Unforgiveness is a powerful force. It can cause marriages and families to fall apart. It can create a hostile environment in a nation. Churches can be completely torn apart by it. Therefore, I want to take a look at six symptoms of unforgiveness. As we go through, ask yourself if you’ve seen these manifestations in yourself or others.

All scriptures are taken from the NKJV unless otherwise noted.


A person who is swallowed up by the ails of unforgiveness cannot say anything good about the other person. Not only that, but they allow themselves to be engulfed in self-pity. Someone who is in a state of self-pity cannot truly enjoy anything. They may feel a bit of happiness for a second, but as soon as they are alone they go back to their own way of thinking.

Until the person forgives the one who hurt them, they will forever live in this state of feeling sorry for themselves. They will continue to point the finger and blame others for their failures in life.

Being Boastful

When a person has been wronged by someone else, they usually speak about them as if they’re lower. They may say things like, “I would never do that!” They give off the impression that somehow they are good and the other person is bad. If you think too highly of yourself, you will think lowly of others by default.

Someone suffering from unforgiveness may also be walking in the spirit of legalism. They’re extremely quick to find any fault with the one they are angry against. That person will never be good enough to be around the one who’s unforgiving.

The Bible tells us to forgive our enemies. Therefore, when we decide that we’re not going to, it turns us into a phony Christian. You can look and act the part, but until you forgive, you won’t be truly obedient to God. I say that because Mark 11:25 commands us to forgive anyone for anything before we pray.

If you have unforgiveness in your heart, you cannot properly pray or your prayers may be hindered. Humble yourself and forgive your enemies.

Keeping Score

“Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

– Matthew 18:21-22

Peter asked the Lord how many times he should forgive someone who has done something wrong to him. Many people count all the wrongs someone has done to them. That is one of the symptoms of unforgiveness. If you ask them what the other person has done to them, they will be ready to tell you each and every time they were hurt.

When you forgive someone, let it go. Don’t remember it any longer and let God deal with it.

Continuing To Mention The Offense

One of the symptoms of unforgiveness is to constantly bring it up. When we harbor anger and resentment, it lives within us. It’s almost impossible to think about anything else. Therefore, it’s understandable that we would constantly mention what the person did wrong. It’s in our mind so it comes out our mouth.

Unfortunately, not many people realize that unforgiveness only hurts themselves. They’re being tortured by having to constantly think about this person while the other person gets to move on with their life.

That’s why we must come to realize that forgiving someone is for our own benefit. It frees us from the prison of unforgiveness, anger, bitterness, and resentment that we’ve been put into. Plus, gossip occurs when we constantly speak badly about someone. Don’t let their sin make you sin.

Keeps People Divided

“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?”

– James 4:1

When people are angry and unforgiving, it causes a divide. Either you’re with the person or against them. Therefore, if someone comes and says they are friends with the person who wronged them, now they’re their enemy now too. Resentment and bitterness is a powerful force. It can divide loved ones, churches, and nations.

The enemy knows this and loves to remind people of the past faults of others. I’m sure you’ve seen this sometime in your own life. Two sides form and now you have to completely disassociate yourself with one and say they were wrong in an attempt to please the other. It’s unhealthy and completely divides the people God made in His image.

Until we truly forgive each other and cleanse our hearts, there will be no unity.

Resentment Of The Other’s Success

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”

– Romans 12:15

We should be able to be happy for others when they succeed and do well. If you’re not, then you have to ask yourself why. Is it envy? Do you feel like you can’t get it so neither should they? Or are you angry at them for a former offense? Whatever the reason is, it’s not normal for a person with the Holy Spirit to be angry at someone else’s achievements.

We’re all human and shouldn’t be so divided over material items. They are not more important than someone’s life. If you see someone nagging and complaining about the success of someone else, ask yourself why. What are they saying is the reason the person doesn’t deserve it? It may shock you once you start questioning and examining everything.


Unity comes when people can forgive the mistakes of others. We’re not perfect and will always make mistakes. That’s why the Lord Jesus Christ came as the sacrificial lamb of God; so we can make mistakes and be forgiven.

If you’ve received the forgiveness of Christ, then it’s your turn to forgive others. Ask God to reveal to you if you’ve been holding onto any harmful bitterness or unforgiveness. I’m sure He will, but be warned- you may not like His answer.

Once again, there are many symptoms of unforgiveness. These include:

  • Complaining
  • Being boastful
  • Keeping score
  • Continuing to mention the offense
  • Division
  • Resentment of other’s successes.

Do you have unforgiveness in your heart? Are you ready to let it go? Click here to read 3 Steps To Forgiving Someone Who Hurt You.

I pray you found this article helpful. If so, please share this content. Also, feel free to leave a comment below. As always, thanks for reading!

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