How To Know If You Have Truly Forgiven
Copyright © 2007 Heaven Ministries 

“Yes dear, I forgive you.” Said the husband to his wife. But the wife doesn’t think her husband really has forgiven her. His actions are sporting a different attitude than what he is saying. We can talk a good talk and we can muster up some good lines and say how we have forgiven until we are blue in the face but if our actions say something different then it is all for nothing. We have to be willing to set aside our stubbornness and actually forgive from the heart. If we hold on to a proud attitude and only mouth the words of forgiveness, what’s that? That’s a lie. 

In fact, we are lying to ourselves by believing we have forgiven. When we try and validate in our minds that we have forgiven, we feel a sense of comfort, which somewhat diminishes the hurt we are feeling. But this is only a temporary feel good tactic and does not actually work. Forgiving is difficult to do because we have been wounded by the actions of another. The problem is that wound will determine how we forgive. If we allow our feelings to dictate our actions, true forgiveness won’t happen. 

This is the motivation behind the Alcoholic Anonymous program. The program encourages the alcoholic to forgive all the people they need to forgive, so they can finally be free of the suffering they are feeling. Once free, they may not be tempted to go back to the drink again. But there again, this doesn’t always work, it depends on what foundation the alcoholic has decided to base their forgiveness on. It is all about having a change of heart and having compassion for others. 

“If any of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7 NIV)

How will you know if you have truly forgiven someone? When you feel a heavy weight has been lifted from your heart and mind you will know that Jesus has taken the suffering and pain from you. And that will be your change in attitude. Jesus Christ, died for forgiveness, therefore it is only through Him that we can forgive! We do not have the power on our own to forgive. God gave us forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)

Do you see how that works? Why did Jesus have to suffer and die for our sins? Why couldn’t He have just died from old age? Because Jesus was part of God’s plan. Jesus is a representation for the world to know and accept what true forgiveness and love really is? Jesus could have saved Himself but instead He endured suffering for all of us in the world. 

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24 NIV)

Without a forgiving heart we will never know the true meaning of loving someone and experiencing how loving someone feels. Essentially, we must forgive in the same way we ourselves have been forgiven from our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 

“No one, sir,” she said. 

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:10,11 NIV)

We have to die to our sins by giving up those sins. Until we can accept forgiveness for our own sins, which is belief in Jesus Christ and what He has done for us, we won’t be able to forgive others either. 

“All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. (Acts 10:43 NIV)

Forgiveness is much more than what a million words can say. Forgiveness is in the way we live our life and how we treat others. Forgiveness is love. We love others by our actions and not by our words. Once we actually do forgive someone we’ll know what it is to love our neighbor because we realize how our neighbor deserved forgiveness from us just as much as we needed to rid the pain and suffering from our heart and mind.

Jesus said to Simon: “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” (Luke 7:44-47 NIV)


Couples Questions

How can you tell if you have truly forgiven someone?



How can you tell if someone has truly forgiven you?



Have you ever truly forgiven someone? How did it make you feel?



Why is forgiveness so important?