Dawson’s Blog

Seeking Forgiveness

I thought I’d blog on a topic few ever talk about, much less practice, but is incredibly important to our sense of peace and happiness. Let’s talk about how to seek forgiveness when you have hurt someone. When we hurt someone, we undoubtedly cause a broken relationship. Broken relationships are not healed without someone seeking forgiveness.
Humility is the key to experiencing forgiveness and healing. Click To Tweet
Alex wrote me about a horrible situation she got into, one that leaves her craving forgiveness, even if she’s not sure what will happen if she asks for it: “One night I made a mistake that I can never take back and it is killing me. I slept with my boyfriend’s twin brother and I am now two months pregnant with his child. I don’t know how to tell my boyfriend because I don’t know if he will be able to forgive me and I love him so much and he means the world to me.”
4 steps to seek forgiveness
Most people never attempt to heal broken relationships because they refuse to take responsibility for their own actions, and it forces them to come face to face with their own pride. It’s hard to admit you have done something wrong and put yourself at the mercy of others. We’ve all seen people try to squirm their way out of a difficult confrontation about something painful they’ve done. The most insecure people use denial or blaming others to escape from having to wake up to their own failure. Being humble is the key to experiencing forgiveness and healing.

Humble yourself; it’s the first step toward being forgiven.

Vicki wrote this story about needing forgiveness: “Early in my relationship with my current boyfriend I cheated on him. I immediately felt awful about it and regretted doing it. Not too long after it happened, I told him what I had done and how I felt about it, and he was very understanding and he forgave me. Looking back on this two years later, I realize that we were (and are still in) a very loving relationship because forgiving someone after betraying them is VERY hard to do, but he was willing to do that for me and work on keeping our relationship strong.”

Related Posts:
What Is Forgiveness?
Alexandra Discovered God’s Forgiveness
7 Things I Learned About Prayer
What Happens When You Don’t Forgive


Four Steps to Seeking Forgiveness

STEP 1: Admit to yourself you have hurt another person. As painful as it is, you have to come to the place where you admit you’re guilty, no excuses. Asking someone to forgive you requires a broken heart and a willingness to repair the damage you have done. It’s not just saying, Forgive me if you think I happened to have done something wrong. You need to understand the amount of pain you have caused, and accept responsibility for it.
Understand the amount of pain you caused and accept responsibility for it. Click To Tweet
STEP 2: Talk to God. Ask him to forgive you for what you’ve done and to give you strength to talk to the person you’ve hurt. God is very interested in you seeking forgiveness. Jesus said something very powerful about the urgency and the need to seek forgiveness: If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.(Matthew 5:24)

STEP 3: Ask for forgiveness from the person you hurt. If you are going to meet in person, you may want to write down your apology, and then practice saying it out loud until you are completely comfortable with it. What to say? Be honest. Don’t apologize just to make an uncomfortable situation go away. You need to clearly explain what you are sorry for, without making any excuses. You might need to find a third party to help you, especially if it’s difficult to talk face to face. You may need a peacemaker who can help bring some objectivity to the conversation. Don’t expect him or her to immediately jump up with joy (or forgiveness) the moment you apologize.

STEP 4: Let the other person respond to you without getting defensive. You may need to give the other person time to sort out their feelings. Don’t expect him or her to immediately jump up with joy (or forgiveness) the moment you apologize. It is important, if possible, to make sure the person you have hurt says Yes, I do forgive you.In so doing, they are saying, I’m not going to keep bringing it up or hold what you’ve done over your head.Sometimes when you seek forgiveness, a lot of people will then turn around and seek forgiveness from you.

Even if the other person refuses to forgive you, you’ve done your part to clear your conscience and show you want to change. In time, they may come around and forgive you. The best way for you to respond is to show yourself as continually trustworthy, avoiding opportunities to slip back into the wrongful behavior. But you did the right thing by seeking forgiveness, and your new attitude and actions will be the best way to prove you are truly sorry for what happened.

The best way for you to respond is to show yourself as continually trustworthy, avoiding opportunities to slip back into the wrongful behavior.

Let’s go back to Vicki, who concludes this topic very well: “When I look back on how thankful and lucky I was to be with someone as thoughtful and caring and understanding as my boyfriend, who had the strength to look beyond my stupid mistake, it makes it easier to give other people a second chance if they hurt me because I want people to feel how I felt, because it feels wonderful to be forgiven.”

For more information on how to seek forgiveness and how to forgive others, download TheHopeLine’s free eBook: Understanding Forgiveness.

Dawson McAllister Dawson McAllister (born in New Kensington, Pennsylvania) is an American speaker, radio host, and author. He is the founder of Dawson McAllister Association and TheHopeLine and host of the national radio program Dawson McAllister Live, which is aired on Sunday nights. Dawson has been speaking to and in support of teenagers and young adults for over 40 years.
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  • Jennifer Pruitt

    I do have a question: what if the person you want to forgive is dead? How would I go about that?

  • Harene

    I seriously hurt my friends feelings, when she was already in a hard time and I made it harder for her. What can I do?



  • seeking forgiveness

    3 months ago i met a wonderful caring man, and we have talked everyday since. Until 2 weeks ago. I haven’t heard anything from him since. I know I must have done something wrong, but I don’t know what I’ve done. Since we are both professional drivers , its hard to know where he will be. I’ve tried calling, leaving messages, even texting I’ve apologized and asked forgiveness even though I don’t know what I’ve done. What do I do now?

    • anonymous

      Let him go

  • At TheHopeLine we have many resources for both you and your wife to find healing and hope. HopeCoaches are available 24/7 to chat online or through your mobile device. There is hope! http://www.thehopeline.com/GetHelp/

  • Angel M

    I hurt my fiance by being critical, unaffectionate, & withdrawn. I was in a dark place I had depression of my own. I hated where I was at in my own life and I took my frustrations out on him. I grew distant, withdrawn from our relationship, & critical. He broke up with me about 2 weeks ago. We still see each other but I can’t seem to get him to commit back to our relationship. I know he is hurting cause he uses opportunities when I’m being kind to hurt me. He reminds me often that I have hurt him. I love him so much and I’ve realized how I treated him over being frustrated with a move I made, my home, and my job. My heart is broken and I feel so incomplete. Idk how to get him to forgive me and trust that I will never hurt him that way again. What do I do? I can’t lose him!

  • krysten

    I had another friend come to a party and she brought some younger people and I told her to tell them to lie about there age to other people so my one friends wouldn’t have to leave and somehow my friend throwing the party found out and he kicked me out and is very mad at me..

  • Steve

    You need to keep trying. Forgiveness is not an easy task for anyone. Tell him why you did it and acknowledge that you were wrong. Let him know that you agree with him on how awful your mistake was and make sure he knows it’s not something you’ll ever do again

  • Enoch Rodney

    someone said something to me that hurt me really badly, i have forgiven him but before i was able to do that i poured out my emotion and anger. By the time i realise it the things that i said have hurt someone else’s emotion. God forgive me for being so selfish and speaking out of anger

  • That is wonderful that he is willing to stay. We are all capable of making mistakes, but your marriage can turn out even stronger as you work through whatever deeper issues may have caused this to happen. You can chat with a HopeCoach anytime 24/7 if you need help processing your feelings http://www.thehopeline.com/gethelp/

  • Merlynn Koh

    I slap my classmate this morning and her mom is very angry with me and I know I had no right to slap my friend Valerie. I wrote a letter to her mom and I sent it to her I’m not sure if her mom has seen it. I just called earlier and her mom picked up and hung up on me she said she didn’t want to talk to me my classmate has forgiven me and the school is investigating the case.

  • heavensent

    I confessed to my girlfriend the one I want to make my wife that I cheated. I didn’t know she was going to be so hurt coz of I knew I could have kept it to myself…I started loving her to the point I thought she was a person I can share everything with. when I told her about everything all she did was crying and told me to leave her life..but we are back in school again and she gave me the opportunity to talk to her