How Do You Forgive When The Wound Is Still Open?

Day 4 of 6 • This day’s reading


Day Four: Mourning Losses (The Process of Facing Reality)

Why do we have to mourn? Because it is the process of accepting reality.

After I set boundaries with my mom, I learned another lesson in how to love her, and that was to mourn the loss of her. She was not a mom—well, not the nurturing, loving mom my heart needed. And for me to continue holding her to the expectation that she would be one to me was to pound my fist on reality, trying to get it to bend to my will. I had to face the truth, and the even though it was painful, it was true. If I was going to move forward in my life in healthy ways, I needed to attend my mom’s proverbial funeral in my heart. And I did. 

Surprisingly, mourning her loss actually allowed me to love her because I no longer expected her to be what she wasn’t. Instead, I saw her as a human created in the image of God, in need of love, who had her own wounds and sin and history.

If you want to love the person who has hurt you, perhaps you need to mourn what you do not have in them.

Now here’s an important distinction: we mourn the truth of our past losses, which involves letting go of our expectations and what hasn’t been, but we never mourn the future because the future is where hope lives. We have no idea what the future holds with our relationships and our lives, so to mourn it would be to cast darkness over the dawn. As long as we are breathing on this earth, there is hope.

As to our sadness in the mourning, here’s the good news: You can still have a fulfilling life and  joy, even in the midst of unmet needs, because God is the ultimate source of our joy and our provision, and that source isn’t going anywhere. 

It’s okay to have some sadness in our life regarding loss. The goal is to get to the point where the pain no longer consumes us or controls our perception of ourselves, others, God, and the world.

Lament is a gift from God allowing the truth of our pain to speak and the guttural cry of our hearts to have space to feel what is and what should have been. Don’t push grief away; let the it be the gateway toward healing and freedom and the ability to love even when it hurts.

Key Application: Some people mourn losses by sitting and crying. Some do this through talking to friends and family. Others, through journaling, doing art, running, listening to music, and so on. There are a variety of ways to grieve. Choose whatever constructive activity brings you peace and joy to help you face reality as it is and look toward the future with hope. 

Is there a person in your life you need to forgive for not being what they should have been? What loss in regard to that person do you need to mourn?