What Does the Bible Say About Forgiveness?


Consider these four questions…

  1. Is there someone you haven’t forgiven?  

  2. Have you forgiven everyone the way Jesus commands you to?

  3. Is there hate, bitterness, anger, or resentment in your heart?  

  4. Do you realize the presence of unforgiveness may be a sign you are going to Hell?

Before you answer these tough questions, read below…

Understand the definition of these words

  • Forgive - to stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake; 

  • to cancel (a debt)

  • Hate - to feel intense or passionate dislike

  • Bitterness - anger and disappointment at being treated unfairly; resentment

  • Anger - a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility

  • Resentment - bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly

What is forgiveness and why do I need it?  How do I become forgiven by God?  Forgiveness is the restoration of a relationship through the removal of obstacles and offense.

All people have loved themselves more than God and separated themselves from God through sin.

Jesus Christ is the only way for the obstacle and offense of sin to be removed.  Here are two resources to consider to ensure that you get to enjoy Him for ever in Heaven and are not forever separated from Him in Hell:

  • Hebrews 10:17 “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

  • Psalm 103:8-14 “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.  As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame he remembers that we are dust.”

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

“Resentment is like taking poison and hoping the other person dies.” ~Unknown

Forgiveness Is In Imitation of Jesus and Is Evidence of Salvation

  • Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you”

  • Ephesians 4:30-32 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  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.”

  • 1 John 4:19-21  We love because he first loved us.  If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.  And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

  • 1 John 5:2-3 “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome”

Lack of Forgiveness Is Sin and Is Evidence of Lostness

  • 1 John 2:9 “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.”

  • Hebrews 12:15  “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled”

  • Matthew 5:22-24 “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.  So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

  • Matthew 6:15 “but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

  • Matthew 18:32-35 “Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” 

How can I know if I have truly forgiven someone?

  • You see their spiritual problem before their other issues.

  • You feel pity, not hate.

  • You feel compassion, not anger.

  • Your heart is broken, not bitter.

  • You trust God’s revenge, not plotting your own.

  • You bless them, instead of curse them.

  • You pray for their salvation (if they are lost), not their destruction.

  • You pray for God to convict, change and bless them (if they are saved).

  • You refuse to bring up the hurt, instead of repeating and resisting the matter.

Colossians 3:12-17  “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. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Un-forgiveness Affects Your Prayer Life

Mark 11:25 “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.

Hatred of Others Is A Manifestation of Hatred of Self

Ecclesiastes 2:17-18  “So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind.  I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me”

Hatred of Self and Hatred of Others Is A Manifestation of a Hatred of God

  • Titus 3:3 “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.”

  • Ephesians 5:29-30 “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.”

  • Psalm 81:15 “Those who hate the LORD would cringe toward him, and their fate would last forever.”

Forgiveness Does Not Necessitate Friendship

  • 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’”

  • Galatians 6:1 “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.”

Forgiveness Trusts Jesus’ Judgement, Justice, and Vengeance

  • Romans 12:19 “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’”

  • Proverbs 19:11 “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”

  • Matthew 5:39 “But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

Forgiveness Shows Kindness to Your Enemy

  • Romans 12:14 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.”

  • Romans 12:20-21 “To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Forgiveness Intentionally Pursues Peace

  • Romans 12:17-18 “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

  • Romans 14:19 “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”

  • 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”

  • Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

A Forgiving Spirit in the Offended Precedes the Offenders’s Repentance

Luke 6:31 “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”

Forgiveness Does Not Remove Earthly Consequences for their Sin

Luke 6:35-36 “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. [36] Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”

Giving Forgiveness:  Forgive As You Would Want Someone to Do To You: Quickly, Repeatedly, Genuinely

Matthew 18:21-22 “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.”

Personal and Private - The Offended Has Responsibility

  • Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.  But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”

  • Luke 17:3-4  “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

  • God Wants to Restore Us To Himself & Others

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

  • 1 John 2:10-11 “Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

Helpful Resources

www.4truth.net www.trustworthyword.com 

from www.gotquestions.org 

  1. What is forgiveness?

  2. Got Forgiveness? How do I receive forgiveness from God?

  3. Does the Bible instruct us to forgive and forget?

  4. Do Christians have to keep asking for forgiveness for their sins?

  5. Will God continue to forgive you if you commit the same sin over and over again?

  6. How can I forgive those who sin against me?

  7. Is there any sin that God will not forgive?

  8. What does the Bible say about forgiving yourself?

  9. If I do not forgive others, does that mean my sins are not forgiven? What does Matthew 6:14-15 mean?

  10. What does the Bible say about self-hatred?  What does the Bible say about hate?

“Live Peaceably with All, If Possible” by John Piper 

www.desiringgod.org/messages/live-peaceably-with-all-if-possibleChoose Freedom.  Choose Forgiveness.

Forgiveness is a choice you must make.  

Your decision to forgive evidences your salvation & has serious consequences for your life.

Consider Tamar’s Hurt.  Consider Your Hurt - 2 Samuel 13:15 (ESV) “Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, ‘Get up! Go!’”

Everyone Has Been Hurt: How about you…

  • Why were you hurt? Intentionally and Unintentionally

  • By Whom were you hurt? Family, Friends, Strangers, by Ourselves

  • When were you hurt? Repeated or One-Time; Past, Present or Future

  • How Bad were you hurt? Deep or Shallow, Significant or Silly

  • How were you hurt? Words, Relationships, Actions, Inactions

Questions to consider…

  • What wounds do you have?

  • What will you do with your hurts?

  • How will you live?

  • Will you forgive?

  • Will you heal?

Remove Bitterness: Some Truths & Warnings…

Time Does Not Heal Wounds

Untreated Wounds Get Worse with Time

Covering Up A Wound Is Dangerous

Wounds Need:

    • Timely Intervention

    • Internal Healing 

    • Intentional Treatment

“Hurt People Hurt People”

Choose God’s Forgiveness:  Only God Truly Heals Wounds

  • A Healthy Heart Heals Wounds:  No matter the hurt…how great, deep, or often.

10 Truths About Forgiveness 


Requires Confession

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

Must Be Experienced In Faith 

Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Releases and Removes Infection

Colossians 3:13  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.

Heals Wounds

2 Chronicles 7:14  if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Strengthens Our Lives

2 Corinthians 2:5-7 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. [6] For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, [7] so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.

Frees Our Living

Galatians 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Reveals Salvation

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

Reminds Us of Our Ultimate Enemy

2 Corinthians 2:10-11  “Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.”

Is Extended by True Believers

Matthew 26:28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Enjoys & Shows the Gospel

Romans 4:7-8 Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;  blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.

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