What Does The Bible Say About Forgiving Others

Forgiving others is a fundamental part of Christian life and one of the precepts at the core of Christianity. It is a central tenet of Christian faith and is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. The Bible is full of examples of people forgiving each other and offers us messages on how to handle forgiveness.

The Bible teaches us in Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.” Jesus himself taught that we should forgive others and turn the other cheek in Matthew 5:38-39. This is his major teaching about how to be forgiven by God as well as by each other. Jesus also taught us in John 13:34-35 to love and forgive each other, “Just as I have loved you, you should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The Bible also encourages us to move beyond merely forgiving those who have wronged us, to going one step further and actively loving our enemies and blessing those who persecute us as Mark 12:31-32 states, “love your neighbour as yourself.” Loving your enemies may not be easy, but it is in line with what it says in Romans 12:14-15, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them”.

Ultimately, the Bible encourages us all to show unconditional love and forgiveness towards others, regardless of their past behaviour towards us. It means being willing to forgive those who have hurt us, and not seeking revenge for the wrongs that we have endured. In Matthew 18:21-22, Jesus said, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses’.”

By following this advice, we can learn to forgive, extend grace and be more understanding of others. In Colossians 3:13, we are instructed to “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” It is only through understanding and forgiveness that we can achieve resolution and peace when wrongs are done to us.

God’s Mercy and Grace

God’s mercy and grace is evidenced throughout the Bible. We see God’s merciful and kind nature, particularly in His willingness to forgive us of our sins, no matter how grave they may be. We read in Hebrews 8:12 “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” We also see God’s mercy when He spares us from punishment, as in the account of Noah, Lot and other characters in the Bible. This mercy is exemplified in God’s grace, which provides us with grace and strength to face our weaknesses and helps us to forgive others, as read in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Forgiveness is Difficult

Despite the strong emphasis placed by the Bible on forgiveness, it is not always easy to forgive others, especially in cases of deep hurt. Doing so requires strength, courage and the willingness to confront painful emotions. It is thus important for believers to draw on the strength of their faith to help them forgive and to seek support from God and other believers. Thankfully, the Bible provides many examples of individuals who have gone through great difficulties and persevered with faith.

The Bible also tells us in Matthew 7:12 to “do to others what you want them to do to you” and to “love one another as I have loved you.” These teachings serve as a reminder that, while it is sometimes hard to forgive, it is ultimately the right thing to do. We are commanded by Christ to forgive others, as that is how we are to be forgiven as well.

God’s Command to Forgive

Above all else, we must remember that no matter what wrongs have been done to us, God commands our forgiveness of others. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus Himself taught us, “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.” The Bible provides powerful reminders that God’s forgiveness and grace are two core components of our faith and that we should extend forgiveness to those who have wronged us.

We can also take comfort in knowing that while forgiveness may not be easy, as it may require us to confront painful memories, it is ultimately a rewarding experience. When we forgive, we are freed from the burden of holding onto unforgiveness and hurt. We can move into a more joyful and peaceful stage of our lives. In essence, forgiving those who have wronged us is about growing in our faith, showing love, and helping others find forgiveness, peace, and joy.

The Consequences of Unforgiveness

It is important to recognize that holding onto unforgiveness and bitterness robs us of joy and peace, and ultimately hinders our relationship with God. We must acknowledge that while being hurt by someone is understandable, letting it go and forgiving them is the right thing to do. The Bible teaches in Mark 11:25 that we should forgive others in order to remove any blocks between ourselves and God, “For when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

If we choose not to forgive those who have wronged us, our unforgiveness will prevent us from being able to experience the peace, joy, and freedom that we crave. Additionally, unforgiveness can lead to bitterness, depression, and fear, which are contrary to God’s commandments that we should “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4). In short, refusing to forgive has serious consequences from both a spiritual and emotional standpoint. It is thus important that we strive to forgive those who have wronged us, no matter how difficult it may be.

Forgiving Ourselves

In addition to forgiving others, it is also important to forgive ourselves of any wrongs we may have done. Never forget that God forgives every sin and transgression if you are willing to repent. Moreover, God’s love never fails and He is always willing to forgive us and offer us grace when we make mistakes. As the Bible says in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

This kind of unconditional love and grace is a reminder that we can forgive ourselves for our wrongdoings and move forward in life with a new resolve to do our best. We must remember to be kind to ourselves and to never give up, no matter what we may have done in the past. The Bible teaches us to “cast all our anxieties on [God], because he cares for us” (1 Peter 5:7). We must thus strive to be more humble and remember to turn to God in times of need as a reminder that He is always there to forgive and love us.

Remaining in God’s Word

The importance of having a personal capacity for forgiveness was highlighted by Jesus in the parable of the unforgiving servant, wherein Jesus taught those present the importance of forgiving each other. Moreover, Luke 6:37 speaks of the importance of us extending forgiveness to others “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful”. Staying in God’s Word and meditating on forgiveness every day are powerful ways to stay grounded in the importance of forgiveness and being merciful to others.

It is important to remember that forgiveness doesn’t mean that we condone the wrongs done to us; rather, it is a way to release the grip of anger, bitterness, and pain so that we can move forward with joy and peace in our hearts. As we seek to live in faith and have greater joy in our own lives, we must practice forgiveness and mercy in our relationships. It is only when we extend forgiveness to those who have hurt us that we can truly experience the power of God’s love and grace.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

Leave a Comment