Our journey’s destination is forgiveness. But how do we know if we’ve arrived? Our thoughts, actions, and feelings will tell us if we’re getting closer. It may be that our journey of forgiveness will not be complete until our life’s journey is complete. It’s good to imagine that day, however, and consider the choices we must make to be the type of person we’ll want to be when we meet Jesus face-to-face.
Until then, we can hope that our final end, and the final end of the one who hurt us, will be one and the same. That’s what Jesus wants, and so should we.
“For instance, how do we act toward those who hurt us, should we encounter them? Are we civil and polite, or are we cold, unkind, or passive-aggressive? Do we slander or spread nasty rumors about them? Or can we bite our lip or even say something positive about them? Do we pray for them?
“We should check our feelings too, to determine how well we’re doing with forgiveness. Do bitterness and anger still eat away at us? Does part of us still want revenge? And if we still feel the pain despite all our best efforts to forgive, do we try to numb it with food, alcohol, irresponsible sex, or some other negative behavior? Or, on the other hand, do we experience a measure of peace? Can we encounter this certain person in a social gathering without our feathers being ruffled, or our blood pressure rising?
"Another sign that we’ve forgiven is an ability to look back at the hurtful situation and find things for which to be thankful. At the time, we may have thought that God was absent, or that he didn’t care. But now, we can see God’s hand in that situation, and appreciate that he allowed it to help us grow. We now understand an occasion of pain as an occasion of grace and an opportunity to forgive.” (Fr. Scott)
To learn more about the process of forgiveness, check out Fr. Scott Hurd’s book, Forgiveness: A Catholic Approach.