Healing When Your Heart Has Been Rubbed Raw

Sharon JaynesForgiveness, Lovestruck, Marriage 41 Comments

One day I received an e-mail from a woman who was still bitter over a statement her husband made to her cousin ten years ago. She and her husband were preparing to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary, and she was dreading it because of his careless words a decade before. She wrote, “Please pray that God mends this title [sic] piece of my heart that has fallen to the ground.”

The word title was a typo—she meant to type little. To me, it was telling. Friend, we can allow someone’s little shortcomings to become the title of our story, or we can forgive and write a new storyline. Not only does forgiveness change the title of your story, it changes the ending as well. So, how exactly can we consciously pursue forgiveness?

It’s often the sandpaper of chafing personalities, unmet expectations, and hurt feelings that rub us the wrong way and leave us feeling rather raw. Being able to forgive past offenses and let go of past hurts is an essential component for growing a strong marriage or maintaining lasting friendships that last a lifetime.

On the other hand, unforgiveness blocks intimacy on an emotional and physical level.

Forgiveness in the original Greek is aphiemi and means “to let go from one’s power, possession, to let go free, let escape.” Biblical forgiveness means cutting someone loose. This word picture is one in which the unforgiven is roped to the back of the unforgiving. When we refuse to forgive, we bind ourselves to what we hate. When we forgive, we cut the person loose from our backs and set ourselves free as well.

Forgiveness can also be seen in terms of canceling a debt. In the Old Testament, when someone paid a debt, a notice of the debt paid in full was nailed to the lender’s door. That is what Jesus did when he was nailed to the cross—our debt was paid in full and nailed to heaven’s door. When you forgive your husband, friend, co-worker, or family member, you cancel a debt, which they never could’ve paid back anyway.

The first step to forgiveness is prayer. The Bible tells us to pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44). I hope your husband is never your enemy, but there may be days you feel like he is. So let’s follow God’s instruction and start by praying for him. It may not turn your husband’s hardened heart to putty in your hands, but it will melt the hardness of resentment in your own. I’ve seen this happen time and time again in my own heart. No matter who you’re mad at, it’s difficult to stay mad when you’re praying for the person.

How many times are we to forgive? Peter asked Jesus that same question. “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”

Jesus answered, “No, not seven times, but seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21–22 nlt).

This doesn’t mean on the 491st offense we can choose not to forgive. Jesus was saying that there was no limit.

But what about those big offenses in marriage and other relationships? You know the ones I’m talking about. Pornography, alcoholism, drug abuse, betrayal and a host of other addictions must be addressed and dealt with for any marriage to survive and thrive. No one is doing his or her spouse or friend any favors by allowing such destructive behavior to continue. To ignore such issues is enabling sin to continue and poisoning the relationship with the arsenic of apathy or fear.

God’s call for us to forgive does not mean that a woman should stay with a man who is abusive or sexually unfaithful. Separation is sometimes the best course of action. The wife needs to make sure that she is safe. A wife can separate from her husband, pray for her marriage, and continue to trust God to bring healing and restoration.

So, yes, there are bigger issues that we do need to address as they come up, sometimes seeking professional help, but this does not mean forgiveness is on hold. There is a difference between forgiveness and trust. This is where the idea of reconciliation gets a bit muddy. Forgiveness can be immediate. Trust is rebuilt through right behavior over a period of time.

We see a beautiful picture of forgiveness in the Song of Solomon when the couple had a spat. Actually, twenty percent of the book is related to how they resolved conflict. And isn’t that what love is all about? With a husband, friend, family member, or co-worker—we rub each other the wrong way, and then forgive the right way.

Lord, today I choose to forgive _____________ for ______________. I no longer hold the offense against him/her but cut him/her loose. I choose to let it go and set myself free. Now that I’ve made the decision, I depend on you to provide the feeling. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

You know what, the prayer for today is enough of a task for you today. Simply ask God, “who is it that I need to forgive?” Then fill in that blank as many times as you need to. I love you, sister. You can do it!

Do you feel that your marriage is stuck in a funk? If so, it’s time to get it back on track! The Song of Solomon is a beautiful picture of intimacy between a husband and a wife that helps us see intimacy from God’s perspective, avoid the dangers of growing indifference, and commit to a forever kind of love. When you understand what some of the words mean, you’ll find yourself saying, “Is that really in the Bible?” Yep. It certainly is. God made sure of it. Check out Lovestruck: Discovering God’s Design for Romance, Marriage, and Sexual Intimacy from the Song of Solomon. There’s also a Bible study guide for those who want to dig deeper into God’s Word to see what He has to say about how to have a marriage that lasts a lifetime.

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Comments 41

  1. I have been divorced for 17 years and for 17 years I have been bitter and resentful toward my ex. Not only did he have multiple affairs, but bailed out as a active father with my 3 kids and my youngest especially had been the most impacted. Very long story short, he turned to drug and alcohol addiction and I have been very bitter toward my ex due to his lack of involvement in my sons life. I knew unforgiveness, resentment and bitterness has been in my heart way too long. After reading this article Sharon God spoke to me “ITS TIME” to let it all go. God really spoke to me this morning through this devotional regarding my ex I, by faith pictured myself with this thick rope attached to me with him, a rope of unforgiveness and I pictured myself cutting the rope and freeing me from this weight I’ve been carrying around. God spoke to me that I was robbed in my marriage of years that should of been tenderness, but lost out, but it’s time to let it all go. I feel like a weight has been lifted and I give God all the glory for helping me come to this place of freedom and thank you for being His vessel 🤗

    1. Post

      I can’t tell you how happy I am! I am happy for you! Praise God! I pray you will feel free! And when those hate filled feelings creep backup, which the will, remind the devil you have forgiven him in a Jesus name and refuse to be a victim twice! Love you sister.

      1. I told my friend exactly what you just said. I know the enemy will try to come back again with a new situation and tempt me to get angry at him, but God very clearly said to me it’s time to pay it down, and I know his timing is perfect. Thank you my friend love you dear sister. 🤗💕

  2. This is good, just what I needed. Now, how do I keep the loop out of my mind? It creeps in and plays over and over, sucking me in and then … there I am again, all angry and resentful.

    1. I try to replace the loop with scripture, such as the 23rd Psalm, but it can be really hard. Sometimes I can’t even remember the words to the Psalm, when I’m upset. I just keep starting it over and over again, and it usually comes to me. I will pray for you, for your comfort and peace of mind.

  3. I am reading this book now. It is a beautiful book. Thank you so much for breaking it down so that I can understand some of the meanings behind the words.

  4. I love what you said…but I have a question. What do you do when you find your husband struggling with pornography? I found out 4 years ago that he had a problem and then just found it again last week after months of lying to me about it. I know I need and will forgive him but how do I move forward trusting him and building our relationship? I’m not sure I want to move forward in our relationship anymore…

    Thank you.

    1. Dr. Doug Weiss has an excellent book called Partner Betrayal. He not only validate your feelings but gives good advice how to move on. His website is an excellent resource and he is on YouTube. He also has a series for men call Clean which is also excellent. My heart goes out to you. It is a difficult journey but with gods help you can do it sister!

    2. Melissa my heart goes out to you. My husband has struggled with pornography since before we married 9 years ago. I didn’t know about his problem when we married. Didn’t find out until shortly after we married. I’ve found it many times on his phone, computer, etc. I just found more the other day and am just so tired. I’m feeling very angry at him and have no desire for any intimacy with him at all. I’ve been praying and will continue, but don’t feel good about my marriage at all. I feel very alone. I’ve often wondered how other women deal with this issue? I’m sorry you’re going through the same thing. I hate it and can’t hardly deal with it. I just keep crying to God to deliver him and to help heal my very wounded and broken heart!!! Prayers for you and that God will heal your heart as well!!!

  5. Sharon, thank you for this. Sometimes offences come out of the blue and abruptly interrupt your peace and we are taken aback because you did not expect it from the source that brought it. This morning I have found peace in your words and the prayer. Blessings.

  6. Thank you for this FORGIVENESS lesson. A girlfriend belittled me in front of other girlfriends and I have been carrying the hurt (grudge) for a week as of today! God’s perfect timing!! ❣

  7. This is something for me that is usually easy to do but I had a friendship that I felt so betrayed in. There are times I think I have done this but then there’s times when hurt and anger raise their ugly heads and I feel betrayed all over again. I have even gone as far as saying if this is how she behaves when she claims she is happy, I am glad I met her when she was unhappy. She was a much kinder person then. I know it is a struggle and something I absolutely need to do. I will continue to ask God for the strength to do this. I know one day I will realize that all those horrible feelings will be gone!

  8. I desire your prayers today. My husband had an affair over 8 years ago and has 2 children from it. Life has taken us on a roller coasters. Our emotions are everywhere. It has not only affected my relationship with my husband but also with his family: It has been a year and I still don’t know where I stand. My family desires your prayers for Gods will be done. I pray I will listen to Gods voice for my life and won’t be strayed away by the devil schemes.

    1. Praying for you to have wisdom and guidance. I’m so sorry for what you’re experiencing. Praying for your family as well. I encourage you to read “Boundaries” or “Boundaries in Marriage”. These books helped me gain clarity, learn to love myself and rely on my faith.
      God desires to heal your family and sometimes he begins with you.

  9. Thank you. I so needed this today before going to lawyer’s office! I need to be able to forgive my pastor, my boss, my community of 24years for offenses done to me over past year or so actually more……as they just terminated my job after 23years!! Why? I don’t know?! Because not under their manipulation, their thumb anymore? Kicked the pedestal out from under my pastor; I had made mistake of putting him on all those years!!

    1. Sometimes God has to dump us out of our comfy box. I think there are greater plans for you. And God is a jealous God who doesn’t like to share pedestals. I’m going to pray for you. I hope you will look to your future as an adventure and say “OK God! What have you got for me?!”
      I say this because I too was fired from a longtime job. Within a week the Lord had me on a mission out of the country. I never saw that coming and it would not have been possible if I was at that job.

    1. Hi Sharon
      Very timely words indeed…bless you for sharing. Forgiveness is so needed and necessary especially in the church of Jesus Christ where we have so many hurting people. We wear masks to hide our hurts and pain sadly. It is indeed a choice we must make though a very difficult one especially when it’s the person closest to you who offends you the same way over and over again….but as an earlier comment indicated, I literally picture myself cutting loose this burden from my back and experiencing the freedom it gives….hallelujah!! Bless you and thanks for sharing

  10. I know marriage is rare gem one find in life and treasure it dearly. Sadly for me, I dread staying in marriage with one.
    We no longer act the role of husband and wife. We have zero intimacy. It is utterly lonely place to be, feeling unloved and uncared for. Unfortunately for me, I am seeking for a way out of this relationship. I feel there is no hope for us. But I would love to see changes in our lives. Improvement In each other. I know there is power in prayer.

    1. Kaytee, I’m in the same place as you are. Over 40 years of marriage and hardly any good memories, but I’m afraid to leave and be on my own. I’ll pray for you and you can pray for me. Marriage should be joy, not pain.

  11. Hi Sharon
    Very timely words indeed…bless you for sharing. Forgiveness is so needed and necessary especially in the church of Jesus Christ where we have so many hurting people. We wear masks to hide our hurts and pain sadly. It is indeed a choice we must make though a very difficult one especially when it’s the person closest to you who offends you the same way over and over again….but as an earlier comment indicated, I literally picture myself cutting loose this burden from my back and experiencing the freedom it gives….hallelujah!! Bless you and thanks for sharing

  12. Gm Sis Sharon. God knew I needed this “Rhema Word” from on high this morning. I have been holding UNFORGIVENESS in my heart towards my boyfriend (soon to be husband) for words he has said and things he has done. But he has begged for my forgiveness and apologized and have been trying to be the better person and I have not been giving my all in return. I then have the audacity to ask the Lord to FORGIVE me when I do wrong or mess up!!😭. I know God’s Word says before I present my gifts, if I have alt against my brother to go and make peace(reconcile) then come back and present my request. I truly thank God for using u as His vessel and the Holy Spirit has convicted me. Please pray my strength in the Lord as I proceed to do right and forgive and make amends. God bless your ministry beyond measures beautiful WOG!!😇🥰

  13. Thank you for this devotion. The sentence there is a difference between foreignness and trust resonated with me. On May 3 of this year, I took the difficult step of separating physically from my husband. After 4 years of a downward spiral of addition and abuse, I knew I needed to get myself to a safe place where I could heal. It was SO hard for me to do! I took that step to take care of myself. God has been incredibly faithful during this time to provide guidance and healing. I spend many hours immersed in devotions, Bible study and recovery work of Alanon. God has provided wise counselors to me; a sponsor and a therapist. What has changed during these 4 months? I have changed and continue to be changed. Learning there is a difference between forgiveness and trust is huge for me! Learning how to forgive is huge for me (it doesn’t mean I trust blindly). Learning when and how I can trust (I’m still very much learning) is huge for me. It is comforting to read your post today to help me along my path. Do I know what I am to do next? The guidance I receive is keep doing what you are doing.

  14. Hi Sharon,
    I really needed to hear this today. I’ve been struggling for a long time with PTSD from some sexual assaults in my life and some inappropriate attention paid toward me from a father and a brother. The PTSD gives me flashbacks of inappropriate attention from the offenders and it’s so hard to forgive when I relive the ugliness day in and day out. Reading your article that said forgiveness is immediate but trust needs to be rebuilt with consistent good behavior, essentially, gave me peace. I really needed to hear that because I was feeling very bitter over the lack of justice I received in my life from the attention paid toward me and the harm that it’s done over so many years. I literally have a tightness and pain in my chest from all the bitterness and anger that I carry. You’re an amazing writer and I love your scriptural insights. God bless you for what you do, and keep doing it!

  15. My friend and I have been going through your book “Enough” together and last night was on the chapter called “I’m worthless”. I have abandonment issues with my father which has led to issues with my husband. I have tried to deal with both of these issues before and I’ve prayed and prayed. These issues will go away for awhile but they came back after reading that chapter……I guess I hadn’t dealt with it like i should……ie….forgiven the offenders. And then today this email from you came in my in-box and i read it and prayed the prayer to forgive both of them. Thank you allowing God to use you in this way. I’m learning that forgiveness is a process….a daily thing….please pray that the Lord will continue to work on me and in my life to be the woman that He has called me to be.🥰🥰🥰

  16. I have a family member that continues to push my buttons. Uses my mother’s dementia to do so. Having my mother in memory care during Covid has made things more complicated. I live part time in another state from my mother. The expectations of me seem really unfair. I try to pray for this family member daily, I feel she has torn our family apart. I will try again to let this go. Some days I feel I have accomplished forgiveness and then the button pushing starts again. (3 years now) I feel this is a form of abuse. Truly wish I could mend the bridge that has been broken With family members and have tried many times. I’m to the point that I just don’t think I care anymore. Worn out with all of it. Thank you for this devotional today.

  17. My sweet, soft spoken husband of 28 years(at that time) suddenly changed. I found texts that were not appropriate of a married man in his phone. I reacted with quick judgement, shamed him, told everyone, and kicked him out. I was angry, hurt and bitter. Six months later I cried out to God for the first time ever. I said why would he do this? God touched my spirit. He revealed it was Satan. I began to fight for my family. My unforgiveness had driven my husband further away. Four years later I am standing in the covenant of my marriage still fighting. My family is unrecognizable from the big joyful family we were. But God tells me he will repay double. Forgive, should have been my first reaction and I would not be in this battle.

  18. I need to read this everyday as a reminder. My spouse was unfaithful early In our marriage and I believe it has happened more than that one time but I only have real proof of the first time. He is verbally abusive and uses language he should not use as a professing Christian. I find it hard to forgive repetitive behavior and let go of the past. But I know to forgive releases me from bitterness and unhappiness. Please pray for me.

  19. I was touched by your words as I am in an “unequally yoked” marriage and my husband makes no bones about how he resents that I care more about Jesus than him. I didn’t defend myself and I try to realized that he needs the Lord. I do pray for him to have a softened heart to receive God’s grace. Before we married he even attended church functions and even the Easter service, but it must have been a ruse to give me hope that he would soon give his heart to the Lord. Time forward to 23 years of marriage and his abusive words come every other day about how I’m weak and unable to take care of the house. I feel so insecure and several times I spent extensive time with my son’s family to bond with the grandchildren. He was very upset and felt I’d abandoned him, although he said initially it was okay with him. God is working in my life to totally rely upon him. He’s not physically abusive, but his caustic remarks have bruised my soul. He is a good man and charming when he wants to be, but his expectations and sense of entitlement have become evident that I’m not a person he likes to be around. Being together with the Pandemic has magnified the problems. I do pray for him daily. He is a cancer survivor as well. Thanks for your article that gives me hope.

  20. Oh how much I needed this today…everyday… Feb 2018 my husband left, things were not always great but I felt secure. I felt the Lord telling me love him through it…so i did. In November 2018, he came home. I thought i had forgiven him…but that year keeps playing over and over in my head…so have I? I totally get, forgiveness and trust are not the same. I find myself thinking of things he said and wondering if his love is real for me or just afraid our children (my biological, his step) would never speak to him again..(which someone said he said). Our physical intimacy is not passionate and communication is better but not where I feel it should be. So your words of ”
    “…unmet expectations, and hurt feelings that rub us the wrong way and leave us feeling rather raw.. being able to forgive past offenses and let go of past hurts is an essential component for growing a strong marriage or maintaining lasting friendships that last a lifetime.”..resonant deep within me… AM I THE REASON…we are stuck? All prayers appreciated…i love him and desire only a Godly marriage.

  21. For years I have struggled to really understand forgiveness, but this right here really helped me more than ever before. I really appreciate this devotional. It was right on time and exactly what I needed to let some things go. My prayer is that I will live a life free of unforgiveness!

  22. This was spot on. I have been married 33 years. Not all pleasant. There has been abuse both physical and mental. After my husband’s last motorcycle accident, where he nearly died, he can still be abusive. Although now it is mostly verbal. I pray everyday to forgive him but it is so hard. There have been times even during this pandemic that I have just wanted to leave but I stay. Sometimes I don’t know why. My husband knows the Lord but his version of some things in the bible are his version not God’s. So I will continue to pray that this marriage can improve and we will be together peacefully in the future. That’s all I seem to hang on to now.

  23. When your mate betrays you and claims he loves you it’s tough, especially when you love him with all your heart. You try to make him see he is destroying your trust. It went on for years. I wanted to be free and yet could not leave. After many years we lost a son. He made a total turn around. He stopped staying out, he wanted to be in church, he wanted to know Jesus better. We continued in a good marriage until he died with Cancer. Did I continue to love him? Yes because I couldn’t stop. Did he love me, yes. Did I forgive, yes. Did I trust, no. He had destroyed trust. Did I remind him, no. We were married 62 years. I still struggle with the hurts. I pray everyday and have put it in God’s hands. Can I forget? No, I wish I could. I forgive because God has forgiven me. He’s been deceased almost two years. I will love him forever, but I don’t know how to forget.

  24. Loved this! So many times I have encouraged an in-law to release the past and forgive in order to find peace within herself. But I never thought of the ‘roped to the back’ metaphor; did not know the Greek application. Thank you!

  25. This phrase “Now that I’ve made the decision, I depend on you to provide the feeling. ” from the prayer just gave me goose bumps.

    It’s such a relief knowing that I don’t have to CONTROL the feeling, only the decision. I forgave my ex-husband and best friend years and years ago, and usually I feel a sense of peace about it, but those pesky feelings can sneak right back in. Not today, Satan! I’ve already made the decision, and with the Comforter’s help, I can manage the feelings, in Jesus’ Name.

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