What does the Bible say about forgiveness? Well forgiveness is one of the primary themes of the Bible. It is also one of the hardest themes at times to live out. I know in my own life that there has been many times that I struggled with forgiveness and what the scriptures say concerning forgiveness. So I want you to know that as I write this article, I am not pointing fingers or trying to get preachy on you. I am just trying to lay out for you the basic concepts of forgiveness and what does the Bible say about forgiveness.
Watch this awesome video about having a heart of forgiveness
What does the Bible Say about Forgiveness?
The Bible says that we must be forgiven by God
This is by far the most important lesson on what does the Bible say about forgiveness. If we miss this lesson than it does not matter what else we do concerning forgiveness. It will have all been for nothing. In 1 John 1:9 it says that we need to confess our sins to God and He will forgive us. Now many people because of their upbringing, when they hear the word sin, think of things like not smoking, not chewing, not drinking or going out with women who do! But honestly the definition of sin in the bible is a term that was taken from archery. It means to miss the bulls-eye. Every single one of us at one time or another in our life has missed it. We have made a mistake and not done what we knew we were supposed to do, myself included. So the first thing a person needs to do is make sure they are in a right relationship with God. Just as you would go to your friend or loved one when you blew it, you need to go to God and ask for forgiveness. He will forgive you.
What does the Bible say about forgiveness when it comes to forgiving others?
Peter asked Jesus a question about forgiveness in Matthew 18:21-35 where he asked how many times should we forgive somebody. He asked if 7 times was enough. I think Peter here was thinking to myself that 7 times would be asking a lot and being real magnanimous. Jesus said, not 7 times but 77 times. The point being that forgiveness is to be a lifestyle not an event. That is where the challenge comes in. It might be easy to forgive someone a couple of times, but how do you have a lifestyle of forgiveness. How do you keep forgiving someone who then turns around and does the same thing to you time and time again?
What does the Bible say about forgiveness in learning to forgive others?
Continuing on in that Matthew 18 passage Jesus tells a parable of a rich ruler who was calling in all of his unpaid debts. One man owed the ruler a very large sum equal to a modern-day amount of a million dollars. The man who owed the debt fell down at the ruler’s feet and asked for the debt to be forgiven. The ruler forgave the debt and let the man go. As the man was leaving he ran across somebody who owed him 20 bucks. The man demanded the that the debtor pay him back. The debtor did the same thing that the man had done with the rich ruler. He asked him to forgive the debt. However the man refused and took him to court and had him thrown in debtors prison until he paid the debt. Well as you have it, the ruler heard about this and was outraged and took away the forgiveness that the man had received and had him thrown into jail. The principle in all this is that we can forgive and find it in our hearts to forgive when we remember how much God has forgiven us. It is when we demand payment for the emotional debts that a person has laid up in our heart, that we lose sight of how much we have been forgiven and we end up being just like the man who refused to forgive, we end up in an emotional and spiritual prison, tormented by the thoughts of how wounded and hurt we have been and how unjust it all is. So the Bible teaches that the way to forgive is to remember how much you have been forgiven. Do you see now why it is so important to make sure you have gone to God to ask forgiveness for what you have done wrong?
Finally my friends, I just want to encourage you. If you are struggling with forgiving yourself, then you need to ask to be forgiven for making yourself God and being the judge. You are judging yourself. That is not your job. Your job is to receive forgiveness. 1 John 2:12 says that your sins have been forgiven because if His name. If you have received Christ as your Lord and Savior, then you are forgiven. The things you have done have been thrown into the sea of forgetfulness and have been separated from you as far as the east is from the west. Stop playing God and just be a grateful servant who is glad that your mistakes, your sins have been erased.