Why is Forgiving So Hard? ~Guest Suzie Eller~



A few months ago, my precious friend and every year She Speaks roomie, Suzie Eller, asked me to read her new book. I know she asked for a favor, but the favor was really given to me.

Suzie’s new book, The Unburdened Heart, provides real tools to help set a heart free to live the life God created us to live! Suzie gives us just a glimpse into the truths unearthed in The Unburdened Heart:


1. Why is forgiveness so difficult?

It’s difficult because it involves people and it involves the way we feel. If we could just live in isolation, then maybe we’d never run into a difficult person, or open my heart to love someone and they disappoint, or maybe I’d never feel bad. Which is why many do isolate or retaliate when they are hurt; it makes sense.

But it also traps you, and keeps you stuck, and maybe no one sees that, but it plays out somewhere, whether in your relationships or inside where no one can see.

2. Why are you doing a free online study?

One of the things that I pray that The Unburdened Heart–and our online study–does is to help shift our perspective from “what was, to what can be”.

We know up front that we are going to face head-on some difficult challenges, or that we may crawl over a hurdle that has stood in the way for years, but one of the most powerful meanings of the word forgive is “to leave one place to go to another”.

To leave bitterness for joy.

To leave anger for peace.

To leave being stuck to discovering what God has for you today, rather than what you carried yesterday.

3. What does forgiveness mean? Does it mean just letting someone off the hook for what he/she did?

The foundational meaning is to “cease to feel resentment”. In a sense, we are able to get out of the debt collection business, which is freeing.

But there’s so much more to this word.

When I started my own personal journey to discover the diverse and powerful meanings of this word, I did so because it seemed like people would say something like, “Just forgive”, which only made a hundred more questions come up, like “does it mean they get off the hook?” or “they’ve changed but I can’t forget what they did”.

The deeper I got into this study, the more I realized that forgiveness is important to God, because people are important to God.

In the book, using the power of story and scripture, I share several different multi-layered meanings of this word found in scripture, and all of them lead us to freedom. It might not necessarily fix another person, or make them say they are sorry, or even provide justice that should have taken place, but the door is unlocked and you and I are free and no longer chained to an event, a person, or a time.

4. Why should I forgive, especially when I’ve been hurt badly and/or my offender isn’t sorry for what he/she did?

First, it’s important that we acknowledge that it’s hard to forgive when there’s no remorse, and you long for someone to say they are sorry. I don’t know how many women I’ve talked to that I’ve wrapped my arms around and said, “I wish that hadn’t happened to you. I’m so sorry that it did.”

But there are a lot of walking wounded whose offender may not be sorry, may not be remorseful (maybe they see it a different way, or through their own filter of pain, or maybe they don’t care), and yet this beautiful woman is still tied to that person or that period of time.

When I looked at my beautiful newborn child, I wanted her to have a healthy mom who wasn’t tied to the past, or filled with bitterness. I wanted to put a line in front of me and say, “it stops here”. I wanted my sweet girl to grow up in stability. But if there were cords that still tied me to the past, I was going to struggle to give her that.

It wasn’t easy. I didn’t know what or how to do it way back then. I just knew that for some reason every time I prayed that God would help me give my child something greater, the word forgive seemed to be the most important first step to take.

So, regardless of another person’s willingness or unwillingness, we offer up what we have to God and that might just look like this: God, I have no clue where you are taking me, or what you want me to do, but I’m willing to take this journey. So I offer up my heart to you today, regardless of whether anyone else has signed up for this journey or not.

To me, surrendering to the process is the most incredible act of faith.

5. I thought I forgave the offender, but negative thoughts and emotions still keep coming up. Why is this, and what do I do about it?

When I was in the beginning stages of forgiving, I would let thoughts just pour over my heart.

I thought about what I would say next. I would think about setting a person straight. I would put myself in a good light, and the other person in a negative light. Pretty soon I was in stuck in those thoughts and emotions. It wasn’t a healthy place, because it didn’t do anything to work through the conflict. It didn’t do anything but feed my anger or bitterness.

One day I felt God asking me to leave that unhealthy place.

I promised God that when I went to that unhealthy place where nothing was ever resolved and it kept me stuck, that I’d recognize it as such.

When that took place, it was a good time to look at why I felt the way I did, and if there was anything in my power that I could do. And if not, then how could I invite God into that moment and that feeling, where He could take up residence and fill in the raw places in my heart.


Thank you so much for investing in us today, Suzie! Learn more about The Unburdened Heart and Suzie at her site http://tsuzanneeller.com/. Today, I’m giving away a signed copy of Suzie’s new book, The Unburdened Heart. To enter for a chance to win this book, just share in the comments below which one of these points were most helpful to you! I’ll share today’s winner next week!



  1. dena stokes says:

    #5….I keep finding myself upset and hurt and praying to God to take those feelings away. I am going to start praying from a different perspective…thank you!!!

  2. #5 really helped me because I have forgiven many things but find moments when I still battle anger or bitterness towards the person. Learning to not dwell in those moments has been a major key in the forgiving process.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Number 5 is the most helpful to me because I am currently stuck on this. I am having a lot of trouble with the thoughts that are feeding my anger. I am really struggling with forgiveness!

  4. Lisa Hedaria says:

    #5 spoke the most to me as most days I’m good but a negative thought will sometimes creep up and I wonder, where did that come from, I thought I forgave this person so I’m asking God to work through it one more time! I felt ALL points spoke to me for my mom. She has been divorced from my father for almost 40 yrs and she just won’t let it go no matter what my brother and I say so I am getting this book and will give it to her and pray she will read it and forgive.

  5. Susan Douglas says:

    #5- Remembering to invite God into that moment and that feeling, where He could take up residence and fill in the raw places in my heart – by a moment by moment basis – is what I am currently working on. The hard part is remembering that I just need to say “Jesus” when those thoughts come flooding in again! Thank you for the encouragement. Just what my wounded heart and I needed reminding of today.

  6. Vanessa M. Straub says:

    #5. I thought I had forgiven someone that hurt me and I know I hurt them and asked for forgiveness many years ago and recently bad thoughts and feeling about that person have surfaced again and I’m not sure why. What did I do wrong?

  7. #5 is really where I am learning to walk through right now. Learning to forgive and not come back to that place of bitterness and hurt is really a hard struggle for me. It is something I am daily trying to overcome.

  8. They are all such good points I don’t think I can pick just one. This is definitely something I struggle with probably on a daily basis. I need to provide a good example to my kids and I hope I’m not too late.

  9. For me number 4. It is hard to step up and forgive and the other person acts like it does not bother them at all. I wonder how they can sleep at night knowing how they hurt me by their words or actions.

  10. I liked the definitions of forgivenes. While I struggle at times with the negative thoughts returning occasionally, those definitions offered a few new thoughts that could help me the next time they creep up.

  11. Nerissa R. Vanta says:

    Surrendering and offering my heart fully to God and be willing & desiring to change whether the other people involve do not change. I like to experience the freedom within me where no one & nothing holds me back with my relationship to God and the joy I have within not according to what is going on outside. The confidence that it gives me to go before God knowing that God is with you all the way through because you have obeyed to forgive and God is only perfect one and He will never leave or forsake you. There are no worries or fears any longer and forgiveness is part of that love that God first loved us. Father, I am asking that you take over my heart and do what you need to do in order for me to live free in You. I love you always and I love the fact that You love me as I am and accept me fully. Love you ! Nerissa

  12. Thank you for hosting Ms. Eller and for giving away a free copy! 🙂

    #5 is the most helpful for me, as well. I personally don’t think forgiveness is a one-time act. I think it often takes forgiving your brother 70 x 7. I can definitely relate to negative thoughts and emotions re-surfacing often, even after you’ve made the choice to try and forgive.

  13. i love # 3 cause thinking about glorifying God through our actions. also because of God’s grace towards us when doing wrong time and time again.

  14. Suzanne-Jean Malenga says:

    Number 4. I have been stuck in the thought that my offender could not say sorry for ruining my program even after I expressed my disappointment. I was stuck in the anger and frustration. I’ve been wanting to move on but didn’t know what to do with the unapologetic offender. Now I know that it is my choice, very hard choice to leave that place for a place of love and unconditional forgiveness for my own good. Thank you God.

  15. Thank you so much! You don’t know how much pain I feel because I haven’t been able to forgive. I don’t know how and yet I’m stuck in a pattern of bitterness and resentment. With God’s help I shall overcome this. And I choose to have joy!

  16. I’ve been praying this week about this subject. My oldest brother and I haven’t spoke in years , I’ve prayed about it and was lead to write him a letter telling to find out what the problem was and I asked him to forgive me for what ever I said or done. His response was very critical. He did say he would forgive, under a few circumstances…I need to change my “tone ” that I use when talking to him and people around him. Among other things like this that do not make sense to me. I cried out to God all afternoon asking why I have to keep going back to him everytime he gets mad at me and ask for forgiveness even though Ii ont recall doing anything wrong , just to keep getting “torchered” like this over and over…ya see he has done this for years. I always try to do whatever to get along for the family’s sake…
    This has good points that has helped me ..I pray for God to come into my heart and fill in my raw edges so I can see what his will for me is while I struggle with this again..

  17. #4 is so powerful to me. Forgiveness isn’t necessarily two-sided. We won’t always get closure with the other person. Forgiveness is often just between God and me!
    I’m really looking forward to reading this book. I have read the free chapter that was posted online.

    Beth Anderson

  18. Courtney Lynn says:

    #5 is something that I have struggled with years. However I am looking forward to the Godly encouragement that this book offers!

  19. I have so much respect for Suzie. She is the real deal; I know this because I know her, and I know this is the way she lives. Thanks for sharing her heart here.

  20. #5, but then what is the next step after that, can a relationship be built.

  21. elle holt says:

    Number 5 stands out for me…I’ve long looked for an answer to this issue and this has helped me tremendously! I will meditate and read and reread this to help make it better.

    Thank you for this timely, insightful article.


  22. #3- really understanding that forgiveness includes opening your heart and rEleasing yourself from the bondage of anger and resentment.

  23. I am currently struggling with this….hurt recently by family over the Christmas holiday – my goal for this Lenten season is to let go of the hurt and forgive. How interesting that God made sure this went to my inbox today!!

  24. To leave anger for peace… I sure do need this book right now.

  25. I think the best part of this is that forgiveness is a process that frees us. We need to forgive for our benefit and because it’s what Christ does for us. Forgiveness is not easy.

  26. Jenny Rutan says:

    I thought I forgave, but the negative thoughts keep coming back…I don’t understand how it can be such a struggle if you forgive someone, but the negativity keeps coming back. What am I doing wrong?
    Thank you so much for helping us women learn, live, and love God’s way! God bless you Lynn and Suzie…

  27. Toni McCormick says:

    As I was scrolling through FB one day reading posts by Proverbs31, one of them caught my eye. It was the name Suzanne Eller. ( My maiden name is Eller ). Of course I had to stop and read it because I don’t know much about my dad’s side of the family so I’m also attentive if I see the name. As I was reading this post about The Unburdened Heart, I came to the realization that the Lord was giving me direction. I had been praying that he would take this anger from my heart and let me heal and forgive. I went out and bought the book and will begin this weekend. I just had to tell you how God answered my prayers through your ministry. Thank you for sharing so that others can heal.

  28. Mrs J Gallagher says:

    The part that helped most ?
    ALL OF IT !

    But especially :
    “…the most powerful meanings of the word forgive is “to leave one place to go to another”.

    To leave bitterness for joy.

    To leave anger for peace.

    To leave being stuck to discovering what God has for you today, rather than what you carried yesterday.”

    This book is going to be a BIG help !

    I’d like to win it ! Thank you !

  29. Christy H says:

    I think #4 was the hardest over the years. I was in an abusive marriage when I was younger (and now can say that I’m a 23+ year survivor!), but I think it’s so hard to forgive someone who couldn’t care less. I like things to be resolved, fixed, etc. And you really can’t expect that in certain circumstances, but when people are remorseful and sorry about the pain they’ve inflicted upon you, it might be “easier” to forgive. The pain came back so many times over the years, in strange times and places, and it might affect you in different ways. But forgiveness frees you to be who you are meant to be. Not forgiving others places you into a prison that only has one remedy. Forgiveness.

  30. For quiet a while it was #4 but last year or so been #5

  31. #5 for sure but really all of it is a good reminder. I have started working with women recently so it’s great to hear this stuff again and again so I can pass it on. I’m probably too late for the contest but I’ve been thinking I need to find the money to get this book for a small group I’m starting for abused women so it’s worth trying.

Leave a Reply

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

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