By Peggy Still—

Someone has hurt you and you didn’t deserve it. When we invest ourselves in personal relationships we become vulnerable to potential hurt. How does the hurt heal? Forgiving the one who has hurt you is the beginning, and is essential to spiritual freedom. Without forgiveness we are forever controlled by the hurt and unable to attain spiritual maturity. Is it even fair to ask that we forgive those that have hurt us? Forgiveness challenges our sinful nature. Seeking revenge seems more of a natural reaction.

Lewis Smedes, in Forgive and Forget, describes four stages of forgiveness. The first stage is the hurt, when someone causes you pain so deep that you cannot forget it. The second stage is hate. You cannot escape the memory of the pain and wish that person to suffer as much as you are suffering. The third phase is healing. Your memory begins to heal and you see the person through spiritual eyes. This is where true forgiveness begins. The fourth and final stage is reconciliation. You invite the person back into your life to rebuild your relationship.

Unless we have traveled through all four stages and are willing to freely forgive, we become stuck in bitterness. Harboring anger against those who have hurt us hold us back from growing in our relationship with God. The words of this old hymn published by Fanny J. Crosby in 1869 paint a word picture of a healing stream flowing down from the cross where Christ was sacrificed for our hurts. When we stand at the foot of that cross and let the healing blood of Calvary flow over us, the hurt and pain disappear, allowing forgiveness to flow from us to those who have hurt us.

             Jesus, keep me near the cross,

            There a precious fountain—

            Free to all, a healing stream—

            Flows from Calvary’s mountain.


            In the cross, in the cross,

            Be my glory ever;

            Till my raptured soul shall find

            Rest beyond the river.

Having learned to forgive we release love’s ultimate power, and we are stronger for it. Forgiveness releases the healing stream that helps us move from justification to sanctification; from bitterness to relationship; from living in the desert to crossing the Jordan; from counseling to deliverance.





Peggy2Peggy is embarking on a new career in mid-life. A featured speaker for women’s groups and retreats, she is the author of hundred of devotionals and articles in a variety of areas of interest to women. Married to Mark for 36 years, they have one daughter and raised two foster children. Peggy and Mark make their home in southern California.



  1. 5-7-2014

    Thanks Peggy for a solid road to follow out of bitterness.

  2. 5-7-2014

    Thank you, Peggy.
    C.S. Lewis once said, “Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive.”
    May we follow the healing stream of forgiveness by God’s grace – especially when we are the ones who need to forgive!

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