Learning how to forgive can be so hard. It’s hard enough to forgive someone who has wounded you in some way, but what about the one who keeps hurting you?

How to Forgive the One Who Keeps Hurting You

Learning how to forgive can be so hard.

It’s hard enough to forgive someone who has wounded you in some way, but what about the one who keeps on hurting you?

Whether it’s a friend, a family member, or a coworker, sometimes we get caught in a vicious cycle of hurt.

And in that hurt, you may retreat, close off and become hardened - shutting the door to forgiveness altogether.

I say this from a place of experience.


Learning how to forgive can be so hard. It’s hard enough to forgive someone who has wounded you in some way, but what about the one who keeps hurting you?

I tend to internalize my hurts, making it harder to get them out in the open and process.

So when a hurt keeps happening, my tendency is to shrink back and run from the healing process of forgiveness.

It’s hard to open your heart to forgiving another when you are so desperately trying to protect it.

[bctt tweet="It’s hard to open your heart to forgiving another when you are so desperately trying to protect it." username="NicoleAKauffman"]

I want to remind you of the dangers of unforgiveness.

Unforgiveness gives Satan a foothold.

When we hold onto our pain, anger, bitterness or sorrow caused by another, we create an environment that invites Satan in.

Building walls makes us feel safe and protected. But the same walls we build to try and keep out the hurt also shut out the power of Christ’s love and redemption.

It’s not easy to walk through the process of forgiveness. And it’s especially not easy when you suspect that you will be hurt again. But don’t become discouraged.

God is working in your heart and in your life. He is working to bring you freedom and healing.

When you are stuck in that cycle of hurt and unsure of how to forgive, I want to encourage you to do these three things.

1. Surrender it to God daily

Pain doesn’t typically just disappear. It is something that will ebb and flow as we work through our struggles and work towards healing.

Forgiving someone does not mean that you are no longer allowed to feel the hurt.

[bctt tweet="Forgiving someone does not mean that you are no longer allowed to feel the hurt." username="NicoleAKauffman"]

I struggled for years with the lie that if I was still hurting, I couldn’t forgive.

Forgiveness means that you are surrendering that hurt to the Lord and releasing your hold on that person’s life. In that release, you will find freedom.

But freedom is a process and it won’t happen right away.

As you wait for the Lord to transform your heart, you must work to surrender your hurt to Him daily.

One of the greatest ways to do this is through prayer.

I began a prayer journal where I wrote out a prayer of surrender and forgiveness. And no matter how I was feeling, I offered those words to the Lord every day.

Sometimes, I had to begin my prayers with, “Lord, I don’t want to forgive and I don’t feel like forgiving…”

It is in those times that we must obey our call to forgive others.

When you struggle with forgiving someone who has hurt you and who may still be hurting you in some way, find a way to offer it up to the Lord daily.

I've created Forgiveness Prayer Cards as a resource to help you walk through this process.

The Lord will hear your prayer and you will find healing and transformation.

2. Set Healthy Boundaries

Forgiving someone does not mean releasing them from the responsibility of their actions. And learning how to forgive does not mean putting yourself in harm's way.

Setting boundaries is so important when you are in a relationship or a situation that continues to hurt you.

As you approach relationships that are caught in the cycle of hurt, consider what it will take to keep your heart on the Lord.

Sometimes we can stretch ourselves and offer up more. But other times we need to take time to focus on our own healing and relationship with Christ.

What will it take to guard your heart?

Limited vulnerability? Limited time spent with the person? No time with the person?

It will be different for each person and for each situation. And your situation may change and adapt as you find healing and peace in Christ.

I encourage you to prayerfully consider what healthy boundaries are needed to guard your heart and mind in Christ.


3. Speak truth into your life

We can get so easily sucked into the painful parts of our life. And Satan takes this as an opportunity to snag  your heart and offer you lies.

As you process your hurt, it is essential to fill your mind with truth.

[bctt tweet="As you process your hurt, it is essential to fill your mind with truth." username="NicoleAKauffman"]

When you do this, the light of Christ shines against all lies that have ebbed their way into your heart.

There have been so many times that Scripture or an encouraging word of truth has revealed to me the unforgiveness in my heart.

There are two ways that I suggest filling your mind and heart with truth.

First, reading Scripture is essential to knowing truth. I’ve included a Scripture reading plan below that focuses on the area of forgiveness. In this resource you will find 6 Scriptures and a step-by-step meditation for each one.

I encourage you to work through these Scriptures as a way to begin to process forgiveness.

The second way to keep your heart and mind filled with truth is to find accountability. Invite a friend into your hurt, find a mentor to encourage you or seek help with a counselor.

Oftentimes when we are hurting, it is hard to see which way is up and out.

Filling your heart and mind with truth will allow you the accountability you need to keep walking in the light.

As you walk through the process of forgiveness, God will meet you. He will guide you and teach you how to forgive.

When you surrender your pain to Him daily, set healthy boundaries and speak truth into your life, you will find your heart begins to heal and you will discover the freedom that Christ offers in forgiveness.


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  1. This post has truly blessed me. Someone deeply hurt me to the core to the sense of knocking the very breath out of me. I was wounded and perplexed in spirit and didn’t know when or if I could go on. But I found out that God heals and restore every pain, disappointment and rejection of brokenness in which; we will ever endure in this life. I also found out that true love is when he died for me so that I can live so who am I to give up or give in. I shall prevail over every circumstance of rejection, abandonment and pain for He lives in me so that makes me free and stablished . Thank you and Blessing.

  2. This was a good read. To some people forgiveness is so hard. But I know I have to.
    I come from a large family of 10 children, I am #8. I always thought a lot about my
    Family, kind of like the Walton’s. But it was far from that in real life. But I loved them anyways faults and all. Until they completely shattered my life. My mama had become ill and my papa wasn’t to well either with heart problems. But he never stopped. When this happened I took care of my parents for everything I even took them to every doctors appt and went in with them. So I knew what was going on. My parents were married for 65 years and they still acted like kids in love they were hardly ever apart. My mama passed in 2014 from cancer, this left my papa sad and heart broken, but he didn’t show much emotion around us kids. Dad’s heart was doing fine, There is 6 girls in this family and 3 of us would help them out. My papa started getting sick, but his heart was fine ext.. What I think was happening was mourning. He was mourning mama so badly it was making him sick. I knew he needed help. Most of my family wasn’t around much and they never asked what was happening ect.. There 20 years difference between the oldest to the youngest, so most of the kids look to them as parents. I have one sister who is the trouble maker. Her jealousy out shines everything about her and she lies so much she believes what she says. My papa had asked me to move a pile of blankets that mama had in an room he wanted them in another room for us girls to go through. I moved them with his help but never picked any of them. When this Sister found out, she got with the 2 oldest girls lie about me,. that I received a Email from my oldest making it sound as though my whole sibling knew about this. It was the most heart breaking to me, I was devastated already from losing my mama. I never thought I could feel any deeper hurt than that. But more was coming I just didn’t know. I was called thief and so much pain. I was the only one that knew my parents health at the time, most could care less. Then when my father became ill, I had taken him to the family doctor as well as his heart doctor. Both said he was in good health for as weak as his heart was. And that this did not come from his heart. A nurse came to papa’s house to talk to him. He opened up some to her and it was that he missed mama. When she came out to talk to us kids she told us he is in mourning and that he really needs consoling to get through this. And it need to be asap. I flat out asked her in front of my siblings if my papa was dieing. She no, not if we get him the help he needs to deal with this. Because being together that long and now nothing can kill someone If they don’t get help. Everyone heard this. The next day dad was so sick I took him to the doctor and then the ER. At this point one of my brothers who is pushy, hateful and really thinks he’s better than anyone else. That being my parents doing. I get the most hateful call while I am trying to help my papa. From my brother tell me in no way or form I was to take him to the ER because he is not dieing there. Well through half of that I hung up on him cause I’m not going to be talk to that way. But he continued to call and I continued to hung up. I finally got my papa settled in the ER and again another call. I lots it, I screamed at him that if he knew so much more than I to get his xxx down there and he can deal with it. and thats just what he did. I handed him the things I had and left. I was so beside myself from crying and being up set I couldn’t stay without my papa asking what was wrong. My father never knew what my sibling put me through. Between my brother and that nasty letter, losing my mama and now papa being sick, I just couldn’t handle i lot it. And I left and believe me the others would just not talk to me nor look at me. Believe me I tried to talk to them.Or course Papa asked where I was, because he always needed me with him. My papa before I got to the ER said. Please don’t let me die. I told him I would do my best for him, and I promised mama I would take care of him. Some how my brother thought he was dying and the only place that could have came from was my older sisters. No matter what the 2 doctors said nor the nurse and me repeating myself over and over. He was dying. They never got him help believe me I tried talking to them. They were older and took over. Everyone believed them, and everyone believed the lies being told about me from this one sister. I have never felt so hated and unloved as I did at that moment. I was fighting them against me. I prayed and pleated with God to help me. I felt a lone. If God was helping I didn’t feel it. They treated my papa as though he was dying kept saying it was his hear then his mourning and I fought so freakin hard to get him help. My sibling were like vultures going through things ect.. while he lied in that bed. Very little water nor food. Then they wanted to call in Hospices. I said NO!! I knew once they did that was it,, they would feed him meds night and day until he died. They did it anyways, I called them murders. I couldn’t be around any of them. I am not a violent person wouldn’t hurt a fly, would do anything for anyone, But I would not stand by and let something wrong happen if I could help it. My dad fought hard, when they gave him meds he would gentle spit it out so no one saw him. I could not be even close to any of them, I wanted to hurt them like my life depended on it. I have never felt such anger to honestly hurt someone as I did with them. My papa did pass on. I know in my heart it was his time that God called him home. But the way he died, was their doing. I do talk to two siblings now and then that didn’t have anything to do with the letter. But no one fought beside me. They went along with everything and didn’t much say anything against them. I lost the battle alone, I lost my papa, I lost my siblings that day as well. My life died that day and it has never been the same since. Its been 5 years and no one has ever tried to make peace. They say they love me, love has no meaning for them. I pray for healing but deep down I don’t. Everything I felt for them died. I’m trying and praying to forgive. But it doesn’t come easy.

    1. I also forgot to say my husband of 30 years life me and had someone else. It was hard but he wasn’t a nice person either. So I lost him, both parents 4 months apart and my siblings. It has been a battle, Praise Jesus I have him.

    2. I think it’s beautiful when people die as lovebirds like that. I’d love a relationship like that. But children should always honor their parents and love them and serve them and help them. My father died 9 years ago, and my mother is still living, at 89, and tells us she knows she’s still alive because of all of our help, but she also wants to go back to heaven, and has for years. She’s not depressed, she’s just looking forward to the next step in live. No fear. But I get the hurt. My whole family did something like to me many years ago, and I had to set some boundaries and take time to heal and decide how I wanted to engage. All is well now. Those boundaries make people either decide to give you the respect you deserve, or move on from the relationship. Good luck!! you’ll be blessed for helping your parents

  3. I used to struggle with this in a big way but when it finally hit me that if God can forgive anybody for anything, who the heck do I think I am? Are my standards higher than His? Of course not! And yet I kept trying to hold people to a higher standard than the Almighty was. Once I truly understood that, I have been able to forgive with grace and love. Great post!

  4. Thank you so much for this post,as am reading this,am hurting,confused,calling on God to help me not make mistakes in my judgement & asking him to take control knowing my desire. I appreciate this post & ready to work with it. Please in your explanation of what forgiveness mean,what do you mean by releasing your hold on that person’s life?FEEDBACK please, let’s know your decision, thank youat do you mean by releasing your hold on the person’s lifem?

  5. I found a song years ago that has the lyric “I wanna stay in love with my sorrow; Oh, but God, I want to let it go.” To this day, that one line still describes how I feel. I’ve had the same repeat offender in my life for my whole life (who I would’ve cut myself off from years ago if they weren’t family), and I’m still struggling with bitterness, not just because of how they treat me, but moreso how they treat other family members. I also tend to close myself off when I’m hurt. I’m tired of holding onto the resentment, and want to let it go, but old habits die hard, and it feels like I’m getting nowhere. I’ll keep praying about it, though, and work on trusting that God will help me to truly forgive. Thank you for writing this.

    1. I am really struggling. I want to forgive. But this person has done unspeakable things to me. Things that have turned me into a scared and terrified person. Lot’s of mind games and controlling. I finally had to leave the relationship to save myself. I am currently in therapy working on fixing everything they did to tear me down. I asked God if I was doing the right thing and the answer I got was Psalms 97:10 Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.

      1. Thank you for sharing, Wendy. I’m blessed by your perseverance. God will bless your seeking His heart in this. I pray that you find the strength to stand against all of Satan’s lies and proclaim God’s peace and restoration over your situation <3

  6. Great job Nicole! This topic is a tough one but you addressed it so well. I especially love the way you balance acknowledging the pain/hurt yet giving practical ways for us to move forward. Happy to share on Facebook ?

  7. Absolutely a beautifully written and profound article! I have a person who I have been in a hurtful relationship with for my entire life. While I cannot change the person, I can live out the steps you gave. Thank you for sharing your heart!

    1. Thanks for sharing LeNae. I’m so glad you’re taking steps towards healing and forgiveness. 🙂

  8. I think this is such a great post. I think it can be so hard to set healthy boundaries in relationships and still “feel” like you are forgiving. This is one area that God is working on in me showing me that I can love and forgive and set boundaries at the same time.

  9. Nicole, I was thinking about someone the other day and it occurred to me, “Yup, in their lifetime, they probably used up all 490 times that I’m supposed to forgive them.” And then I was thankful, because God does give that kind of grace.
    I need it myself for the times when I’m the repeat offender.

    1. Yes, great point, Michele. Often we can be that repeat offender, and especially towards God. We can look to His unending mercy as a source of strength to offer the same!

    2. I know the Lord finds a way. I’ve been in battle with anxiety not too long ago. The anxiety was taking over my happiness. So many prayers from friends and family but it all had to be done by myself. I remember what the word of God said. He will never leave me. He loves me. I have to fully trust in Him. I left a job because the anxiety was becoming to take over my life at home. I would be eating dinner with my family and I will cry. One day my husband told me what are you going to do to change the situation. That’s when I put all my faith in the Lord. I left my job with no job line up. Jesus took control over our finances and I was able to step back and rejoice. The miracle happened when a job was waiting for me. I had to put my trust in God and know I can overcome. Thank you for this and may our God continue to bless you and your family.

  10. Such great wisdom here. Forgiving does not mean we’re stuffing our own pain but choosing to allow God to bring healing into the entire situation. Forgiveness is a choice. It’s an act of obedience to God. It set US free from bondage and allows us to walk in step with the Holy spirit. Thank you for your encouragement to forgive, even when the wounds are still fresh (or even still taking place). Bless you and your ministry.

  11. I tend to do the same thing when someone hurts me…I quietly close my heart off. There are always those people that we need to keep in our lives despite their sins against us. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about how to do that in a healthy, Godly way. ❤

  12. This is such a blessed post to read this morning, Nicole! Setting healthy boundaries is what I have been about someone who repeatedly hurt me, and asking the Lord strength to find the balm from Him for healing.

    God bless
    Diana (http://dianasdiaries.com)

    1. Yes, Jodie! I encourage you to download the creating boundaries worksheet! It can help you to work through the process of actually doing it! 🙂

  13. Boundaries are so so important!!! It always feels hard in the moment but our souls are worth it. Thanks for sharing. Really loved this.

  14. Oh, this is such a hard topic, but such an important one. Unforgiveness can be such a cancer in our lives. We must do the hard work of rooting it out, and yes, daily. This is such great advice here, Nicole. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Thanks for sharing these insights and resources, Nicole. Forgiveness is certainly not easy and I agree, it is a process, but it is important to work towards reaching the point where we can let it go and hand it over to God.

  16. Nicole, this is a timely message for me. I am praying about setting boundaries today against a repeat offender, but I appreciate your reminder that forgiveness needs to be part of the picture. Thank you so much for this encouragement.

    1. Such a hard process, Sarah, but God works amazing things through our willingness. Sending prayers your way <3

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