How to mend a relationship in which you have hurt another

Feelings are often a difficult thing to understand, especially when they are not ours. One of the most difficult things when dealing with others is accepting their feelings, whatever they may be, as legitimate. So often when we hurt others' feelings our first response is to justify what we have done, and rationalize why they should not be hurt. If we can take the time to understand why they are hurt, then we can assist them in the forgiveness process. Some ideas may include:

Pray for the individuals you have hurt. This will soften your heart and help you to understand how you hurt them, and how you can be more sensitive in the future.- Show your acceptance of them and respect that they have been hurt. It is comforting to feel understood. Acknowledging that you recognize that their feelings are legitimate makes them feel that overcoming the situation is worth the effort.

Offer acts of kindness. Doing something nice for the person you hurt or going the extra mile will help you and the other person feel better about each other.

Give them time to forgive. Just as one cannot "just" repent, neither can one "just" forgive. Often, if the wound is deep, time is an important element in the forgiveness process.

Apologize for hurting them. It may be appropriate to apologize for something you have done that led to the hurt feelings. It is always appropriate to apologize for hurting others. This opens the door that may open their heart to forgiveness. It also indicates your willingness to move past the conflict.

It is an unfortunate reality that we hurt others, yet part of learning to love is learning to forgive. The less time we harbor hard feelings, the sooner we can forgive others for their weaknesses and imperfections. This is a church of love and that means this is a church of forgiveness. Learning to love those who have hurt us, as well as those we have hurt, moves us closer to the Christlike lives we are all striving for. - Bonnie Ramey, Charlotte, N.C.

What we did:

Re-establish trust

Relationships come in many forms (husband-wife, parent-child, individual-doctor/police/clergy, friend-friend, and numerous others). All relationships require a sharing of trust. The trust, when violated for any reason, requires real effort to re-establish. Here are some of the ways I have mended relationships by re-establishing trust:

Never allow hurt, anger, disappointment, discouragement or any other feeling to give you an excuse to stop loving someone. Love can heal all hurts, especially a Christlike love. That's why the scriptures teach us to love all of Heavenly Father's children, even our enemies.

Never give up. Mending a relationship is important to our eternal life.

Be the first to forgive. Offering forgiveness helps relieve the guilt and hate and fosters healing from the pain that occurs when one betrays another.

Don't hold a grudge. Feelings of revenge/vengeance invite the spirit to leave us and severely hamper our efforts to mend valuable relationships.

Learn to listen. By listening to the other viewpoint, you will build empathy for the other person and promote an environment in which the Spirit can be present.

Avoid name-calling. Share feelings and see how communication blossoms and differences subside.

Place your ultimate trust in the Lord and Heavenly Father. When you center your trust in any person, you are likely to be disappointed. - Michael W. Fritchen, Ft. Leavenworth Kan.

Follow promptings

Before you can repair a wounded relationship you must repair your own heart. Once that has taken place, then you will not have barriers in the way of mending the relationship. If you still hold the slightest reminder of the feelings that you had when you hurt the person, it will be very difficult to approach the situation honestly.

The next step in the repair process is patience. Don't expect a quick "no problem, everything is back the way it was" response. Allow yourself time to show the person that you honestly are sincere in wanting to fix the relationship.

Also, always keep your relationship with your Father in Heaven strong so that He can bless you with promptings that will lead you in the proper path of repairing relationships with your brothers and sisters. - W. Denis Nurmela, Sun City, Calif.

Act in kindness

Several years ago my wife reprimanded a neighbor's son for doing something he shouldn't have done. His mother didn't like that, and there were hard feelings between our families for months.

One summer day I stopped at a roadside stand to buy some corn. I only needed a dozen ears for my family, but could get three dozen for only a little more, so I did. Upon arriving home, I walked across the street to the mother who had hard feelings toward us and asked if she would like some fresh corn for dinner. I gave her enough for her entire family and she thanked me.

That little act of kindness erased months of hard feelings. Our families have been friends again ever since. - Wayne H. Martin, Wilminton, Del.

Show repentant heart

When you hurt someone, try to form the habit of asking the person for forgiveness. It takes nothing away from you to say "I'm sorry."

Show a repentant heart. Talk, if possible, to the person you hurt, saying that you regret your actions. Also, ask him or her to forgive you for the offense.

Mba Ogburubi, Agege, Nigeria

Write a letter

Send a letter. When a friendship is in trouble, a letter lets you reveal yourself in a way that is not possible in a verbal conversation.

Close personal connections are few and far between, invaluable and not easily replaced. When differences occur the very survival of the relationship can depend on finding a quick resolution. A private letter from the heart works wonders.

Write the letter promptly.

Preferably, write it by hand.

Use "I."

Expose your tender feelings.

Own up to what you did wrong.

Don't use humor.

Restore trust and love. - Brian McClung, Las Vegas, Nev.

Apologize quickly

Repent (apologize) quickly. The longer a person has to reflect upon your offense, the more faults and weaknesses he will ascribe to you - real or imagined. Ask the person to forgive your momentary "stupidity" or lack of sensitivity.

If you have offended a family member, you may want to ask that person to have a prayer with you, and listen as you ask Heavenly Father to also forgive you for the same offense. - Gordon Roth, Sacramento, Calif.

How to checklist:

1 Ask for forgiveness; admit mistakes.

2 Seek Lord's help; pray for the hurt individual.

3 Offer acts of kindness; go the extra mile.

4 Learn to listen; show acceptance and respect


April 6 "How to apply the counsel of the prophet in your personal life."

April 20 "How to help children learn tolerance, understanding of those of other faiths."

April 27 "How to practice integrity in one's life."

May 4 "How to show respect, be polite while on a date as a young person."

May 11 "How to take control of, responsibility for your own life."

May 18 "How to make extra money as a youth under 16."

May 25 "How to decorate your home on a limited budget."

June 1 "How to curb impulsive spending."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, send fax to (801) 237-2121 or use internet E-mail: Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.

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