When someone hurts me

When someone hurts me, I tell them how I feel. If they apologise, I forgive them immediately and genuinely, without hesitation. Then we put what happened behind us, and our relationship is undamaged.

However, when someone hurts me, but doesn’t apologise, we inevitably have unfinished business. The relationship becomes awkward. I’m tempted to avoid the person, and may even do so. I wait for months, sometimes even years, still hoping they will think about what they did, and that in the end they will care enough to approach me. Meanwhile, I pray for them each day, whilst trying to forgive and love them.

Eventually, I realise they are not going to apologise, and give up hoping, which is a big step forward. I face the fact that forgiving them is entirely my responsibility, because the other person involved isn’t going to help in any way. They may have forgotten what happened, or simply not care. However, I still need to forgive them, and to work out how to love them and relate to to them, despite what they did. This is a big challenge.

From this point onwards, I continue praying for the person and trying to forgive and love them, whilst also attempting to develop a new relationship with them, if possible. On my side, at least, this new relationship will, of necessity, recognise, include and accept all that has passed between us, both good and bad.

In my experience, learning to forgive those who hurt us, but won’t apologise, is one of the most challenging spiritual tasks we face throughout our lives. However, such forgiveness is a vital healing process, if we are serious about spreading God’s kingdom on earth.


If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them, and if they repent, forgive them (Luke 17:3; NIV).

We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing (Luke 23:34; NLT).

Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us (Luke 11:4; NLT).

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44; NIV).

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them (Romans 12.9; NLT).

The Kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21; KJV).

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