For the one who totally forgives from the heart, there is little self-righteousness. Two reasons we are able to forgive are:
• We see what we ourselves have been forgiven of.
• We see what we are capable of.
When we are indignant over someone else’s wickedness, there is the real possibility either that we are self-righteous or that we have no objectivity about ourselves. When we truly see ourselves as we are, we will recognize that we are just as capable of committing any sin as anyone else. We are saved only by God’s intervening grace.
I must add one caution: never go to a person you have had to forgive and say, “I forgive you.” This will be counterproductive every time unless it is to a person that you know is yearning for you to forgive them. Otherwise, you will create a stir with which you will not be able to cope. They will say to you, “For what?” It is my experience that nine out of ten people I have had to forgive sincerely do not feel they have done anything wrong. It is up to me to forgive them from my heart—and then keep quiet about it.
R. T. Kendall, Total Forgiveness: When Everything in You Wants to Hold a Grudge, Point a Finger, and Remember the Pain - God Wants You to Lay It All aside (Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2010).