From the book Equilibrium: 31 Ways to Stay Balanced on Life’s Uneven Surfaces

You might be reading this thinking, “I tried.”

You might be reading this thinking, “Nothing worked.”

I am sorry.


Sometimes our hurts are so deep the wounds never seem to heal. I am not an expert, but I have learned over time that those profound lesions continue teaching me what not to do, how not to act, how not to treat others. We work toward refusing to be controlled by hate and offer love to others—no matter how they treat us. Continue pursuing help as you find a balance of awareness of your hurt while not being controlled by it. That, my friend, can take many conversations and many years. Or it can happen today. I pray you find healing.

Okay, I know. This isn’t easy. This is hard.

We have been hurt. We have been hurt deeply.

Getting back at those who harmed us doesn’t bring healing.

As anxiety visits from a thought or a behavior or a trauma, we might have serious physical, emotional, mental, and psychological symptoms. Do not deny those and offer a shallow, “I forgive you,” then move on.

Yes, it is a decision.

But no, it isn’t always an easy decision.

It takes time.

It takes help—from God and from His people.

Counseling has helped me. My mentors and friends have helped me. Writing about it has helped me. Time has also helped me.

But I had to be willing to move on and not carry hurts from the past with me. I had to forgive, refusing to hold the hurts against the other people any longer. Emotions and thoughts still return, of course. They visit. They remind me of the damage done. They seek some deeper, clear, noticeable punishment for those who have harmed me. When they visit, we should notice their arrival and intentionally declare their departure. We pray again. We talk again. We write again. We choose, again, to refuse to be controlled any longer by what those people did to us.

Dwelling on them doesn’t heal us.

Seeking harm on them doesn’t heal us.

Forgiveness moves us toward a balance of letting go while not denying our wounds. Scars stay. Because of potential future harm, we might need to stay away. But we forgive—refusing to hope for bad upon those who have hurt us, refusing to view them as anything other than someone made in the image of God.