I am a survivor. This person, whose actions wounded me so deeply, is close to our family. I grew up with him. We have always had a bitter-filled relationship, without acknowledging the source of the bitterness. Forgiveness means letting that go.
In the past several years, especially since becoming a mother, I have chosen to acknowledge the source of that bitterness. Reopening that dark time in our family history was difficult and that doesn't even begin to describe it. Many of the people (not that many people were involved- it's just that the majority of the few) equated that with UNforgiveness.
So, it's something I've wondered about often. How do I know I have forgiven him? Well, I do know that it's not dependent on other people's opinions. I think forgiveness is between me and God. I don't feel fully capable of forgiving this person, but I rely on God to fill in the gaps for me. I know that He is the author of forgiveness. He has forgiven me and enabled me to forgive. And I think that I can look at my life for evidence of forgiveness. I have peace in my heart.
We have an upcoming trip to visit family. I am hoping for a peace that surpasses all understanding. I considered writing him a note to ask him to please be nice to me this time. But, I think I'll leave it in God's hands. He is much more capable than I.