Dollar Photo ForgiveWhat happens when you don’t forgive? Do you want to know a few things that could possibly happen if don’t eventually come to a place where you are able to release the hurt you are feeling and forgive? Below are a few points you might want to prayerfully consider on this painful journey:

Not forgiving interferes with the effectiveness of your prayer life.

(See: Mark 11:25.) That means your prayers don’t get answered. That means you can’t experience the full benefits of God’s forgiveness if you are not forgiving others —especially your spouse. It means God puts your blessings on hold and waits until you take care of that unfinished business.

Not forgiving evaporates your joy. When you don’t forgive, it brings up a barrier to the joy God has for you. No one is ever truly happy if they have unforgiveness in their heart.

Not forgiving weakens your body. It eats away at you and eventually takes over and destroys your life from the inside. It makes you physically sick as well as spiritually crippled. When you forgive you release it into God’s hand and healing comes for your body as well as your soul.

Not forgiving opens the door for the enemy to work in your life. We have to forgive “lest Satan should take advantage of us” (2 Corinthians 2:11). We invite the enemy in if we harbor unforgiveness. And when you treat your spouse as if he (she) is the enemy —or your spouse acts as if you are —you align yourselves with your true enemy and his plans for your future.

Not forgiving pollutes your soul. The Bible says, “Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?” (James 3:11). If you have unforgiveness, the water in your soul will become bitter.

Seven More Things to Remember About Not Forgiving

1. Not forgiving will torture you.

“‘Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you? And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses” (Matthew 18:33-35).

2. Not forgiving causes you to entertain thoughts of revenge.

“Do not say, ‘I will do to him just as he has done to me; I will render to the man according to his work'” (Proverbs 24:29).

3. Not forgiving means you won’t be forgiven by God.

“But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:15).

4. Not forgiving delays the answers to your prayers.

“Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25).

5. Not forgiving means you see the failures of others, but not your own.

“Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye?” (Matthew 7:3-5).

6. Not forgiving means you are walking in darkness.

“He who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes (1 John 2:11).

7. Not forgiving means you are not pursuing what is best for your marriage.

“See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all” (1 Thessalonians 5:15).

…I know that the last thing you may feel like doing is praying for your spouse if he (she) has hurt you, but that is what God wants you to do. In the process He will heal your pain because He is the God who “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).

God will help you forgive so completely that you really don’t think about those hurtful things anymore. As you pray, God will give you His heart of love. You always grow to love the person you pray for. Try it; you’ll see. God wants you to live “not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9).

Keep in Mind

God isn’t calling you to forgive so He can rub your nose in what offended or hurt you. He is asking you to forgive because when you do, you will inherit all that he has for you.

This article is adapted from the excellent book, Praying Through the Deeper Issues of Marriage: Protecting Your Relationship So It Will Last a Lifetime by Stormie Omartian, published by Harvest House Publishers. There is a lot more information to the above article that comes from the chapter on “If Forgiveness Doesn’t Come Easy” that you may find helpful in reading.

In addition, you will find that there are other helpful chapters you can read on anger, rudeness, and abuse. There are also chapters on communication break downs, depression, negative emotions, having children dominate your marriage, addictions and other destructive behaviors. Each chapter also has Scripture Truths to Stand on as well as Prayers for Protection on those particular subjects. Plus, there are Prayer Breakthroughs for you and also for your spouse. This is an excellent book that we highly recommend!

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Filed under: Bitterness and Forgiveness

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  1. I am struggling to forgive my husband when he shows no sign of being sorry because I know that harboring forgiveness in my heart, will only poison myself. My husband has been verbally abusive and disrespectful to me for years. He has held over my head, the depression I used to have, which at times was so low that I attempted suicide. Actually said, “What about the times I had to take a gun or knife away from you?” or “What about how you used to be?” He has used that for his reason to drink, and degrade me, to treat me with disrespect. I see his forgiveness of me, has poisoned him.

    As I write this, it sounds so pathetic. like I am a weak woman, which I am not. I stand up for myself, defend myself when necessary. I never thought I would have to defend myself against my husband. My husband was abused while growing up & I try to understand this and have empathy. I have asked him …”why do you want to treat someone else, the way you were treated?” Sadly this has not worked. It seems that he just cannot do better. You cannot reason with someone who drinks. So, I am struggling to forgive him.