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Linda Mintle, Ph.D. is a licensed marriage and family therapist, author of 16 books, a national expert on family issues and the psychology of food and weight. She's an assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at Eastern Virginia Medical School, a national speaker, writer, and news contributor.

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When You Have Been Treated Unfairly


This week, I have been blogging about dealing with offense. I admit, this is a tough area for most of us. Our flesh wants to lash out when we’ve been treated poorly and our culture promotes revenge. But as Christians, there is a clear path to dealing with offense and injustice that doesn’t go along with our flesh or the culture.

Personally, I have had to deal with a situation where someone was treated unfairly. There was no apology and no indication that the offense would ever be acknowledged. And confronting the offense was not a safe thing to do. So how do you handle an injustice that you can’t address directly?

First, you acknowledge the hurt and anger you feel. I am hurt that someone willingly chose not to do the right thing because he was afraid and would not stand up for his conviction of what was right. The more I think about the situations, the angrier I become.  So thinking about it over and over does not help.

Second, I must deal with the anger. I know, life isn’t fair, people do not always act the way they are supposed to, and sometimes people are scared to stand up for what is right. Intellectually, I understand why someone would do the wrong thing. My feelings have to catch up with my head.

The Bible is clear that we can be angry but not sin. Scriptural guidelines tell me to not give full vent to my anger (Proverbs 29:11), to not seek revenge (Romans 12:19), to forgive (Matthew 6:14), not to stay angry (Colossians 3:8), give the anger to God (1 Peter 5:7) and not take offense (Proverbs 12:16). Behind the anger is hurt.

Next, I choose to forgive the person and refuse to hang on to the offense. This is an act of obedience to God. As I release the person with forgiveness, I ask God to heal the hurt I feel. I meditate on 1 Peter 2:22-23—Jesus left his case in the hands of God. That is a good place to leave the offense—in the hands of God.

Finally, I need to release the person from my judgment. God sees what he did and will deal with him. I do not have to be the Holy Spirit for that person, God already is! My job is to pray for the offender and continue to allow God to touch my heart when the hurt surfaces. 

The process of letting go isn’t easy when the offense impacts your life in a major way. But, asking God to help and refusing to hang on to unforgiveness will end in healing.


Is there an offense or injustice you are hanging on to that you need to release today?


Dr. Linda Mintle is the author of Breaking Free from Anger and Unforgiveness, a pocket size book that has helped thousands with releasing anger. Check it out on her website, www.drlindahelps.com.

Print      Email to a Friend    posted on Thursday, July 21, 2011 6:17 PM

Comments on this post

# RE: When You Have Been Treated Unfairly

This is a very relevant article! I was married for almost 15 years and suddenly without warning my spouse said that she wanted a divorce. It through me into a life threatening stroke and it tore me up. When I woke up in the hospital everything seemed like a slow nightmare, I couldn't walk and my right side seemed paralyzed. I had to have help using the bathroom and with mundane things like combing my hair. I was a mess. I began to think "where is God"? In my overtly simple thought it terrified me that there might not have been a God. Finally I wrestled with the fact and even if God wasn't real I would still serve him. From that moment on I began to get better and I began to logically learn about God and all of His promises and laws and GRACE. Now Grace is the gift of God to me. I love Hin because He first loved me! Well in the mean time my former wife went further and further away from God, twice as fast as I was returning to him. And that brings me to my story..... write me back....
Left by holman.douglas on Jul 22, 2011 9:29 PM

# RE: When You Have Been Treated Unfairly

I have a lot of hurt from something my husband did to me and I have tried so many times to let it go. I can't seem to forgive him just yet and I feel that God has stopped listening to my prayers because of it. How do you let something go when it runs so deep and the person that hurt you doesn't think they did wrong or even care? I think it would be easier if he would admit his faults and ask forgiveness and mean it.
Left by Hickorychic on Sep 13, 2011 2:40 PM

# RE: When You Have Been Treated Unfairly

Wow, God answered my husband and I through this article! I finally got a job as a mail carrier (God moved many mountains getting me this job which is too long to go into) So anyway I will be working with my husband which is so wonderful. We have been together for 19 years and love every minute together. Getting back to the story, I have known every mail carrier for 10 years but now there are some grumbling and mean comments they are making about me coming into their office. My husband and I are shocked and hurt that people we thought were friends are just plain mean. My husband just told me things he heard people were saying and we both got so upset and he said "We have to be careful not to let the devil wreck something beautiful that God set up" So this article is perfect...Thank you
Left by Pam4God on Sep 29, 2011 10:56 AM

# RE: When You Have Been Treated Unfairly

RE:when you have been treated unfairly
I am deeply touch my this article because my thinking,orientation and perhaps mindset has just been alter for good the moment i read this article.it's a right-way and a life changing article i must confess this.A lot of things happened to me in which indeed hurt and helpless about it .but know i know how one can take to God.

Left by stephen on Oct 12, 2011 6:31 AM

# RE: When You Have Been Treated Unfairly

I have recently had something major happen in my life due to the lies and wrong doings of someone else. This article just popped out at me.. It's Amazing how God works in mysterious ways. I hope I can truly let go of this hurt and anger!
Left by Kathy on Oct 29, 2011 1:19 AM

# RE: When You Have Been Treated Unfairly

I need to ask Pat a question. The bible says to honor thy father and thy mother. I am grateful that she had me, but she has treated me unfairly all my life. She loves my little sister and always spoiled her. Now I and my little sister have moved away, so the middle sister has stayed and she is favored now because she's there to help my mom out. My mom is 72 now and her husband passed away several years ago. I am now suffering from kidney failure and I thought my mom would show me a little compassion, but instead, everything is always about her and she basically told me that unless I quit saying hurtful things to her she wouldn't want to talk to me anymore. (I got angry because she wrote in her christmas card to me that she doesn't hear anything from me. I wrote her back that I've tried to talk to her over the internet 3 times in the last 2 mos and she never writes me back.) Anyway, I'm wondering how I'm supposed to honor her when she hurts me all the time? I can't take it anymore.
Left by HeyItsDeb on Dec 22, 2011 11:50 PM

# RE: When You Have Been Treated Unfairly

I am a father with a son who is 26 yrs old and put him through college he lives with me and I gave him a new jeep a computer food shelter and clothing.....graduated in college and is excellent in everything he does,,,,,He has no interest in earning a living and no motivation to leave my house and find work...I love him much...what can I do???Please help..
Left by Rev. on Feb 22, 2012 9:45 PM