Nothing is more of a sensitive issue in life than forgiveness. There are many bible verses about forgiveness. But just because the bible speaks so many times about forgiveness does not mean that it is something that is easily remedied in a Christians life. Most have no problem understaing about forgiveness as it comes from God or even others. Most of the time our biggest struggle about forgiveness comes when we must forgive others.
After 30+ years of being a pastor it pretty much comes down to this. Determining who is right. A person who is hurt by someone else feels that the offending person or persons should be “asking” for forgiveness. That is not what the Bible teaches. Forgiveness is offered even when there is no request to do so. I have seen so many people crippled by anger and hurt waiting for an apology until they become bitter. That bitter root can take root in a person’s heart and can “cause trouble and defile many.” When issues about forgiveness comes up people suddenly become concerned about their “rights”. When that begins to happen we have stepped out of the light of God’s grace and into a desire for punitive payment for the pain caused. The longer a person waits to forgive the bigger the payment of the pain debt. I’ve seen grown men become bitter hermits over unforgiveness. I’ve seen beautiful young people become despondant and withdrawn over not forgiving an irresponsible parent. All Christian should know what the Bible teaches about forgiveness.
In the parable of the unmerciful servant, a man owed his employer a large sum of money, the man begged for lienancy. The employer forgave the debt. The man then went out and found someone that owed him money and had him jailed for not paying him. Word got back to the employer who was enraged, reistated the debt and had him put in prison. In Matthew 18:35, the last verse of this account, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
Unforgivess keeps you in an emotional prison. No joy, no community, no freedom from your thoughts. Not offering forgiveness when it is not requested is not worth it. Freedom from that stress is much more important. After all, you were forgiven, so forgive others.
Bible Verses About Forgiveness
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12:14-15
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. Matthew 6:14-15
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? “Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24
So watch yourselves. “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says , ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” Luke 17:3-4
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25
Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Colossians 3:13
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Matthew 6:12
Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; Luke 6:37
Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done.” Proverbs 24:29
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
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