Healing Your Heart When It’s Been Rubbed Raw

Sharon JaynesLovestruck 42 Comments

Three weeks ago, I wrote about forgiveness. Let’s go there one more time and see how we’re doing. Those hurt feelings may rise to the surface, making you think you haven’t truly forgiven. But remember, the decision to forgive happens in a moment, but the feelings take a while. When you feel the hurt, remind yourself that you have already forgiven the person who hurt you and move on. 

Just as a little reminder, let’s look at it once more time.

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 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). So let’s follow God’s instruction and start by praying. It may not turn a 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.

Fill in that blank as many times as you need. I love you, sister. You can do it!

Click here for a free download on the steps for forgiveness that you might want to keep handy.


This is not my usually topic to write about, but with the culture so backwards, I felt I needed to tackle the topic from a Biblical perspective.

For too long, the church’s message about sex has been “don’t do it” before marriage and “don’t talk about it” after. As a result, we have generations that are confused about what God really intended. 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. 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. It also has a companion Bible study for those brave enough to dive deeper.

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Comments 42

  1. I have been released finally over an argument I had with my father in law. His words were not true.

    Those words finally fell to the ground.

    We can hold towords or let them fall to the ground.

    I choose to take the labels off and let them fall to the ground.

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  2. Thank you for today’s message. It was right on target. I’ve been working on forgiving (long-story) my family’s stalker. I have forgiven him, but sometimes those old feelings creep back, especially when he does something to try to find us again.

  3. How do you truly forgive a stranger who murdered your child because of your child’s own wife? He was only 25. It feels like betraying him to even consider forgiving his murderer. I find I can forgive anyone anything who wrongs ME but five years later, my heart is still raw with this.

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      That would be one of the hardest things to ever go through. All I can say is don’t let that man murder your heart too. Don’t give him that much power. Cut him loose from your back and place the burden of retribution on God’s shoulders. He will take care of it.

    2. My best girl friend is dealing with this same exact issue, I am so sorry you have to walk the line of choosing forgiveness or avenging your child’s life. I have a very hard time doing just that and her attacker spared her life. I am going to add you to my prayer list Lavoynne.

  4. Thank you. It is hard to forgive….hurt can run deep. I do feel a weight lifted when we forgive.

    I still work on the forgetting part….I have come a long ways with more to go.

  5. I had a babysitter who over stepped her boundaries and came between myself, daughter, granddaughter. It got really ugly. Then she had the nerve to call me the next day and ask if I was all right. I told her how I felt and hope she never experiences this herself. I have forgiven her but she will never get to do me that way again. I hope she sees what she did and doesn’t make that mistake again. I feel much better after I have forgiven her and I wish my other daughters would forgive her too because they let this define them everyday and I tell them it’s not worth it. Thank you so much for sharing this.

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  6. I have been trying to forgive an X husband for years. I had just forgiven him (truly) and your blog was the icing on the cake! Isn’t God just awesome!

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  7. I am so struggling with this very thing. I feel so betrayed by my husband that cheated on me 3 years ago. I told him I forgave him even though he never apologized for it. I was feeling as though the betrayal was so painful and hard (and continued even after confronted with it) that it has been difficult to move on. I have blamed myself saying that it must be my fault – I did something to deserve this. But the truth is I did nothing wrong. However, I see more clearly now that maybe it is not forgiveness I am struggling with – but trust. That is so hard. Especially when the man you have been married to for 25 years betrays you in so many ways – relationally, financially – really in every way. I know I can move forward and have been doing Biblical counseling for almost a year now – but am still struggling. Will the marriage ever go back to the way it was? Maybe I am still devastated? Maybe I just need to trust again – but I need some effort on his part to trust – some changes in behavior? Did I understand this correctly? Why does life have to be so hard? Ugggggg Thank you for your words – I think it does clarify some for me.

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      Yep. Trust takes time. It is built back with consistent right behavior. I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this.

    2. Forgiveness is not amnesia. It’s good that you see that it’s a matter of trust. Have you discussed the forgiveness/trust matter with your counselor?
      We are often quick to say it’s our fault because we simply cannot comprehend that the behavior is coming from one we had trusted and loved for years.
      May you see your way clear to a path forward.

  8. It’s amazing all our struggles are different and yet the same antidote is forgiveness for everyone. I have been separated from my husband for eight years married 25. God is calling us back together ,it’s a slow process ..I have been learning how to forgive him as we’ve been separated God has been healing!my heart, not so much, his heart. I am trusting God will heal him in Gods time.. as for now, I just trust God and continue moving forward in my marriage, knowing that God is the great healer and I am not. I thank you for this great reminder that God is not finished with us yet.! blessings to all! ✝️💯

  9. God is Amazing! I have been talking about forgiveness all week! And I get to choke my down my forgiveness. My mothers funeral is today and my ex is planning on being there. Which is OK by me; I truly believe there’s no right there’s no wrong anymore but it’s been hard on my present day husband. 🙏🏼 Today we get to honor our privilege of forgiveness. And move on.

  10. Thank you. I absolutely love the work picture you used. It’s a perfect visual. I am writing this in hope that it will help someone who may be walking where I’ve walked. 6 years ago my husband committed adultery with my sister. With A LOT of counseling and therapy I chose to forgive my husband and work toward reconciliation. He has done the hard work and trust has been restored. I will admit that on rare occasion fear raises it’s ugly head due to my leftover insecurities, but I just go to my Father and he walks with me through it. I have also forgiven my sister, but made a choice not to have a relationship with her. She did not ask for forgiveness, she did not take responsibility and doesn’t care about trust and can’t be trusted. Why would I choose relationship with anyone like that, sister or not? Always choose forgiveness, but relationship is not required and sometimes totally unhealthy!

  11. Thanks Sharon for your article on forgiveness! It reminded me of how important it is to forgive which I know is that I have to do in order to be healthy spiritually!

  12. I love the imagery of cutting the person loose. Because for some things you can literally do that and just not look back. It cuts loose all the ties with the person if needed. What I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around is when someone comes to you. They heard a sermon on forgiveness, spoke with their pastor, prayed…and they come to you saying they forgive you. But what they are forgiving you for is basically not doing things the way they wanted them done. And because of their attitude and behavior created discord and broken relationships in the family (in this case). Which now almost seems to make it worse because they are the ones if anything needed to be asking for forgiveness. But they didn’t do anything wrong in their viewpoint. This actually made the situation worse!

  13. I have forgiven my son for our troubles. How do I proceed to get him to forgive me? I have t seen him in a year. Haven’t seen my grandchildren in almost 2 years. I have reached out with no response, he is a Christian and that’s what makes it hard for me that he isn’t showing Christian love. My grandchildren are little so they have no say so. He has also cut off my other family members that he was very close to.

  14. The part about praying for your “enemy” reminded me of something that God had me do many, many years ago, but that I’ve applied many times since. I had a sister who turned out not to be who I thought she was and I was so hurt and angry and felt so betrayed. I kept hearing messages through sermons and devotions and the Bible about praying for my enemies, but I didn’t want to hear them. Finally one day, I “heard” God say “Pray for her for 7 days.” Boy, that was the last thing I wanted to do, but I wanted to please God. The first day, all I could say through clenched teeth and a tight jaw was “Lord, bless my sister.” However, over the next six days, I found my prayers to be more and more full of blessing and grace and mercy towards my sister (thank You, Holy Spirit!!) and by the end of the week, the captive that got set free was me. The burden of being angry had been lifted. I wish I could say that was the last time I had to pray like that for that particular sister, but it wasn’t, but it wasn’t nearly as hard as the first time. Hope this helps someone. ❤

  15. One word pornography. As you ladies know that have had to research and deal with this in your marriage its tentacles reach out in every area of life and is serious. I found out when I was 37, 15 years into the marriage and 2 beautiful children. My husband had the disease long before he met and married me. I thought it was out if the marriage, but 3 years ago I found something on my husband’s phone. It had never left. I am now 62 years young. The marriage has always been rough. A very unpleasant experience saying the least. Porn has been out of the picture for 3 years. My husband and I are both trying to save this marriage, of course only with God’s help. I have forgiven, I also know there are no guarantees with something like this. I do not trust and don’t have the warm fuzzy feelings that I would like to have for more spouse. I want to do what’s right (God’s way because it is right. But If porn returns and I will know , I am so educated this time around, I will leave. It has been a very hard storm. But it is not who I am! God’s beloved daughter! All Glory and Honor to God!

  16. Thank you so much for sharing about forgiveness. Ive told myself in th past/present ive forgiven this person but I dont think I truly did until I read your devotion. 2years ago (2021) I felt so hurt by my best friend of 14yrs – been friends since high school. We’ve been thru a lot as friends including finding forgiveness to be friends always.. This was the the last straw for me though.

    2021 was a real rough year for me, one of my lowest but most rewarding, all glory to God for my daughter. I had my daughter at 27weeks old (14 Jan 2021) and so she was in NICU for 6months, discharge July 2021. My former bestfriend informed me she was pregnant in July when my daughter came home from nicu. I was so happy for her and her husband etc. At the end of the year she had her gender reveal, and I was not invited. I found out on Facebook when she posted the video of her gender reveal that she was having a baby girl. This is the girl who made me her maid of honor 2020. Anyway, this really hurt me, esp she knew I had a rough year emotionally, physically & mentally with my daughter being in nicu. From that day I distant myself from her since. I felt it was time to let go of that friendship, so I did. We still friends on social media tho

  17. Oh Sharon….I’m so glad you’re “harping” on this forgiveness issue. In leading my ladies Bible Study, we are sharing that we, as Christian women, seem to have a gift for being offended and holding grudges — all the while knowing how STRONG the Word is from the Lord to forgive so we will be forgiven. It’s almost as if we don’t believe those words. I’m struggling with my own forgiveness and the lack of feelings of said forgiveness. Thank you for getting after us gals. I praise God for your faithful words!

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      I love that…we have the gift of being offend. Isn’t that the truth. Lord have mercy! Give yourself a hug for me today!

  18. Sharon, thank you for being a willing participant in God’s plan. You being obedient and doing this devotional helps many of us who sometimes feel alone and lost. We need that vulnerability and honesty within the church.

    I also needed this today. Thank you for saying we need a daily reminder that we have given our situation to God and it no longer belongs to us. It is VERY HARD, but we have a God who is BIGGER than “it”. 1st- I was emotionally hurting my daughter the same way my father did to me. 2nd- I, too, have been in a healing process of my husband’s infidelity. Currently in the separation stage which God used to get rid of sooo many “survival habits” I thought were normal. God has used these painful situations to rid of things that were holding me back. I’m not sure what will happen in our marriage, but that isn’t my business- that’s God’s Will. I am now aware of what I shouldn’t do or say to my daughter. I have chosen to let Him drive. But it is HARD. All I know is that I’m so thankful I’m not the same person from 2 yrs ago. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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  19. My husband left me – so not my choice. I have forgiven him for the financial and sexual betrayal (porn) he admits to but yet he wants immediate trust. Also he is not committed to our marriage and uses blame and gaslighting (?) I believe. Passive aggressive for sure. I believe it’s emotional abuse at least but feel so weak to do things to take care of me. I am stronger each week. I have grown closer to God these last 22 months and for that I am grateful. My heart says try to work it out but if he wont take steps towards his own healing/himself and me/us then I am powerless. I have no education and no current income of my own. I am so intimidated by the thought of divorce. I do believe God has been healing me from childhood stuff that in the past caused me to control to try to find safety.(a counselor told me that…) being Critical and controlling did not help my marriage. He is furious w God and wont forgive me. I am heartbroken but I keep giving him my heart to step on.
    I really needed to hear this. So I have been allowing him to act single, praying for restoration of our marriage and waiting.

  20. Thank you Sharon. I am struggling with the estrangement of my son. He has been given an ultimatum by my daughter in law to choose between her or us. He is a good husband and father to a special needs child so I know what his decision will be. I pray not to let hatred and unforgiveness enter my heart.

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  21. Your message is very timely. Too many times people hurt me or I inadvertently hurt them and I find it hard to not beat myself up over it. I put situations/people in Gods hands asking God to for give them and not to hold it against them. But then I pick it up again when I share a situation …I ask God to bridle my tongue and give me a renewed spirit. Thanks for the reminder and emails

  22. The past has always been my problem. I spend my time wallowing in my misery. I’m slowly realizing that I need to let go of the past and need to trust God. The more I’m in the Word, the more it heals my hurts and wounds. I’m grateful for His word and also this article as it helps me address my problems. Thank you Sharon Jaynes!

  23. I need prayers for my husband Michael. It’s gotten very difficult to live with him. Although he has been going to church for over 25 years, he still goes back to repeating the destructive patterns that his parents set. He was recently hurt in the church and his anger has gotten worse.He sees me as the enemy as I try to only speak the truth in love. He is pushing me and the kids away. And now we are becoming angry with him. It’s a huge spiritual battle. It’s exhausting and very sad.
    If I chose church, he says that our marriage will end. We really need a miracle from Jesus to open his blind eyes and soften his hard heart. Praying that Jesus set him free from these strongholds!!!

  24. My ex abandoned me and our daughter 42 years ago and I still struggle with unforgiveness. It’s a life long struggle.
    I was convicted today that God forgave me and my unfogiveness makes me falsely think my feelings are more important than God’s.
    I know it’s a hindrance to getting my prayers answered and my ex is moving to my state with wife #3 in a week.
    I’m tired of them having power over my emotions and just the thought of them can ruin my day… IF I let them.

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