Wait a minute. I already forgave him, so why do I still feel the same old hurt sometimes? Didn’t I do it right? Maybe I need to do it again? Why didn’t God take away the hurt when I forgave the guy? What am I doing wrong?
Yeah, we used to ask those same questions until….until we understood the anatomy of forgiveness. We think understanding this will help you too.
You see, when you choose to forgive your spouse or a friend for hurting you, it’s like you choose to put the memory of that hurt in a box, close the lid, and stick it up on a shelf in your memory closet. When something happens that reminds you of that hurt, you take the box down from your memory shelf and open it. But something else jumps out that you didn’t expect. There in the box with your memory are all the feelings you had surrounding the hurtful incident. When you unpack the memory, you can’t help but unpack the hurt feelings right along with it.
When you understand this is what’s happening, you can say out loud (because you want satan to hear you) “No, I chose to forgive him and I’m sticking by my choice.” You then can put the lid back on that box and put it back away on the shelf. Over time, as you choose over and over again to renew your choice of forgiveness, the memory of the hurtful incident will fade into thin air. And so will your hurt feelings.
If you would like to explore more about reconciliation, we encourage you to go to the following articles: “Forgiveness” by Patrick and Dwaina Six and “The Faces of Forgiveness Part 1 and The Faces of Forgiveness Part 2” by Harold and Bette Gillogly.
Forgiveness is also dealt with in our How to Handle Anger Webinar series found at: https://marriages.net/anger-series/