This is What You Need to Remember When They Choose Not to Forgive You.

This is What You Need to Remember When They Choose Not to Forgive You.

There are times we hurt others. Whether purposefully or inadvertently, it makes little difference. We have still damaged another through our own actions, and so we seek to make that right. It hurts us to know we have hurt another; we ask forgiveness and seek restoration in the hope to receive grace from those we have wronged.


We hope for the best outcome. We hope for what we perceive as fair.


Sometimes though, we don’t receive forgiveness, no matter how sorry we are. No matter how much we try and make it right. And it’s hard to accept, it’s hard to let go of the injustice we feel at not being granted the forgiveness we had so hoped for.


But this is what we need to remember.


Their forgiveness isn’t your responsibility.


Your responsibility is this: To admit your mistakes. To own your actions. To seek forgiveness. To make right the things you can. To let go of the things you can’t. To learn, to grow, to recognise behaviours in you that have hurt others and change them. To mindfully choose to be a better person, and take necessary action required for that to happen.


But their forgiveness isn’t your responsibility.


We don’t get to control the way others think of us or what they choose to believe about us. We can stand before them with our heart in our hands and ask them to see it – to see us – for who we are and not for what we’ve done. But we can’t make someone forgive us who is determined to only believe the worst of us. Who is determined to hold tight to their judgement, their bitterness, their animosity.  


This is a hard lesson for people like us to learn.


People like us, who believe in forgiveness. Who give second chances. Who understand the human condition, the way we fail and fall. Who choose to believe people are good, and that until we have walked a mile in their shoes, we will never fully understand the choices they have made. Nor the mistakes they have made, and why they have made them.


We are people who believe mercy triumphs over judgement, and we choose to love others with grace and with second chances, understanding the frailty of our own humanity. And it can be hard to accept there are people who don’t live like this, who don’t love like this.  


But what matters is these people aren’t our judges, nor are they our jury. We don’t belong in their courtroom.


What they choose to believe about us is their choice, and who we are isn’t dictated by who they try and make us believe we are.


When we have taken responsibility for our actions, when we have owned our wrongs and sought to make them right, when we have asked forgiveness and reached for reconciliation, then we have done all we need to do. We are no longer bound by their unforgiveness but can walk away knowing we are worthy of our own grace, even when they are unwilling to extend theirs.


What others choose to believe of us is not the truth. It is only their opinion. Only their judgement. Only the evidence of their unenlightened heart.


Their forgiveness isn’t your responsibility.


We don’t always get the outcome we hope for.


But when we have done all we can do, it’s no longer our burden to carry. Just because someone isn’t willing to forgive us, it doesn’t make us unforgivable. Unshackled from the chains of their unforgiveness, we can now run free under skies of grace and redemption.


We can now rise strong.

Written by Kathy Parker

( with permission)

Kathy Parker is a Warrior. Dreamer. Creator. Writer. Fighter of all that is beautiful and good. Advocator for the underdog. Truth-teller. Empath. Passionate soul. Lover of land and ocean. Coffee drinker. Gentle spirit. Sensitive soul. Wild heart. Survivor. She is a freelance writer, blogger for HuffPost Australia, and columnist for elephant journal who is currently writing her first manuscript.

Married to a farmer in the Limestone Coast of South Australia, she is also a mother to four astonishing children.

Find out more about Kathy at her blog:


Related Articles


  1. Thank you for that. There are also those who have hurt you and will not say they are sorry either. So much of what you say here is true in those instances too.

  2. Thank you for sharing. This has hit home with me 100%. Different phrases I’ve been going through with thoughts all over the place. After reading what you wrote has given me a better understanding. Appreciate it 🙂

  3. Thank you for your letter of self forgiveness.

    I made a decision to end a relationship with someone who is a narcissist and impossible to understand. It’s been a few months and I often reflect if I broke things off to soon or misread the signs from my partner.

    We dated for 18 months and I was under constant scrutiny. rejection and pressure to keep this person happy. The problem was I couldn’t keep this person happy regardless of the amount of love, attention, affection, admiration, etc that I showered on them.

    I drew a personal line in the sand and it was crossed a number of times until I finally said enough. Please know that all of this abuse was mental and emotional, never physical. The ridicule and demonstrative treatment got to me.

    Now fast forward 2.5 months later, I hear from this person on how I hurt them, how I destroyed their life and how I “walked away” without even a word. I made the mistake of answering the email and text message and now their words play in my mind. I pray every single morning and night for this person (and everyone else) and I asked that their heart be healed and their mind calmed.

    All of this leads to me not being able to forgive myself for protecting myself. If I could do it all over again, I wonder if I would or wouldn’t…

    Thank you.

  4. Amazing article. You forgive others then you forgive yourself. Everyone’s window is different so is their path. I suppose you try to seek first to understand a person and not pass judgment.

  5. I too have dealing with emotional issues from being with someone who has Narrcisistic Tendancies. ( As you see I did not say this person has that for I am not a Dr to diagnose it. But if you read a book. It’s like he lived that book word for word) I was very emotionally damaged by this person diagnosed with PTSD because of this person. And yes I forgive this person. Not for them but for me and me only. Why because I refuse to drag any more of the heavy weight he/she laid on my shoulders. I deserve better and I don’t have to carry it anymore because I forgave him or her for me. That feels so good to said I did something for me. I used to never do things for me. I thought it would be selfish. When you have been used and realize it was all fake it’s time to get back to you and move on. Again it feels so good not to have to carry that anger and sadness anymore.

  6. Thank you for this article. I said things on an answer phone and my son wont forgive me. But All of what I said reiterated the treatment I got from his and his wife. If you cannot at least defend your mother then theres no hope. This boy was treated as best I could. Whereas my mother was narc against me. But I could not walk out on her as deep inside she was my mother. Yes I could keep my distance but when she was alone in a home I couldnt leave her sitting there even though my whole life with her left me without any confidence. Ive kinda tried to sort that and dont think of it as much as hey I am now 65, but my sone seems to have put his wife and her money before me. I never thought he would have taken after his father who also abondoned me when pregnant with him and went for the easier women and life. Its only been maybe 5 or 6 months but strangely I am coming to terms with it. I have left messages and sent an email all apologising and trying to let him understand I a was in a bad place at the time by a lot of his behaviour and his wifes tooand the governments agency who turned on me like a dog when they didnt need me and took word of fostercarer from health. Happy to say that grandson has the best foster carer you could ask for and he is treated as one of her family who are grown up but they also adore hi. The one who has my grandaughter has agency tendancies and was allowed to move her boyfriend in to her home when my grandaughter was about 12 or 13 in the next bedroom. Sorry im not a prude but these children should not be exposed to that.
    But I think some folk like to dish it out but dont like being reminded of it. Il give one example and wont go into detail. I had a hard time with government agency when I became ill and couldnt look after my grandchildren properly. The cause was my illness and them not getting to school on time. But they were clean and well fed. The agency put me down re a fostercarer from hell. Anyway I am thinking that this has been held against me by my daughterinlaw and her family. I might be wrong. But I wasnt allowed to be alone with my grandaughter their child whom I adored. I think there was jealousy too on m
    his wifes part But after not leaving me alone or letting me take the baby out for a walk in her pram \they left a cup of hot tea with no milk in it and the wee lamb climed up as toddlers and got scalded and was in hospital for over a week. What I said to him was that I reared him up and his 2 siblings and my 2 grandchildren with another 2 grandkids being dumped on me on occasions so that I had 4 all under the age of 3. I And non of them got scalded. God forgive me for saying it but there was the anger coming out for them treating me the way they did. I was off my antidepressants for 2 days and im not a drinker but had had either one or two glasses of wine. So when he wasnt returning my grandsons calls then I am afraid I let him have it in words. I also told him what I thought of his wife and family. They come from another country a very cold country but I dont think it was a culture thing. Sorry for all of this but I have to get on with my life and keep healthy for my other 2 granchildren who are in foster care and one of them is especially close to me and the other one that the agency banned me from seeing , well she regularly fones me to say she will be up to see me. She is 16 and legally make up her own mind without being bullied by these monsters who ruin families and they had a part in all of this. Thankyou for reading.xx

  7. My prayers go out for you to heal from all this with no scars and be happy to get up everyday with hope to awake to face another day you might be able to help others along your way as you’ve always done in the past. Be your loving self and at peace with who you are. You are a good person. God Bless you always. I read that Pope John (??#) said “the purpose of life is to love and to learn.” Be happy with life – don’t worry – give the worry part to Him. Worry gets you nowhere and so does shoulda, coulda, woulda.

  8. I’ve left my husband after 14 years he has helped me raised my 3 boys as his own .I been gone 8 months and we both sleep with other people now .I’ve come home now how do I get him to forgive me for I lifted him and had another man .I live him I do but he acts like a child with our boys sometimes and things has just changed since we met .His is bothering us even our church she comes in God is the only one who can fix us are did I make a mistake of coming back

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button
%d bloggers like this: