How can you know if you have forgiven someone? Or better… how can you know if you are getting closer to having forgiven someone?
For me… in my own little world… I measure where I am in forgiving someone by listening to my heart and evaluating whether my thoughts are conforming to Scripture.
Do I want the person who has hurt me to be blessed?
Do I want that person to prosper?
Do I want their family to prosper?
Do I no longer hold animosity toward them for what they did to me?
Do I pray FOR the person who has wounded me?
Have I given the person and the situation over to God through prayer?
Do I secretly want them to get what’s coming to them… or do I not want them to suffer?
The deepest hurt is when a person you trusted… a person you helped… a person you defended before others… a person you loved turns on you and does something that causes you and/or your family hardship. If you can easily forgive a person, then they have not wounded you deeply. It takes time to forgive people who have wounded and hurt you in a significant manner.
Over the years, just like you and everyone else in the world, there are people who have said and/or done things that have hurt me and my family. I personally believe God brings those things into our lives (Or allows them into our lives) for a few reasons:
So that we will know something of what it takes to forgive…
So that we will work to become more like Jesus by forgiving others as He did…
So that we will work not to wound others and cause them to hurt like we’ve hurt…
So that we can help others forgive when they are struggling to forgive.
Forgiveness is a process, it is not an event. Forgiveness is something we must work toward OR ELSE we will become bitter people. I’ve seen what bitterness looks like in people, and I don’t like it! I don’t want to be a bitter old person… so to follow my wife’s advice… I’m working not to be bitter now!
THE best way to forgive others is to realize and embrace that God has forgiven YOU. If we will not forgive, then the reality of our own forgiveness is in doubt. “Forgive others as God in Christ has forgiven you.” Hmmm…
Previous blog posts on forgiveness for consideration: Mandisa and Forgiveness, You’ve Forgiven When (Part 1), You’ve Forgiven When (Part 2), Thoughts On Forgiveness, It’s Hard To Forgive, One Way To Know You’ve Forgiven, Why Is Forgiveness So Hard,