Forgiveness is a huge subject and certainly one in which the Bible is not silent. In the Bible we can read about our amazing and loving Heavenly Father who forgives us of all trespasses. God calls sinners to seek Him and promises them forgiveness. It is because of His great mercy and grace that God rescues the believer from the dominion of darkness that began way back in the Garden. Jesus extends a loving invitation for forgiveness of sins which is only possible through His shed blood. He gave His life so that we may live. We are forgiven because He was forsaken – That is amazing love!
Forgiving someone can be difficult. Why do we need to forgive others? How can we forgive a person? The Bible can provide us with answers, inspiration and direction.
Actually, forgiveness is not only about others, but also about our own spiritual growth. Love and forgiveness cannot be separated. If we choose to live out the love of God as the purpose of our life, then forgiving is an option that cannot be avoided.
God’s Character is Forgiving
Psalm 51:17 (ESV) The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Psalm 86:4-5 (ESV) Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Psalm 103:8-12 (ESV) The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
Isaiah 1:18 (ESV) “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
Because we were once sinners we should forgive others
Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV) For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Colossians 3:13 (NIV) Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV) Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
The Christian’s Attitude of Forgiveness
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV) Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (attitude: can love cover it?)
2 Corinthians 2:5-8 (ESV) Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. (attitude: stand ready to forgive)
Galatians 6:1-2 (ESV) Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. (attitude: approach gently and stand ready to restore the relationship)
*Ephesians 4:31-32 (ESV) Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (attitude: loving and forgiving just like God forgave you)
Christian Quotes About Forgiveness
“A forgiveness ought to be like a canceled note, torn in two and burned up, so that it can never be shown against the man. “ ~ Henry Ward Beecher
“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” ~ Corrie Ten Boom
“Man has two great spiritual needs. One is for forgiveness. The other is for goodness.” ~ Billy Graham
“Forgiving and being forgiven are two names for the same thing. The important thing is that a discord has been resolved.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“To err is human, to forgive, divine.” ~ Alexander Pope