15 Dangers of Unforgiveness

15 Dangers of unforgiveness

15 Dangers of Unforgiveness

You must have offended someone before and I am sure someone must have offended you sometime in your life.

When two people come in contact, there can be friction and that’s the fact of living in this world.

Maybe someone wronged you through words or actions or someone might have bullied, maltreated, criticized, or unlawfully dealt with you.

Someone you trusted might have even betrayed you, regardless of how big or small it was, the memory hurts you.

How then do alleviate the pain? 

In theory, forgiveness seems easy, but in reality, it is not as easy as it seems. Forgiveness is a conscious decision to let go of thoughts of revenge and resentment.

Oftentimes, letting go is one of the hardest things to do. If someone offends you, the last thing you want (emphasis on “want”) is to forgive them.

Though you know that forgiveness is a good idea and you have it in mind to forgive people, you would notice it’s harder to practise.

On the other hand, we also expect forgiveness from people we have wronged and if we don’t openly apologize or take any action to alleviate the pain we caused them, we secretly hope for forgiveness (I’m being conservative here!).

You would agree with me that the immediate gratification of unforgiveness, and by extension revenge, is just a façade without a lasting advantage.

In the words of Nelson Mandela, “hating (which is a direct result of unforgiveness) is like someone drinking poison and expecting the other person to die from it”.

This wise word infers one thing – unforgiveness is not only harmful but deadly.

Discover why forgiveness is a powerful tool for healing and how to cultivate a forgiving mindset for a happier and healthier life.

Want to learn more about the dangers of unforgiveness and how it affects you in various ways? Keep reading!

1. Unforgiveness weakens your immune system

15 dangers of unforgiveness

This is one of the disadvantages of unforgiveness that directly affects the human body.

A heart that does not forgive usually undergoes stress – specifically, the stress of bitterness.

This stress amplifies your vulnerability to physical illness as it destabilizes your immune system.

Over and over again, researchers have traced some physical maladies to a point in time when subjects started to feel bitter.

Anger is also a major factor that causes stress and health issues if not controlled properly. So, you have to understand creative ways to deal with anger and find the one that works best for you. 

2. Unforgiveness causes chemical disparity

This is another physical disadvantage of unforgiveness because the hormones in the human body respond to both internal and external stimuli.

The body produces these hormones, which consist of chemical compounds that are held in a delicate balance.

Since unforgiveness messes with your emotions, which is a strong stimulus, it also messes with your hormones.

This causes a chemical imbalance in your body which gives rise to many other physical signs and ailments. This is to let you know that the dangers of unforgiveness are quite unpleasant. 

3. It impairs your perception of the world

If you refuse to forgive others, you will view yourself and the world through the lens of hatred, hurt, pain, and resentment.

Every wrong you encounter would seem like a personal infraction against you. You may even feel like you are expecting to be wronged, and this can be painful.

This sensitivity affects your character as you would be expecting a dismissal from your offender and also others.

The pain you have experienced may cause you to forget how to communicate respectfully with others. Be open to deep conversation and watch your relationship with people improve. 

4. Unforgiveness ruins allure

A quick question: Think of someone you know that does not forgive others, what image of that person do you have in your mind? I bet it cannot be pretty.

Even if the person is naturally beautiful or handsome, their attractiveness will be diminished in your mind.

Image aside, those that refuse to forgive seldom sleep well. This inner stress will radiate through the eyes and other facial features in a little while.

This loss of sleep causes fatigue which tends to ruin the physical appearance and this is one of the dangers of unforgiveness. 

5. It leads to stress

Do you know that keeping malice is stressful? It might not seem like stress for the unforgiving heart at first.

However, the moment you forgive, you will suddenly feel relieved of the burden of vengeance, resentment, and unforgiveness.

Unforgiveness stimulates stress hormones in the body. The deployment of these hormones will wear you out fast and you wouldn’t be able to cope with daily challenges as before.

The worst part is that the wearing out exponentially increases day after day.

The best thing to do is to let go of every grudge you hold against anyone. You really should know how to take control of your life and be happy.

6. It leads to depression

Some of the dangers of unforgiveness are downheartedness, misery, dejection, melancholy, and unhappiness.

Unforgiveness not only affects you emotionally, but it also affects you psychologically.

Hating a person requires conscious effort, and keeping a grudge requires emotional energy.

Immediately, depression sets in and depletes emotional energy

I need not tell you the symptoms of depression nor remind you of the cost (emotions, money, and time) to treat depression!

7. It makes you focus on the wrong

You are what you eat. Perhaps we could write it as You become what you focus on. become

If you focus on an act or a person, you are most likely to perform the same act or be like that person.

Unforgiveness creates an emotional focus toward the person that wronged you.

The more time you spend resenting that person, the more you are likely to become that person.

After a while, you are probably going to act the same way the person acted toward you.

Take a long-distance relationship for instance. Your partner doesn’t text or call you as often as you want them to, and in the process of missing them, you begin to resent them and unconsciously mirror their actions by not calling or texting anymore because you want to get even.

Now, instead of that behaviour, the best thing to do is to discover ways to stay connected in a long-distance relationship and boost your love life.

8. Unforgiveness is bondage

One of the dangers of unforgiveness is a lack of freedom. You are likely going to avoid places where the person is or avoid sharing the same table with them.

There is no freedom for an unforgiving person. 

Unforgiven takes away your emotional, mental, and spiritual freedom.

9. Unforgiveness causes personality disintegration

If you’ve ever heard someone say words like ‘I’m falling apart’, ‘I’m flying into pieces’, ‘I’m going into pieces’, or ‘I’m getting upset’.

Those are the words of people on the brink of personality disintegration. This is a direct result of negative emotions.

If you don’t forgive others or even yourself, you can find yourself in the same shoes. This emotion is capable of enervating and paralyzing human mental and spiritual power.

To help get over this issue, get familiar with how to stop getting distracted by thoughts, keep yourself busy with productive activities, and avoid anything that triggers those thoughts. 

Unforgiveness can bog you down with fear guilt, resentment, ill-will, irritation, and anger. This is not good for your personality.

10. Unforgiveness comes between you and God

10 Ways To Show Gratitude to God

15 disadvantages of unforgiveness

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. (1 John 4:20 New International Version).

Unforgiveness not only affects you physically and emotionally, but it also affects you spiritually. It affects your soul and spirit by deterring your spiritual productivity and growth.

Unforgiveness becomes a wall between you and God. Unforgiveness will not let you be at peace with people and with God.

11. You lose your grounds for God to forgive you

But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:15 New International Version).

In the preceding verses, Jesus taught his disciples the Lord’s Prayer. He said in the 12th verse of the same chapter “…and forgive us our sins, as we also have forgiven those who sin against us.”

Be thankful to God for His mercies because we are all sinners and there would be no forgiveness without sin, so know how to show gratitude to God for forgiving you of your iniquities by forgiving others. 

It is natural for God to forgive as long as you keep your end of the bargain to forgive others.

12. It makes it hard to be joyful


No one can have joy when they don’t forgive others. Unforgiveness and bitterness require emotional energy. You use the same energy that could have been used to pursue joy.

Robert G. Menzies sums this up in his words, “It is a simple but sometimes forgotten truth that the greatest enemy to present joy and high hopes is the cultivation of retrospective bitterness”.

13. Unforgiveness hinders spiritual growth

Unforgiveness impairs your ability to love God and creates a wall between you and Him, stunting your spiritual growth.

It is impossible to walk with God and still have an unforgiving heart. The more you walk with God, the more you see the reasons to be a better version of yourself every day.

You will also realize that the more you love, the less unforgiving you become.

14. It’s like cancer

Unforgiveness not only destroys the person, but it also spread to others around.

The Bible likened unforgiveness as a gall of bitterness. This could spread and hurt many more people.

15. It harms your relationship

15 disadvantages of unforgiveness

If you do not forgive others, your relationship with them will suffer. It is impossible to relate well with a person you have not forgiven.

Unforgiveness blocks future relationships with others and it also closes off an intimate relationship.

If you are unable to forgive someone or an act by someone, it simply means that they have deeply wronged you.

When you are in a situation where your partner cheated on you and you are heartbroken and disappointed, you may feel the need to pay them back in their coin but trust me, it’s not worth it.


Your pain should not be dismissed, but rather you should channel your energy toward becoming more productive and moving on.

Bottom line

You should learn how to forgive by:

  • Making a conscious effort to release emotional pain;
  • Letting go of the baggage of the wrong against you such that when you remember the wrongdoing, it doesn’t hurt you anymore;
  • Taking responsibility for the part of the equation you played;
  • Forgiving yourself as you forgive others
  • Learning a positive thing from the experience; and
  • Having a closure of the experience.

Trust you will no longer harbour unforgiveness and start looking forward to the brighter side.

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