Do I Really Want to Forgive When Traumatized?

Why would anyone want to forgive when another has traumatized you? I would like to suggest a different perspective on trauma and forgiveness. It is not forgiveness itself that is creating the sense of fear or disgust or danger or moral evil. Instead, it is the grave emotional wounds which are leading to these thoughts and feelings about forgiveness. When people are wounded they naturally tend to duck for cover. When someoneFacing Trauma comes along with an outstretched hand and says, “Please come out, into the sunshine, and experience the warmth of healing,” it can be too much. We then blame the one with the outstretched hand or the warmth of the sun or anything else “out there” for our discomfort when all the while the discomfort is what is residing inside the person, not “out there.” And this reaction is all perfectly understandable, given the trauma.

If you experience a blown out a knee while working out, and it is gravely painful, is it not difficult to go to the physician? There you face all the sharp white-lights of the examining room, and the nurses scurrying about, and the statements about surgery and recovery and rehabilitation. It all seems to be too much. Yet, it is not the physician or the nurses or the thought of the scalpel or the rehab that is the ultimate cause of all the discomfort. That ultimate cause is the blown-out knee. Isn’t it the same with forgiveness? You have within you a deep wound, caused by others’ injustice, and now the challenge is to heal.

Forgiveness is one way to heal from the trauma which you did not deserve. Like the blown-out knee, the trauma needs healing. So, I urge you to separate in your mind the Forgiveness Heals Youwound from forgiveness itself. My first challenge to you, then, is this: Is it forgiveness itself that is the basic problem or is it the wound and then all the thoughts of what you will have to do to participate in the healing of that wound? Forgiveness heals. Forgiveness does not further traumatize. To forgive is to know that you have been treated unjustly and despite the injustice, you make the decision to reduce your resentment toward the offending person and eventually work toward mercy for him or her. That mercy can take the form of kindness, respect, generosity, and even love. Do you want that in you life—kindness, respect, generosity, and love? Forgiveness can help strengthen these in your heart or even begin to have them grow all over again for you. – Excerpt from the book, The Forgiving Life, Chapter 2. Robert

Please follow and like us:
Categories: Our Forgiveness Blog, Trauma, What Forgiveness is


  1. Elizabeth says:

    Even if forgiveness does cause some pain, I will take this any day of the week compared to the debilitating pain I can feel when I hold anger tightly and don’t let it go. This kind of pain really can bring a person down.

  2. Samantha says:

    Sometimes the pain of forgiveness is fear. Some are afraid to open that door of the heart to forgiveness because it seems like a risk too big to take. Yet, this pain of fear is small compared to resentment and hatred. Elizabeth’s point is well taken, that excessive anger can bring a person down.

  3. Deborah says:

    Forgiveness meets trauma head-on. It is very strong medicine for trauma and so we need not fear it. Forgiveness can heal people from the worst kind of trauma caused by other people.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *