Have you ever had those moments when, after you thought you had forgiven someone, the pain and resentment of their actions bubbles to the surface again? Maybe you run into them at the store and you try to avoid them. Perhaps a past thought triggers you and all the painful things they did come flooding into your mind.

Well, you’re not alone. When this happens, I think we have the tendency to be so hard on ourselves, believing that we never really forgave the other person. We think, “What’s my problem?” Then we go through our prayer of forgiveness once again.

If you read “Forgiveness is Painful“, you learned that forgiveness involves the painful process of acknowledging our hurt and processing through the emotions we experienced because of the hurt. Through this process, we can uncover layers of hurt, which necessitates layers of forgiveness. The process to fully forgive can be a long one.

For example, many of us have experienced parental abandonment. It may have just been one act of a parent walking out on his or her family, but it affects the child beyond that one time event. While we may have forgiven our parent for leaving us, we will continue to encounter moments in our lives where it affects us in different ways. In each of those moments where we think, “I wish my dad would have been here for me” or “If only my mom would have been around to teach me these things”, we need to acknowledge the pain, grieve our loss, and forgive once again.

Next time you cringe at the thought of a particular person or find yourself upset over the same painful event, just pause and pray. God, what are you trying to show me? Don’t be afraid to revisit that place and process what you’re going through. You may need to cry a bit. Maybe you need to get angry (not in front of the person!). Feel the feelings, then move on. Forgive.