The knowledge and understanding of forgiveness is one of the most important things we can have.
Unforgiveness breeds bitterness, resentment, anger, unkindness, and even despair. This, which leads to unrighteousness, is something we need to avoid; otherwise, we’ll be eaten alive by our own negativity.
But we must remember that forgiving doesn’t always mean forgetting. Often, it means withdrawing from the person who hurt us and giving ourselves a sense of peace.
There are many ways to forgive. Forgiveness includes forgiving ourselves and others and even asking God to forgive us.
In this article, we’ll look at seven Bible verses about forgiveness and what it means to forgive.
Forgiveness means to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake.
According to the Bible, we have an obligation to forgive others when they hurt us. Jesus is clear on this point in Matthew 6:14-15:
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you don't forgive others their sins, your Father won't forgive your sins.”
Just as we deserve forgiveness, so do those who hurt us. We must extend forgiveness to others just as we hope to be forgiven.
Greed or revenge don’t help us in the long run. Our role is to trust in God for justice and to help us forgive the offender.
It doesn't mean we have to forget the offense. Rather than placing blame on the other, forgiveness means that one puts the event into God's hands and moves forward.
You can resume a relationship with the offender if one previously existed, but you don’t have to in order to forgive. Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean continuing a relationship with someone.
In any case, a victim of a crime doesn't have to be close friends with the perpetrator. You just need to give the responsibility of judgment to the legal courts and ultimately God.
When we learn to forgive others, we feel a sense of freedom. Choosing not to forgive makes us slaves to bitterness, and hatred stirs in our hearts.
Those who hold on to unforgiveness are the ones who are most hurt in the end.
In the Bible, forgiveness is demonstrated in many ways. The Bible is also a teacher on how to forgive.
Jesus was the ultimate teacher on how to offer forgiveness. In Matthew 18:21-22, Jesus had a discussion with Peter about this:
"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’"
To Jesus, forgiveness wasn’t a way to absolve others of their sins. He knew it was more a reflection on us as people.
The Bible also illustrates why we should forgive:
These are reasons enough to forgive others: Because God asks us to, to heal us from hurt, and so we won’t grow bitter.
We also must always ask for forgiveness of our own sins in the name of Jesus Christ, for He was the bringer of forgiveness through eternal life. For the riches of God and the riches of His grace stretch from the depths of the sea to the tops of mountains ‘til kingdom come.
God forgives all of our sins when we devote our lives to Him.
And there are plenty of Bible verses that talk about forgiveness in all its capacities in God’s word. Here are four different types of Bible verses of forgiveness.
"As far as the East is from the West, so far has He removed our transgressions from us" (Psalm 103:12).
No matter what we do, we should always try to forgive ourselves. This doesn’t mean we can go out and do horrible things and then forgive ourselves on repeat. It simply means when we truly repent for a transgression, we need to find the capacity to forgive ourselves, for God removes all our transgressions from us.
“You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you” (Psalm 86:5).
The Lord is all-forgiving. So we must resemble Him and be forgiving as well. This includes forgiving ourselves and asking for the forgiveness of sins through prayer.
“Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
When we feel anxious or stressed, we can always look to the Heavenly Father to bear our burdens. This includes the burden of not being able to forgive ourselves. For He always forgives, no matter what.
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14).
This is an important verse to ruminate on. When we forgive others, the Lord forgives us for any thoughts of revenge that may have crossed our minds beforehand. It pleases the Holy Spirit to see us forgive others as He would. This is further illustrated in the next verse:
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).
When we forgive, we're given the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is God's love.
“Do not judge, and you won't be judged. Do not condemn, and you won't be condemned. Forgive, and you'll be forgiven” (Luke 6:37).
Whether we judge, condemn, or take revenge, we can always ask forgiveness from the Lord. As long as you truly feel repentance in your hearts and look to Him with humility, Father God will always provide forgiveness of your sins.
We should follow His example and do the same.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ, God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
God loves us unconditionally, and to love also means to forgive. Compassion and kindness make God the happiest.
For someone who has never experienced or received the forgiveness of the Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus, forgiveness can be difficult to understand.
If we forgive, as the scriptures instruct us to, then there’s no way we can fail. That’s why the key to forgiveness is through the Holy Spirit.