What Does Forgiveness Feel Like?

We all have to do it… Forgive. Forgive people who’ve hurt us – Forgive ourselves. 

I believe the hardest person to forgive is ourself. It took seven years for me to forgive myself for having my abortions. That’s a long time.

This week I spoke at a beautiful gathering called Known, in Nashville. I shared my story of how Confession Brings Freedom. I also shared how forgiveness brings freedom.

After my talk I was blessed to be able to meet with several women. One asked me, “How do you know you have forgiven someone?”

I could tell by the look in her eyes she was desperately wanting to forgive. My answer…

You’ll know you’ve forgiven someone when you can think of them without feeling anger. 

“Oh, well I haven’t forgiven them.”

I assured her that that was okay. She is processing a hurt. But what isn’t okay is when that feeling doesn’t go away. When the anger remains, there are deeper issues. 

When you can think of your abuser and not feel anger, but feel sadness for them… that is when know what forgiveness feels like.

When you can pray for your offender, and wholly desire restoration for them, you have experienced forgiveness. 

If you can’t – you need to bless and release them. Release them to God. Blessing and releasing them frees you up to focus on healing and places the weight in God’s hands – the One who is more than qualified and able to convict and forgive. 

Lean in to your emotions, they are God-given. Think solidly. Pray fervently. Give grace abundantly. But know when it’s time to release yourself from your abuser’s grip. When you get there… You will know what forgiveness feels like.

Be blessed, my friend.