Yes, it’s possible to forgive someone, even after they die. Why should I forgive someone if they’re dead? This question came up in a sozo session recently. The answer is because it’s affecting us who are living. When someone dies, their memory lingers on in our minds. The words a loved one may have said still echo in our hearts continuing to give us comfort, or possibly dread, long after they’re gone. Even after someone dies, their actions to others linger on as well.
We can still be hurt and hindered by a conversation that happened 30 years ago even if we have no idea where the person is. We are forgiving the person for saying the hurtful words at the time that the words caused us pain. We forgive the person who said whatever caused pain since it was not in agreement with how the Lord sees us, based on what God says in scripture. We may need to repent for giving the person who said it more power than God’s positive view of us in our mind.
Forgiveness breaks the power of these words or actions to hurt us any longer. By forgiving we are releasing over to God our rights to stay angry and “hold it against them in our hearts.” It’s like opening our hands to release the incident, or person. God picks this up. He will deal with the person and incident. Even if they’re dead, God can give blessing, peace and restitution to us when we offer him our forgiveness.
The process of forgiveness never makes what happened okay. Rather it frees us to receive God’s healing power of restoration and healing.