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Forgiveness is not my strong suit. I know I shouldn’t hold grudges, but sometimes it’s just so hard to let go of my pain. I’ve always thought the only way to truly forgive a person is if I forgot what they had done to me. But how could I possibly forget some of the hurts people have caused me? Some pains are just so hard to let go. And some people are just so hard to trust again.

Forgiveness is hard sometimes.

And yet it’s so necessary. The two most important things any married person can say to their spouse are “I love you” and “I’m sorry.” Forgiveness is necessary for marriage.

But sometimes it’s so hard to forgive and forget. Does that mean your marriage is doomed to fail?

How do you forgive someone when you don’t feel like it?

How do you forgive your spouse when you’re still hurting? Can you forgive your spouse when you’re still hurting? Do you want to know the answer? Can you guess the answer? Would you be surprised if I told you that the answer is yes?

Yes, you can forgive someone even when you don’t feel like it.

You can forgive someone when you’re still hurting.

You actually can forgive and not forget.

RELATED: The Most Powerful Words in Our Marriage Are “I’m Sorry”

You don’t have to pretend like it never happened. Forgiveness does not mean setting yourself up to be hurt again and again.

You can forgive people when the feelings are still raw and painful because forgiveness is not a feeling. It’s a choice.

We have to choose to forgive people.

We have to make the conscious decision to forgive another person after they’ve hurt us. We always hold the power to forgive another person, no matter how we might feel. And if forgiveness is a choice, then suddenly all of Jesus’ teachings about forgiveness become a bit more possible (though it’s still hard, especially when you don’t want to forgive someone).

Jesus wouldn’t command us to do something that was impossible for us. If He says that we will be forgiven in the same measure that we forgive others, then He means it. If He says that we must forgive seventy times seven times, then He means it. That’s a lot of forgiveness, but as He also tells us, with God, all things are possible. Including forgiving someone when you’re still hurting.

Now, whenever I am hurt by someone, whether it’s my husband, a friend, one of my kids, or even a stranger, I remind myself that forgiveness is a choice.

Even when the pain still stings, I can choose to forgive.

It’s not always easy, but as Christ Himself tells us, “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

RELATED: The Power of Saying “I’m Sorry”

Forgiveness is a choice that we ourselves must make, but it’s God who makes that choice possible. Even when we don’t feel like forgiving someone, we can ask God to give us the grace needed to do it anyway.

And if you don’t want to ask God for the grace to forgive someone? Ask Him to help you to want to ask Him. With God, all things are possible, and He can soften even the hardest heart, including the one unwilling to forgive.

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Shannon Whitmore

Shannon Whitmore currently lives in northwestern Virginia with her husband, Andrew, and their two children, John and Felicity. When she is not caring for her children, Shannon enjoys writing for her blog, Love in the Little Things, reading fiction, and freelance writing on topics such as marriage, family life, faith, and health. She has experience serving in the areas of youth ministry, religious education, sacramental preparation, and marriage enrichment.

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