Forgiving with out an Apology

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In life, relationships can be messy.  There can be so much pain when we allow the bitterness of un-forgiveness to creep into our hearts. Some may be lighter offenses and at other times it can be an offense so great that the pain runs deep. A pain that only God can heal. Forgiving is hard, let along forgiving without an apology.

When we find ourselves in the position of needing to ask for forgiveness from someone; quickly and sincerely offer an apology. Not only from our spouse, but from God. It hurts God when we hurt each other. 

In 1 John 1:9, it tells us that when we seek forgiveness of our sins, God is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us of them. I don’t know about you, but I need to humble myself daily before God and seek His forgiveness and guidance.

In marriage, if your spouse is quick to be humble and apologize than count yourself as being blessed! 

However, there may be a time when your spouse doesn’t apologize for something he has done against you. No matter what the offense. Being a simple, silly offense like eating that last chocolate chip cookie knowing all to well that you claimed that cookie, you touched it, licked it, wrote your name on it and he still ate it! hahaha Or a deeper, greater offense that would bring your marriage to its knees and riddled with so much hurt that only God can save. 

Sometimes forgiving someone is hard. If the pain is deep, I understand it’s not so easy and it must be a process not an event. Forgiving without an apology is hard. Are we commanded by God to forgive?

How do we forgive someone who hasn’t apologized?

Should I Offer Forgiveness Without Repentance?

It is true that the full effect of forgiveness can only happen if the other person believes they need it and want it. That’s why it’s so frustrating when you want to forgive somebody and they don’t think they need any forgiveness. But we do not wait for that, right? We don’t wait for them to do their half before we do our half. We must be rid of bitterness and grudges right away. We do what Jesus did on the cross.

In 1 Peter it’s described so powerfully. This is how Christ set an example for us: “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten,” — in fact, he prayed for their forgiveness; here’s what it says — “but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). – Desiring God

Bible Verses on Forgiveness

We are ALL sinners so therefore we should forgive because we want God to forgive us. 


Matthew 6:14-15 KJV 

“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Colossians 3:13 KJV 

“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”

In Matthew 18:15, the bible tells us that if someone has sinned against us to go and talk about it with them. I also know that if the offense is huge, sometimes that confrontation or conversation is so hard and it may be easier to forgive and stay at a distance until God leads you to initiate restoration. Setting healthy boundaries is necessary.


Forgiving without an apology

Forgiveness helps us to be more like Christ.

Forgiveness brings us closer to God.

Forgiveness is at the core of emotional well being. 


Remember the parable Jesus told in Matthew 18:23-35? Basically it’s telling of a certain king who had a servant that was in debt to him and the servant could not pay. The servant was released from his debt to the king. The forgiven servant had a fellow-servant that owed him money, but he would not forgive his fellow-servant from his debt. When the king heard of his un-forgiveness, the king was angry and punished him. We must forgive because Christ forgave us. 

Holding on to the hurt and pain will only hinder us from true healing. Un-forgiveness can put a wedge between us and the true inner healing God has for us. It puts a wall up between us and God.

Forgiveness is not condoning the bad behavior. It is not forgetting what has happened. It is not restoring trust to the offender. It is not doing that person a favor nor is it easy. Forgiveness is a process. 

Forgiving someone even if they haven’t apologized is about your freedom, your spiritual life, trusting God, and your responsibility to move forward. 

Knowing who you are in Christ is so important in forgiving others. Their sin is about them. It doesn’t label who you are. Remind yourself who you are in Christ. It’s so important to your healing through this great pain. 

Also forgiving doesn’t mean you trust them again. No, it means you are stepping out and trusting God! 

We forgive because God has forgiven us. 


Luke 23:24 KJV “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”


How do you forgive without an apology?

How to Forgive Someone Who Will Never Say Sorry

  1. Pray.
  2. Peace into the present. Whether you realize it or not, if you hold on to resentment, you’re living in the past.
  3. Flip your focus from others to yourself.
  4. Take responsibility for your feelings.
  5. Own your part.
  6. Stop looking to feel slighted.
  7. Apply a loving lens.

No, it’s not easy to forgive. But, the more I listen to God and read what He says the more I understand how to react in a godly way; it becomes easier. I gradually lose my “human” perspective on what is right and wrong and enter into God’s way of thinking. – Active Christianity

Forgiving and reconciling are not the same. You are free to forgive even if the other refuses to apologize. Forgiveness is about your relationship with God and not a gift to others.

So, ladies, I want to encourage you to seek God about needing help forgiving without an apology offered. Letting God guide and heal you. Give to God any un-forgiveness you may hold in your hearts so that you may have that true inner healing from Him.  

More articles on Forgiveness you will enjoy.

Bible Verses on Forgiveness

Praying for those that hurt us

Practical Steps on Forgiveness

Biblical benefits of forgiveness, bible verses forgiving others, benefits of forgiving others, Forgive

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  1. myviewmamadiaries

    March 11, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Such a good reminder! Thank you for the Scripture, it is so powerful. I know this is an area I need to work on. <3

  2. Starla J.

    March 11, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    I need a daily dose of this!! Thank you for stopping by.

  3. Lucy Mills

    March 11, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Forgiveness is easier than forgetting. Apologies make forgetting easier. I teach the children empathy so they will grow to be sincere and loving.

  4. Brittany at Equipping Godly Women

    March 11, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Thankfully, I'm the kind of person who really could care less about apologies. Truly. If my husband never apologized to me ever again for the rest of my life, I may not even notice. Unfortunately, however, that means I don't always think to apologize to him… SO… if your husband is anything like me, it may not be that he's not sorry, but that the thought truly doesn't occur to him. I get in trouble for not apologizing all the time!

  5. Chelsie

    March 11, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    I'm not married, but a lot of your thoughts can translate to my day to day too! Great reminder, thank you!

  6. Laura Prater

    March 11, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Oh this is so hard isn't it? Something I too had to learn over the years but God so blesses us when we do. 🙂

  7. Clare Speer

    March 11, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Such a good message – but a tough one sometimes! Love the scriptures you gave, too!

  8. Starla J.

    March 12, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    We all have memories. It's much easier with an apology, absolutely! Thank you for stopping by!

  9. Starla J.

    March 12, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Thank you, Brittany, for that encouragement! I appreciate it.

  10. Starla J.

    March 12, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Yes, you are right, this can work for any relationship. Thank you for stopping by!

  11. Starla J.

    March 12, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    Yes He does!! I am blessed!! Thank you Laura for commenting.

  12. Starla J.

    March 12, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    Thank you Clare. It is hard but worth it.

  13. Gentle Joy

    March 14, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Great encouragement to do the right thing! It is so important…. and the sooner we forgive, the easier it is…. waiting only makes it harder and harder to forgive.

  14. Aimee

    March 14, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    Ah, yes, forgiveness. God recently told me that my forgiveness of a specific person wasn't for my relationship with them, but it was for my relationship with HIM. Still, trying to sift through the pain that is so raw and fresh, remembering that I am choosing to forgive, and trying to heal – that's hard.

  15. Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    March 15, 2015 at 3:28 am

    "It's a process, not an event." Such wise words here, Starla. Too often, when forgiveness doesn't come easily, we give up. We need to remember, however, that when it is hard, it is a process that often takes time.

    When I have trouble forgiving my hubby for something he has done, I can feel a literal gap between not only him and me, but me and God. It is humbling myself before God that allows me to offer forgiveness to my husband.

    Forgiveness is more about us than it is about the other person. Thanks so much for this wisdom-rich reminder.
    Blessings to you and yours.

  16. Kaylene Yoder

    March 19, 2015 at 2:58 am

    Love this, Starla! I'm featuring you again this Friday at Grace & Truth! Thanks, friend!

  17. Michele Morin

    March 20, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    There is such wisdom here. God never attaches our requirement to forgive to the repentance of the offender. Congrats on being featured this week!

  18. Sarah Ann

    March 20, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    Great reminder, Starla! I feel as though I can forgive easily when it's small offenses, but when it's something serious and harmful to me, I want to carry a grudge. Remembering how God has given me grace I didn't deserve helps me to pass it along to others I don't think deserve it either!

  19. Dawn Klinge

    March 20, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    This is so good. I'm blessed to be married to someone who does apologize quickly, but I still get hung up on stupid things. Just the other day, we had a disagreement about how he apologized! I didn't thought it was backhanded. But you're right, forgiving someone else is about my freedom and moving on. I don't need to analyze the apology, and I may not even get an apology. I just need to forgive.

  20. Starla J.

    March 20, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    Yes, hard, that's why I need God. He is enough.

  21. Starla J.

    March 20, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Thank you, Kaylene! I'm honored. )

  22. Starla J.

    March 20, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Thank you, Heather!! 🙂

  23. Starla J.

    March 20, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    Thank you so much, Michele.

  24. Starla J.

    March 20, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    That's true for us all, Dawn. Thank you for stopping by!

  25. ~ linda @ Being Woven

    April 1, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    Starla, you are my neighbor at Woman to Woman and I thankful for your words are so true and in need of reminding me and probably others! I have needed to seek forgiveness and also give it. I believe neither are easier than the other. But…the one I had to deal with the deepest was forgiving one of my own sisters for a terrible wrong she believed about me that our dementia-riddled mother accused me of. This sister threw terrible words at me and believed nothing I said. After three years, I finally had to accept the fact that she could not say, "I am sorry" yet her actions told me that she wanted a relationship with me, even though it might be surface. We live 1500 miles apart. So that is how it is now and I am peaceful because I forgave and released it to the LORD. I would not want to be holding this after all these years. Our Mama has been gone for two years and a week or so before she died, she spoke a word to me…"harmony" and I asked her if she meant between her girls and she said "yes." I had never blamed Mama because she had quickly forgotten the accusation, never recalling the stress she had caused. In her right mind, she would have never said such a thing. So who am I to hold this. Jesus wants us to give Him our burdens and lay these things at the Cross.
    Thanks. I guess I needed to share today. Sorry for the lengthy comment.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  26. Jessica Conners

    May 9, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    I am not trying to be contrary or argumentative, this is a sincere question. God requires us to confess/acknowledge our sin before He forgives us, right? (Or am I off base?)… So why should we operate differently (i.e. forgive someone who has not acknowledged wrongdoing)? This is a question I have had for a long time. I can't find anywhere in the Bible that directs us to forgive without an apology. Can you ladies help me out?

  27. cris

    March 5, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    Not to be mean but this was somewhat vague. What does “giving it to God look like? Most every time my husband accuses me of unforgiveness when we have an issue. He says I am angry when I am not. When we get to place to really talk it out and I explain what I see and share examples it usually is the other way around. The problem is it keeps coming around. The same behavior, the same ungrateful spirit, the same accusations and forgetfulness of anything like it before. It is like a figure 8 . We loop around and around landing in the middle with the same struggle of misunderstanding, poor communication, and distance. So honestly what does giving it to God look like ?

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