In Part 1 of this blog series we looked at Exodus 8 and how Pharaoh waited a day to have Moses ask God to get rid of the frogs. Carrying unforgiveness around in your heart is like carrying a bunch of frogs around with you. Forgiveness allows us to get rid of these frogs. If you did not read Part 1 of this blog series, you can read it here.
In Part 2, I shared a bit about my personal story and my journey to learn what real forgiveness was. If you did not read Part 2 of this blog series, you can read it here.
In Part 3, I discussed the ideas of admitting we need help, taking responsibility for our own happiness, stop putting it off, and turning your mess into your message. If you did not read Part 3 of this blog series, you can read it here.
In Part 4, I discussed the two major turning points in my life and how one of those turning points involved true forgiveness. If you did not read Part 4 of this blog series, you can read it here.
In Part 5, I discussed some reasons why we fake forgiveness. If you did not read Part 5 of this blog series, you can read it here.
In Part 6, I discussed some of the things that forgiveness is not. If you did not read Part 6 of this blog series, you can read it here.
In Part 7, I discussed what forgiveness is. If you did not read Part 7 of this blog series, you can read it here.
Now that we have a better idea of what forgiveness is and what it is not, it is time to take a look at ways that we know that we have truly forgiven someone.
How Do I Know If I Have Forgiven?
Here are 3 ways to gauge whether or not you have really forgiven someone
If you can wish a person well and mean it. People say things all the time and don’t really mean it. It is a common greeting in our culture to ask, “How are you doing?” The common response is almost always, “Fine.” People say they are fine even if they are not fine. Many people are not fine at all, but by saying they are fine, they don’t have to reveal what is not fine in their lives. They can keep the conversation very superficial and everyone can go on their way and continue living their lives. It keeps things from getting messy. The main problem with this is that you are not being truthful with the person.
If you wish someone well, but you have not forgiven someone for something they have done to you, you are not being truthful with them. If you are holding on to a frog with their name on it, you really don’t want “well” to come their way. You want them to feel bad and regret hurting you. When you do truly forgive someone, you can wish them well and know that you mean it because you have let that frog go. You no longer hold any ill-will towards them so you really mean it when you want nothing but good things to come their way.
If you can pray for that person from your heart. Something I have noticed a lot in Christians is that they tell people they will pray for them about some matter, but often times never get around to actually praying for them at all. I am a firm believer in that you should do what you say you will do. If you don’t plan on doing something, then you shouldn’t tell someone that you will do it. I understand that sometimes people say they will do something and have every intention of doing it, but something comes up and it gets put on the back burner and never gets done. This has happened to me on several occasions, more than I would like, but we really need to think strongly about what we promise others. If we tell them something, we really need to make it a priority to do it. We need to pray for God to bring blessings into their life.
When you have truly forgiven someone, your heart is freed up from the weight of what they have done to you. Having this freedom in your heart allows you to pray for that person and truly mean it from the heart. God hears heartfelt prayers and these are the types of prayers that God responds to. If you are praying for someone and are faking it because you have not really forgiven them, you would be better off not praying for them at all because your prayer is not sincere anyway. God does not respond to prayers that are not sincere
If you are actually willing to help a person. It is very hard to be willing to help someone if you have not forgiven them. Once you have forgiven them though, you will find that your attitude towards helping that person changes completely. You are actually willing to help them. Since you are no longer hanging on to your anger towards that person, you want to see good things happen in their life. If you see that person is down and you can help them, you will be willing to help them because your heart has been freed of the pain. Your burden is lighter because you are no longer carrying that frog. Forgiveness really is a beautiful thing. For you and the person you forgive.
Carrying unforgiveness hurts us more than it will ever hurt the person we do not forgive. When we forgive, it leads to hope and healing. Forgiveness may be hard at the time, but it is worth it.