Do You Know What Unforgiveness Costs? Learning To Forgive Benefits More Than Just You

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Have you ever found it difficult to forgive? Someone really hurt you and it just keeps coming back. You try to let it go, but you find yourself thinking about that incident–again…rolling it over and over in your mind.

It can be hard to forgive.

Sometimes I find it easier to change when I know the fruit. How does my decision to hold onto unforgiveness affect me–or others?

Heb 12:15 AMP

See to it that no one falls short of God’s grace; that no root of resentment springs up and causes trouble, and by it, many be defiled;

What is the root of resentment?

Resentment comes when we let unforgiveness go to the next level. We don’t let it go. I could roll into a song we all know, but I love you too much to torment you with that.

Resentment in some translations is bitterness. Just the word sounds unappetizing leaving an unpleasant taste in my mouth.

The dictionary says this about bitter: having a harsh, disagreeably acrid taste; or, hard to bear; grievous; distressful.

Unforgiveness can appear a harmless thing. It only affects the one who holds the unforgiveness right?

I hate to spoil your childlike faith, but the answer is no.

Unforgiveness is like an infection. It affects the whole body.

Unforgiveness doesn’t just affect us. It doesn’t just affect the person we have an issue with. Unforgiveness affects many.

Photo by Nicolas Cool on Unsplash

Photo by Nicolas Cool on Unsplash

Let’s look at the second part of the verse.

“That no root of resentment springs up and causes trouble, and by it, many be defiled;”

The word many in this scripture means a great number. However, it has an emphasized added to it that means not just many but a TREMENDOUS amount.

When we hold onto unforgiveness allowing it to turn to resentment or bitterness, it affects not just a few people, but a tremendous amount of people. Ouch! That’s sobering.

But, let’s dig a little deeper.

When we let unforgiveness take root in our lives, the scripture says it “causes trouble.”

Causes trouble in the Greek fascinating.

It means a tumultuous crowd– a mob; vex someone with the force of a raging mob (a mighty momentum carrying someone along).

Can you picture it–our unforgiveness vexing others with a force of a raging mob!

It’s like the mob footage you’ve seen when their soccer team wins. The crowd is flipping over cars, setting fires, looting. Absolute mayhem.

If we let our unforgiveness take root, it mobs other people. It robs from them, it flips their lives upside down, it sets fire to the things they love. No one is ever the same.

Wow–that makes me pause and contemplate–am I holding on to any unforgiveness in my life? Have I let it take root?

Let’s go one step further. As if a vexing mob wasn’t enough right?

Scripture says, “by it, many be defiled.”

We’ve already learned that many are a tremendous amount of people affected. But, what does it mean to defile?

Defile in the Greek means, to stain (with paint or dye); figuratively it means to stain (defile) the soul.

Our unforgiveness stains the souls it comes in contact with.

It reminds me of the color run. By-standers throw paint on the those that run by staining them with a rainbow of colors. They use paint that comes off. But, when we allow our unforgiveness to stain someone’s soul, it doesn’t come out so easily.

Photo by Adam Whitlock on Unsplash

Photo by Adam Whitlock on Unsplash

So, let me explain... No, there is too much. Let me sum up. …

Unforgiveness turns into bitterness and resentment when we let it take root; when we don’t let it go. Then, bitterness acts like an irrational mob descending like an avalanche overtakes the mountain (or a crazy mob in the streets) destroying everyone and everything in its path.

This bitterness not only hurts us, but it also defiles a tremendous amount of people along the way. Literally, staining their souls bringing fear, anger, resentment, unrest, and all kinds of pain.

God is a God of grace. If we’ve let bitterness take root, we can ask forgiveness, we can choose to let it go. But, I want you to realize the damage has been done. Others have been defiled / polluted / stained by our choice to allow the root of bitterness to grow.

So what do we do?

Go to the person you have an issue with and make it right.

If you’re unable to go to the person directly, say a prayer of forgiveness. Put your foot down and say, no more. You choose to forgive and let it go.

Go to anyone who has been “stained” in the wake.

Ask forgiveness. It will help them forgive and clean off that paint that’s stained them.

One more thought I want to leave with you.

Start by not letting unforgiveness take root. Pull it up before those roots grow deep.

The easiest way to forgive is to remember the grace given to us.

Our Heavenly Father gave His only Son so we could be forgiven. He has made us the righteousness in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). We didn’t deserve it, but He gave it anyway.

When you choose to offer to others the same grace God offers to you, you’ll find it so much easier to let it go.

Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door

You know, that actually is quite fitting…hehehehehe


Is there anything that jumped out to you during our discussion on unforgiveness? Is there anything you want to take to heart?


The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances by Andy Andrews *

The Butterfly Effect: How Your Life Matters by Andy Andrews *

The Big Misunderstanding About Forgiveness (And What It’s REALLY Costing Us) a blog post by Andy Andrews

How God Wants You to Approach Him Even Knowing What You’ve Done Wrong a blog post by Heather Bunch

*Book are affiliate links. I will receive a small commission if you purchase them.