I’ve had people ask me, “I think I’ve forgiven them but how can I know for sure?”
This is a GREAT question because it reveals we’re genuinely searching our heart.
But sometimes it’s hard to tell. So how can you know for sure?
Last week, I shared seven ways to know you have not forgiven yet.
Today, I share three ways to know you HAVE forgiven.
1. You talk like an overcomer
When you talk like a victim you’re overly focused on your offender and you give your offender too much control over your story.
Forgiveness recognizes that God is in control not your offender. When you transition your language from “victim” to “overcomer”, you draw the focus back on our Creator and Redeemer.
Like Joseph we can say, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Gen. 50:20)
Despite being falsely accused, betrayed, and crucified, Jesus never focused on how unfair his offender’s behavior was but instead focused on God’s sovereignty and overcoming their actions with forgiveness.
When you can refer to your past as an overcomer, it’s a great sign that forgiveness has taken place.
2. You own part of the problem
It’s easy to think it was 100% their fault. Even though it may be mostly their fault, chances are there’s something you can own.
He clearly mistreated you, but as you pause and look back, maybe people had advised you to beware of him.
She consistently demeaned and hurt you, but as you pause and look back, maybe you kept answering her texts and letting her back into your life.
She seduced you, but as you pause and look back, maybe you stayed too long.
He stole from you, but as you pause and look back, maybe you rushed past all of the warning signs.
Owning your part (even if it’s only 5%) unleashes an accurate perspective and a forgiving heart. After all, there is only person who has ever lived who was 100% innocent.
CAVEAT: There are exceptions when a child is abused, someone is attacked, etc. when one person is 100% responsible. However, most of us have a percentage we can own.
When you own your part of the problem, it’s a great sign that you have a forgiving heart.
3. You genuinely wish them well
This has nothing to do with your offender, their guilt, their remorse (or lack of), etc. You may forgive them but decide that it’s not wise to give them access to your life.
However, when you wish them well you are recognizing that in light of the cross, we’re all needy people. In the New Testament, Jesus challenges us to pray for and to love our enemies.
When you genuinely wish your offender well, it’s a great sign that you have a forgiving heart.
Anything else you would add that reveals forgiveness has taken place?