Forgiving from the Heart

How do we know we have truly forgiven?

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In his article, “Forgiveness—The Power to Change the Past,” Lewis B. Smedes talks about forgiveness as a redemptive response to having been wronged and wounded. Jesus commanded us to forgive our brother from our heart (Matthew 18:35). Yet because we have memory, sometimes the hurt and pain resurface, and we find that once again we are struggling with the very issue we thought we had forgiven.

How do we know when we have truly forgiven? Why must we forgive others? What are the steps to forgiveness? Does forgiveness always mean reconciliation? This study will discuss these issues.

Table of Contents

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 5:23–24; 18:21–35; Romans 12:17–21; 2 Corinthians 5:18–21; Philippians 4:5–8; Hebrews 12:14–15


    • Identify the Current Issue

    • Discover the Eternal Principles

Teaching point one: We forgive others because Jesus forgave us.
Teaching point two: Forgiveness is a process.
Teaching point three:Forgiveness surrenders our right to get even.
Teaching point four: Ideally, forgiving leads to reconciliation.
    • Apply Your Findings


    • Forgiveness—The Power to Change the Past, by Lewis B. Smedes (1983, 17 printed pages)

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