we receive forgiveness when we forgive others.
  • Ephesians 4:32—we forgive others because God first forgave us.
  • 2 Corinthians 2:11—we forgive so that Satan cannot take advantage
  • Ephesians 4:17-32—we forgive so as not to grieve the Holy Spirit.

That’s a big one. We don’t want to dampen the Holy Spirit’s fire in our lives, lest we experience hindered wisdom and diminished discernment.

At times we wonder . . .

Why don’t feel close to the Lord?

Why is my quiet time so disjointed?

Why can’t I discern His direction?

Why am I facing confusion and difficulty?

Why do I have a hard time walking in step with the Spirit?

90% of the time, I’d estimate, our struggles revolve around carrying some degree of unforgiveness.

Look at some of these Scriptural reasons to forgive. Click to Tweet

Don’t we all struggle with unforgiveness from time to time in our relationships? Here’s the way to walk with God through it.

Walking with God When Unforgiveness Lingers

But by walking with God in forgiveness, we unload a weighty burden and untangle our mess to discover the Lord’s abundant blessing. Imagine a life of…

  • abiding in freedom and victory
  • accomplishing God’s purposes
  • displaying the fruit of the Spirit
  • showing the world the joy and love of the Lord

Doesn’t it feel great to simply envision the unhindered liberty that comes with the act of forgiveness?

Why Do We Struggle to Forgive?

Most of us want to forgive. We know we “should” forgive. It’s not our wish to forsake the Lord’s goodness. Yet we still struggle.


Myths About Forgiveness

We’ve accepted some misconceptions about forgiveness. We’ve been misled. We allow ourselves to believe that forgiveness is:

  • Pretending nothing happened
  • The absence of hurt or anger
  • Forgetting the offense
  • Immediate reconciliation
  • Immediate restoration of trust
  • Always deserved
  • Acknowledging what happened is OK
  • A Feeling

This entire list of bullets contains myths about forgiveness. They are ALL false, yet the enemy continues to deceive us into believing that they’re true.

But, you say, the Lord forgets offenses. Shouldn’t we? The truth is that as it relates to forgiveness, forgetting is a concept of accounting, not one of feeling, emotion, or memory.

When the Lord blots out sin, He blots it out of the record book. It’s atoned for—the debt is paid in full— by the blood Jesus sacrificed on the cross. God will no longer act on our offense and we will not suffer His wrath because His Son took the punishment and penalty on our behalf.

These myths about forgiveness are ALL false, yet the enemy continues to deceive us into believing that they are true. Click to Tweet

The Truth About Forgiving Others

When we boil forgiveness down to its simplest form, we find that it is a decision. That’s it.

When we forgive, we make the decision to trust God, to release our offender from any payment owed, and to no longer seek (or wish for) their punishment.

Once we’ve made the decision to forgive, we may not feel any different. Eventually by walking with God, in His perfect timing, He will help our emotions follow our intentional choice.  It can take days, weeks, or even years of practice and intimately abiding in Christ, but eventually it will come.

Remember that forgiveness is God’s idea and He models it perfectly. It’s an action that stems from His kindness and goodness and He will lavish His grace and mercy on us to help us embrace it. Walking with God in His truths and generous provision are the only way to enjoy the blessing that starts with decision to forgive.

Perhaps the Lord is bringing to mind the name of someone to forgive.

How will you respond?

Is there a trusted friend who will offer accountability and prayer as you walk in the decision of forgiveness?

How can I pray for you in this journey?

Cathy McIntoshCathy McIntosh has always loved words, often overusing them during her younger years. Her daddy lovingly called her “Constantly,” indicating how much she talked. As an author and speaker, Cathy serves God by sharing His joy with women. She enjoys using real, transparent stories paired with practical Biblical truth. Cathy adores Colorado sunsets, snuggling with her new grand babies, and every moment with her husband of 31 years. Connect with her at www.cathymcintosh.com

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  1. Thank you for this encouraging post, Cathy! I loved this: “The truth is that as it relates to forgiveness, forgetting is a concept of accounting, not one of feeling, emotion, or memory.”

  2. “When we forgive, we make the decision to trust God, to release our offender from any payment owed, and to no longer seek (or wish for) their punishment.”

    Cathy this post is wonderful and so true. I remember the first time I heard the story of the one offended likened to being in jail when he/she didn’t forgive. While I realize God walks with us in time, as we journey to find out how to forgive–I know from experience it does free us.

    Blessings to you!!

  3. This was such an insightful article on such a touchy topic. Thank you for this.

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