In my last blog post we spoke about the three signs of un-forgiveness. In this blog post we will be looking at five signs that show that we have forgiven someone. The beauty about this particular topic is that each sign also helps the person struggling with unforgiving feelings. So you will not only learn about the signs, you will also be learning how to forgive.
What I have grown to love about the topic of forgiveness is that irrespective of how deep the hurt is, the process of forgiveness is the same. So, no one should be reading this article and still be left in a place of holding on to the hurtful feelings of yesterday. However, if you find yourself struggling from the hurtful experiences in your past, check out the devotional ‘21 Days To Forgiveness’. In a step by step manner, this book has helped many individuals experience great healing from the hurts of yesterday.
The five signs discussed here are based on the life of Joseph son of Jacob. If you’re not familiar with his life, you need to be. He was badly mistreated by his brothers, sold into slavery, slandered, thrown in prison, forgotten by those he helped, and all this was over a 13 year period. Although his pain was so great, he truly forgave those who had hurt him.
Let’s look at the five signs.
The First Sign - You Don’t Publicize the faults of the offender.
Possibly, the most powerful sign that you have forgiven someone is that you don’t publicize the faults of the person who has offended you. This means that you don’t spread information about the offender to persons who are not involved. There is a time to speak about what we have gone through, but the unforgiving person always discusses his painful experience with EVERYONE. If you desire to grow to be a forgiving person, always watch what information you share and who you share personal information with. I must emphasize that forgiveness does entail speaking about what you have gone through, but it must be with those persons who can help you move forward, not just any Tom, dick and Harry.
The Second Sign - You are willing to be Reconciled.
Reconciliation is quite a big word, but it really is bringing across the notion of restoration. When an offense occurs, friendships can be broken. However, when forgiveness occurs, friendships can be restored. Reconciliation involves the restoration of two parties to their former state.
The truth, however, is that reconciliation is not always possible because it involves both parties coming together with the same aim - the healing of the relationship. If you have forgiven someone, you are always WILLING to be reconciled to the individual who has offended you. So, even if the other person is not open to being reconciled, as long as you are willing to reconcile with the other party, you know you have forgiven that person. We can’t force the other person, we can only do our part.
Some people who have been hurt, want nothing to do with the person again. They are not willing to have a conversation about it. They have made up their mind to cut the person off and that’s that. That type of behavior shows that
un-forgiveness is still present. When you have forgiven someone, you are willing to be reconciled to the individual.
The Third Sign - You Don’t take the offender on a Guilt Trip
When forgiveness has occurred in someone’s heart, you want to move on emotionally, spiritually and socially. In order for this to be done, you have to choose not to make your offender continually feel as if you are expecting a ‘pay back’. People who struggle with unforgiving hearts are never satisfied emotionally - they always want their offender to feel guilty about what they did and they take advantage of every opportunity to let their offender experience guilt. The forgiving person, however, wants to help their offender to move forward and forget about the past.
The Fourth Sign - You look at the ‘why’ and not the ‘what’.
This is a very important point. Forgiving people choose to look at their ‘why’ and not their ‘what’. We all have gone through a bad experience, but some people fail to learn from what they have gone through. The unforgiving person has the tendency to harp on what they have gone through, and they repeat the story to EVERYONE a million times. The forgiving person, on the other hand, chooses to look at why they went through what they went through. Forgiving people know that there is a lesson to learn irrespective of how painful their circumstances were and they choose to look at why they went through that experience instead of merely focusing on what they went through.
The Fifth Sign - You show kindness to your offender
In no way is forgiveness a passive process. Forgiving people take deliberate steps to ensure that they are free from the devastating consequences of an unforgiving heart. One of the best ways for us protect our heart from un-forgiveness and also show that we have forgiven is to show kindness to the person who has offended us. Kindness is a very powerful weapon. It has a way of opening the door to healing and restoration and a fresh start to a relationship. Forgiving people have no problem demonstrating acts of kindness to those who have offended them. In light of the fact that they have been healed they can truly love even those who are difficult to love by showing acts of kindness to them. Unforgiving people on the other hand, find it hard to be kind to those who have offended them. As a matter of fact the very idea of being kind to the person is extremely repulsive.
Forgiveness is a big deal and we all need to learn to do it better and better. It makes absolutely no sense to keep walking around with angry, bitter feelings for years. Emotional and spiritual freedom is very important for our well-being. Don’t allow any situation to sabotage your peace.
If you are having a hard time forgiving someone, read the Biblically based devotional ‘21 Days To Forgiveness’. It has been used to help people from all walks of life to get past hurtful and painful experiences. Although our past experiences will vary, the common ground is hurt - and it is very possible to get over the hurts of yesterday.