How to know you have forgiven someone. Yesterday we spoke about this scripture out of Matthew "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" (Matt.6:12). This is very important because God forgives us the way we forgive others, and all of us need forgiveness for our sins. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom.3:23). We all need God to be merciful to us and forgive our sins, but God expects us to be merciful to others and forgive those that have done us wrong. The word forgiveness comes from a Greek word that means to, release, or send away, or to let go. You know you have forgiven someone when you can, "let it go." When you think about the person that has done you wrong do you get angry? If so, you have not let it go. This is not always easy because some people have really suffered at the hands of others and sometimes it is someone that you trusted very much, even a close family member.
Many of us have deep wounds, and we have tried to cover them, but we have not truly allowed God to heal them. When thoughts of revenge or rejoicing when the person that caused the offense suffers in some way brings a sense of satisfaction, that means we have not forgiven the person. (This is not to say an offender should not be brought to civil justice for their crimes. If someone killed your brother, they should be turned in so they stop killing.) The forgiveness part is that we do not wish evil to that person. I have heard people say, they want to see someone burn in hell, but that is not the heart of God. To forgive or to release offenses is more for us then for the person that offended us. If they have done wrong, then they have a problem between them and God, but we must be forgiving so we do not have a problem with God. Unforgiveness, anger, resentment, these thing's harm us, the person that offended many times even forgets what they have done, but they have planted the seed in us, this is all a trick of the devil. Someone illustrated unforgiveness this way. They said, to wish evil on someone else is like drinking poison and watching the other person hoping they will die.
Holding a grudge kills us. We must forgive. "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing" (1 Pet.3:8-9). Forgiveness is the FOUNDATION of reconciliation. Therefore, FORGIVE others as quickly as you expect God to forgive you. With LOVE, there is FORGIVENESS, and with forgiveness, there is FREEDOM! (Next, how God helps us to forgive)