I’ve recently recovered from a difficult period of time in my life. I went through depression because of hurtful actions that were directed towards me. It’s been nearly a year, and my grudge against this person has never lessened, and I’ve asked for help from Heavenly Father to help me be forgiving and have a compassionate heart, but my vendetta against this person is the only thing preventing me from being the happiest I can be. Is there anything that I’ve just missed on how to try and forgive those who’ve hurt me. What could I do to be better?
Missing What I Need Most
Oh, I’m so sorry! I know what it’s like to be hurt and feel like peace would never come. And then I felt like a bad person because I wasn’t forgiving…
In our church, we talk a lot about forgiveness, and we often talk about immediate forgiveness, but some wounds take time to heal. If you shattered every bone in your leg, you wouldn’t expect to get up and walk a few days later. It took me nearly three years, but I was finally able to forgive a wound I thought would destroy me. Here are some things that helped:
- Accept your hurt. This might sound basic, but stay with me for a minute. It’s pretty natural to wish our pain away. I talked to a woman whose son died of a drug overdose and she told me, “For a long time I didn’t accept his death. I kept praying to God to undo it. I know that sounds crazy. Then I realized, how can I turn my burden over to Christ until I’ve accepted it myself?” I realized I’d been doing exactly the same thing. I wanted God to undo the hurt, but I had to accept it. Accepting pain and sadness is an integral part of the healing process. Jesus was unable to complete the Atonement until he accepted his own pain. He asked Heavenly Father to remove the cup; He asked the pain to be taken away. But God wouldn’t take it away and He couldn’t, and He won’t take yours away either, nor should you want Him to. So feel the hurt and acknowledge that you’ve been wronged, then turn it over to Christ.
- Really turn it over to Christ. When you give your problem to the Lord, truly give it to Him. Hand it over and let Him worry about it. For me this meant I stopped praying about it every night. I found my prayers (especially at night) left me ruminating over the situation. I decided to trust Christ and let Him take care of rebuilding my heart. I prayed to be kind and to do His will, but I stopped going over and over the hurt in my prayers.
- Let others pray for you. Don’t be shy about asking others to pray for you and put your name in the temple. It’s OK to be greedy for prayers. If there’s anything to be greedy for, it’s prayers.
- Set boundaries. We must forgive all men, but we don’t have to spend time with people who hurt us. This concept helped me so much. I was able to forgive all the past wounds without worrying about future injuries. There are some things you need in life. You need to pay taxes. You need to forgive. You need to take care of yourself. You don’t need to spend time with people who hurt you or have wronged you.
- Give it time. Take time to be grateful. I know there’s a lot of praise for instant forgiveness, but all wounds are different. Let yourself heal, and in the meantime, take note of your blessings– even the tiny ones. Over time, you’ll feel more and more happiness in your life and you’ll find your wounds have diminished.
I’ll pray for you too.