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Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Bible Says that Forgiveness is Mandatory


One question that I get a lot is; “Pastor do I really have to forgive everything, every time”? I have an answer but before I give it let’s see what the bible says about it? Whenever someone asks me a
question dealing with relationships I always defer to the bible because it’s the manual that God gave to guide us on how to forgive.

First let’s define forgive. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

Forgive (verb) 
  • to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong) : to stop blaming (someone)
  • to stop feeling anger about (something) : to forgive someone for (something wrong)
  • to stop requiring payment of (money that is owed)
  • Synonym - pardon
To forgive is to stop feeling anger toward someone or about something, to pardon them. To forget is to not remember or think or care about something, to unlearn or dis-remember.


Forgiveness in the Bible


The Bible does, in many places, command us to forgive each other. Here are two examples:

  • Matthew 6:14 (HCSB) “For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. 
  • Ephesians 4:32 (HCSB) And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
Jesus’ comment to Peter when he asked how many times we should forgive implies constant forgiveness without holding it against the one we forgive.

Matthew 18:21-22 (HCSB) 21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how many times could my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 “I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus said to him, “but 70 times seven.

The Bible also tells us that if we don’t forgive we won’t be forgiven.
  • Matthew 6:14-15 (HCSB) 14 “For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. 15 But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing. 
  • Mark 11:25-26 (HCSB) 25 And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing. [ 26 But if you don’t forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your wrongdoing.]” A forgiving spirit is made easier for Christians when they consider how much God has already forgiven. 

Why should we give anybody a clean slate who has wronged us? 


Because God, who is our example for how to forgive, does. He forgives and overlooks everything that we have done and do against Him, through Jesus, so that we can have eternal life and an eternal inheritance.

Micah 7:18 (HCSB) Who is a God like You, removing iniquity and passing over rebellion for the remnant of His inheritance? He does not hold on to His anger forever, because He delights in faithful love.

Forgiveness is an act of the will and since God commands us to forgive we must make that choice. We must forgive even if the person who offended us doesn’t ask for or doesn’t even want forgiveness.

Matthew 5:44-45 (HCSB) 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

My Answer


It may be very difficult but God wants us to forgive each other every time just like He has forgiven us through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Once we do what it says in;

Romans 10:9-10 (HCSB) 9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.

God treats us as though we never sinned at all and doesn't hold our sins against us. So, in a sense, He "forgives and forgets everything every time"

In the same way when we forgive need to act as though they never it never happened. We do still remember the offense, and we should learn from it, but to truly forgive, we should treat the person as though it never happened.


7 More Forgiveness Scriptures


1. Matthew 6:12 (HCSB) And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

2. Matthew 18:32-35 (HCSB) “Then, after he had summoned him, his master said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And his master got angry and handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he could pay everything that was owed. 35 So My heavenly Father will also do to you if each of you does not forgive his brother from his heart.”

3. Mark 11:25-26 (HCSB) 25 And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing. [ 26 But if you don’t forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your wrongdoing.]”

4. Luke 17:4 (HCSB) And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and comes back to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

5. Luke 23:34 (HCSB) Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.”] And they divided His clothes and cast lots.

6. Matthew 6:15 (HCSB) But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.

7. Colossians 3:12-13 (HCSB) 12 Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13 accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also ⌊forgive⌋.

What do you think? Can you truly forgive everything every time and treat the person who offended you like it never happened? With the help of the Holy Spirit I believe that you can.

When We Want Vengeance: Stay the Course of Forgiveness

Vengeance is God’s. He will repay—whether ultimately on the Day of Judgment or intermediately in this life. God can discipline your abusive boss. He can bring your ex to his knees or to her senses. Forgiveness doesn’t diminish justice; it just entrusts it to God. He guarantees the right retribution.  The God of justice has the precise prescription.

Forgive your enemies? Ah, that’s where you and I come in. “Do not let the sun go down on your anger,” Paul wrote, “and do not give the devil an opportunity” (Ephesians 4:26-27). Don’t give the devil territory or ground. Bitterness invites him to occupy a space in your heart, to rent a room. Believe me, he will move in and stink up the place! When it comes to forgiveness, all of us are beginners. Stay the course!

From You'll Get Through This - Max Lucado

Editor's Note:  This post was originally posted in October 2014 and was modified to include the section "When We Want Vengeance:  Stay the Course of Forgiveness