Hello everyone, I hope you are all fine by God’s grace. Today’s post is aimed at helping you to recognize whether or not you’ve forgiven someone.
In my high school years, I started being more aware of my emotions. I was able to discern when I was hurt and which feelings I had. I think the adolescence period is one of discovery of self and maybe that’s why our strongest memories of heart aches arise from there. In growing up, we should be able to recognize that what we feel is a template of our inner state. From what you feel when you think about someone, you can know whether you’ve forgiven the person or not.
Notwithstanding, let’s get going with our list of 5 signs you haven’t forgive someone. The illustrations are picked from the story of Cain and Abel.
Genesis 4:3-5a NIV
In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord . And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.
1. When you think about the person, you’re angry
Genesis 4:5-6 NIV
So Cain was very angry,…….. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry?….
When you’re angry against someone, it shows on your face, and even if you are able to hide it from everyone you can’t hide it from God. Anger is a good indicator of unforgiveness.
2. When you think about the person you’re sad
Genesis 4:5-6 NIV
…… and his face was downcast. Then the Lord said to Cain,….. Why is your face downcast?…
Do you think God asked Cain why he was angry and why his face was downcast because He didn’t know the answer to those questions? God knew why Cain was that way, but did Cain even realize why he was feeling that way?
At times we feel things which really move us but we aren’t able to figure out exactly what we feel. God’s questions weren’t to obtain an answer for Himself but possibly to help Cain realize what he was feeling.
Why is it so important to know clearly what we are feeling and why we’re feeling it? It’s because we have to process those feelings. If feelings of anger or sadness for example aren’t processed, they can lead to something deeper and more dangerous.
3. Your mind is meditating on random ways to hurt them or revenge
Genesis 4:7 NIV
If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
In this verse, God was kind of trying to help Cain take the best decision possible. We can imagine how many Cain was angry and upset, with his mind wandering around with thoughts of anger. Cain had at least two options; hurting his brother or not. God was indicating to him that though he was tempted to sin against his brother, he could still refuse to give in to the temptation.
Refusing to give in to temptation=ruling over sin.
We’re often faced with the same temptation “I am so mad at this person, will I revenge and hurt him/her? Shall I? Shall I not?”
God teaches us that we have a choice, and we must do what is right.
Genesis 4:8 NIV
Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
My personal advice is, if you can’t control your anger or your thoughts of evil against someone, stay gar away from the person till you have processed those emotions. If not, you’ll just let yourself to be led by all those negative feelings and you shall hurt the person and you’ll never be able to turn back time.
My other advice is to every “Abel” out there. Please when you see (on someone’s face, or through the person’s actions towards you, or even the tone of their voice) that someone is really angry with you, try to avoid the person till he/she has calmed down. Take precautions, one never knows what anger could push the person to do.
5. You can’t stand hearing about them (even when you’re done hurting them)
Genesis 4:9 NIV
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Have you noticed how much, when you bear a grudge against someone you can’t even stand hearing the person’s name being pronounced near you? You can’t stand looking at the person, and if people even ask you about him/her you just feel so annoyed.
Cain had killed his brother, hence if to him Abel had been the source of all his problems, he would have been fine by that time and totally ok with God asking about him. However, we notice how “aggressive” Cain’s response is when God asks about his brother: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
It was just as if Cain was asking “Even dead You(God) still care about Abel more than You do about me? Why ask me about him?”
Cain thought he had eliminated the problem by killing his brother, but his response clearly shows that though he had killed him, he was still mad at him. Cain’s real problem was unforgiveness (and jealousy), what he should have done from the very beginning was to process all those negative feelings he had towards Abel.
From this little story, I think you have noticed that someone doesn’t need to do something bad to you for you to start holding a grudge against him/her. The person could innocently be doing a nice job (like Abel) and you (like Cain) could start feeling jealous that they bear more fruits than you or perform better than you, or are more appreciated than you, and just start hating them for nothing. In such cases, you have to forgive them in your heart (even though they never did anything to hurt you and even though it was all in your mind).
If your feelings and attitude correspond to 3 or more of those listed above, chances are that you indeed haven’t forgiven them. Actually, at times if you fit in even just one of the items of the list, it’s already an indicator that something is wrong.
The first step in forgiving someone is to recognize that you really have something against the person.
Also, the anger we direct towards people is at times a reflection of the anger we feel for our ownselves, and an indicator that we haven’t been able to forgive ourselves yet.
Tomorrow’s post God willing will be on how to counter-attack the 5 signs of unforgiveness listed above in order to forgive. (Stay tuned)
Almighty Merciful and loving Father, thank You for revealing to me today how to recognize signs of unforgiveness. Help me notice who I still need to forgive. Please Lord, also guard the hearts of those who are angry against me, that they may find a place to forgive me. In Jesus Christ’s Name I pray. Amen.