None of us escape this life without ever being hurt or offended. We understand how necessary forgiveness is to live a healthy physical and spiritual life. But how do you move on when an apology you know needs to be made never comes?
I want to make it clear: it is never okay to let offenses slide with your spouse. Read why here.
Offenses Will Come
Over the years I’ve experienced deep hurt by people who’ve been clueless their actions or words cut me to the core. Some live in their own small worlds and live for what benefits them. Yet, these are the ones who hurt us the most, don’t you think?
Continually waiting for the apology that never comes can lead to opening the door to unforgiveness.
The result then provides an opportunity for a root of bitterness to spring up. If we allow bitterness to stew within us, it can poison our attitude, our behavior and invade our thought life.
Taking on the “Turning the other cheek” facade of a good Christian won’t hide the ugliness that’s in our hearts. We try to put on a righteous face that “oh, she didn’t know she hurt me, bless her heart,” when our heart is spewing with resentment..
Living with bitterness and unforgiveness is like taking poison and hoping your enemy will die. ~ Joyce Meyer
When that unspoken apology is from a family member, that’s just rubbing salt into a deep wound.
I know I must forgive. It is non-negotiable, as Matthew 6:14-15 reminds us. Constant rehearsing of the need for an apology becomes a trap from satan unless we yield to Holy Spirit’s conviction and direction by following these 5 steps:
How to Move on When An Apology Never Comes
In 1960, six-year-old Ruby Bridges was the first African-American child to integrate an all-white public elementary school in the American South. Every day for months, federal marshals escorted Ruby past a mob of angry parents shouting curses, threats, and insults at her.
Noted child psychiatrist Robert Coles met with Ruby for several months to help her cope with the fear and stress she experienced. He was amazed by the prayer Ruby said every day as she walked to school and back home. “Please, God, forgive them because they don’t know what they’re doing” (see Luke 23:34).
“Lord, you know I’ve been wronged and you know all about that. I follow your example and say ‘Forgive my offender, Father, for they know not what they do.’ I make a deliberate decision, setting my will to forgive. I release all pain to You.
Points to Remember about Forgiveness
- Forgiveness does not mean the offense against you was “okay.” You choose to allow God to be the judge of the offender rather than judging him/her yourself.
- It doesn’t mean we will forget the offense.
- It’s giving up your right to “get even.”
Forgiveness is hard. It takes swallowing every ounce of pride you have to acknowledge, I can’t get even, but I’ll leave that up to God.
Then we move on to the next most difficult thing. Bless them.
This step is a 2 for 1 package. When we speak a blessing to someone after forgiving them, it seals the deal.
Somehow in blessing our offender, God fills us with compassion for them, often allowing us to see them through His eyes.
Reconciling yourself to the idea that your offender is clueless or hardened to your need of an apology means you forgive and bless them for your own benefit. (A face-to-face encounter most likely isn’t the answer.)
To bless someone who’s wronged me, I find it helps to pray scripture.
I forgive you for ________. I bless you with the peace of God. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
3. Have a time of separation
We release the offender to God but recognize the need to distance ourselves for a while. I’ve had to unfollow some on social media to prevent my emotions from getting stirred. I would start the rehearsing thing in my mind again.
Setting this boundary protects your heart– as it is still healing from the forgiving and blessing you extended.
4. Break ties, if needed
Sometimes ties need to be broken.
There is an unhealthy soul tie with someone if that person has a manipulative, controlling influence over you. To understand what an unhealthy soul tie is, read this.
Soul Tie Prayer
- In the name of Jesus, I renounce and break all unhealthy soul ties forged between ________ and me.
- By the power of the cross, I release myself from _________ and I release ______ from me.
- Father, I ask you to set a guard over my spirit, soul and body to never again connect with _________ in this unhealthy way.
5. Move on.
Accept you may never receive an apology. Get on with your life. Invest your time and energy with people who encourage and appreciate you.–Those who reciprocate real and transparent relationship.
Life becomes easier when you learn to accept the apology you never got. ~ R. Brault