What Does the Bible Say About Forgiveness?

What does the Bible say about forgiveness? Do you know the simple steps of forgiving someone biblically? Do you struggle to forgive someone who has deeply hurt you? Do you realize there is POWER in forgiveness? When you make a choice to forgive the one who wronged you, the prisoner you release is you.

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What Does the Bible Say About Forgiveness?

Yet forgiving someone can be extremely hard to do at times and easier said than done. That being said, Christians are commanded to forgive. So What does the Bible say about forgiveness?

When you have been wronged it seems easier to hold a grudge against the person (s), whether it’s a relatively small thing or a much larger offense.

It can often seem like an insurmountable difficult choice for you to make, and in many cases, it can be a slow and painful process that will take time to work through.

What Does the Bible Say About Forgiveness?


What Does The Bible Say About Forgiveness?

The Bible is very straightforward when it comes to forgiveness.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. Matthew 18:21-22

When I think about my lack of forgiveness, especially when it comes to my fifteen-year abusive marriage, I often asked God “WHY” I should forgive him after so many years of abuse?

Now, I know it’s not “Angie’s” place to question God it was just hard to let it go for a very long time I’m afraid.

For me, holding onto the unforgiveness gave me a sense of security and a safety net to say I am no longer giving you the power to hurt me anymore. However, in doing this I hurt myself more because it makes me the prisoner not him.

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what forgiveness is NOT

  1. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you should forget the incident that happened.
  2. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to continue to include the person in your life.
  3. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you are excusing the behavior and action.
  4. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you will not have feelings about the situation.
  5. Forgiveness doesn’t mean there is nothing further to work out and everything is hunky-dory.
  6. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you need to necessarily tell the person that he or she is forgiven.
  7. Forgiveness is NOT something you do for the one that wronged you is something you do for YOU!

The questions remain:

  • Why We should forgive?
  • How We can forgive?

What Does the Bible say about Forgiveness in 5 Simple Steps?

1. You Should Forgive because God Has Forgiven you

In all honesty, where would you be today if you were not forgiven for ALL the wrongs you have personally committed?

In the above verses, there is no limit on forgiveness according to the scriptures. Jesus states, NOT seven times but seventy-seven.

In the first place, you do NOT deserve God’s forgiveness you deserve his wrath. Yet God in his loving mercy covers you with grace. If you expect to be forgiven for “YOUR” wrongs you must forgive “OTHERS” wrongs as well.

For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

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, and forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32

2. God’s Word Commands you to Forgive

God’s word states you MUST forgive but this also doesn’t mean, however, that you can not put boundaries in place.

For instance, in my case for me to not get drawn into painful memories of abuse, I must separate myself from a situation where I feel emotions of rage or anger may take place.

For those of us who have been abused by another…it’s so important that we realize that we are talking about FORGIVENESS, not JUSTIFYING our abuser’s behaviors, and not allowing that person to keep hurting us.

You can place your boundaries. But you MUST forgive them. In not doing so it is against the word of God first and foremost, and it’s also allowing them to live rent-free in your minds.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

3. Forgiveness Gives you the Freedom to Move Forward

Sadly many are held in bondage and chained like a prisoner due to bitterness, resentment, revenge, and anger. All of these issues, however, can be summed up in ONE word…UNFORGIVENESS.

Unforgiveness will hold you, hostage, as long as you allow it to do so and this is an area that the lies of Satan will use against you time and time again because it’s a weak spot for many, myself included.

Why is it so hard to forgive another who wrongs you? Years can pass by yet you are still holding a grudge. It’s important to realize that hard as it can be sometimes to admit this is YOUR PRIDE…simple as that.

But God says to forgive one another because the ultimate payment of sins was purchased in the sacrifice of God’s perfect Son.

To put it another way, You are a recipient of complete forgiveness, so you must do the same. When you do this, You will finally recognize you are the one set free.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 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 3:12-13

4. Unforgiveness makes You a Prisoner

In all honesty, unforgiveness is like the game you play with the rope to see who can hang on the longest. Due to bitterness, resentment, and pride, you hold on to the rope tightly, pulling it by refusing to let go.

That being said, who is the one usually left standing at the end of the game? The one who chooses to let go.

While you choose to play the game, you are a prisoner of the emotional war, further hurting yourself the longer you hold on.

When we let go we will realize there is sweet Freedom in Forgiveness and surrender.

So, if you know you should forgive others, what stands in the way? It’s your human nature of wanting to justify the wrongs done to you.

Surrendering anger is a process of solely relying on God’s strength to soften your heart to do so. Your human nature quickly forgets about the forgiveness you receive yet you want to rush to condemn others.

5. Unforgiveness Hinders Your Prayers

If you are living according to yourself, your fleshly desires will hinder your prayers. If you are not putting the needs of others above your own what does that say about you?

When you go to God in prayer, your priority should be God’s will. The second should be the needs of others. How can you expect God to pour His blessings on us if you are harboring hatred and bitterness toward others? 

And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:22-25

In these verses, Jesus starts by encouraging your faith and prayer life and then puts you in your place with…”But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive you.”

Sadly, much too often you expect God to bless your life without going through any challenges or difficulties in your life. You want God to move on your behalf while at the same time you are refusing to forgive the ones who have wronged you.

How Can You Forgive?

1. Take it to God in Prayer

First and foremost you must be honest with God, yourself, and your feelings. To begin with, God already knows what’s in your heart anyway.

Having a one-on-one conversation in your prayer closet with God will definitely declutter your mind and work through the process.

Speak boldly and loudly! It’s your one-on-one time with God and it’s Ok if everyone else in your home may think your all sorts of crazy.

2. Pray for Courage and Strength to Forgive

To begin with, I want to point out that I tried for years to find a way to forgive in my own strength and that did not go well for me at all.

Bitterness and anger are something that you MUST let go of. In other words, do yourself a favor and do what I should’ve done, to begin with… Pray for God to give you the courage and strength to forgive because it’s impossible to do so without it.

3. Let Go and Let God do the Mending

It’s important to remember that when you reach the point of forgiveness within YOUR heart YOU must let it go and let God do the mending.

For one thing, ONLY God can soften the heart of another and YOU have done all YOU can do on your part.


Remember this sweet friend, when Jesus Christ forgives YOUR sins, he remembers them no more and they are cast as far as the east to the west.

Just keep in mind, we MUST forgive like Jesus…and…forgive and forget. Here are 20 Bible Verses about Forgiveness and Healing so go check them out I promise you’ll be very encouraged.

For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more. Hebrews 8:12

As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. Psalms 103:12

4. Let it Go and don’t Pick it Back Up

I’m going to place myself on the chopping block with this one. Much too often I will say “Ok God, I am”…” Letting Go and Letting God” do the work ONLY he can do with the “intentions” of leaving it at the foot of the Cross.

However, that being said, ask me often I tend to try and pick it back up. Sad to say, I am so guilty of doing this very thing!

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As you read in God’s word Jesus teaches the ONLY way for you to extend forgiveness to others is in the same way God has forgiven you.

There are NO boundaries! You are NOT to withhold forgiveness according to the wrongs committed or the number of wrongs. You MUST be a good representation of Stewardship in Christianity and follow Christ’s example of forgiveness.

your turn

If Jesus can forgive those who mocked and beat him to the point of death while hanging on the rugged roman cross our petty unforgiveness doesn’t come close in comparison. You MUST extend unconditional endless grace as Jesus showed you on the cross and the same forgiveness that God shows you daily. In other words, you MUST humble yourself and freely forgive others with no exceptions.

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