Forgiveness isn’t about letting someone off the “hook”. It’s about understanding the grace of God and reflecting that grace to everyone, including those who do us wrong.
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone say “I can forgive but I won’t forget!” When we have this attitude we are not really forgiving at all.
True forgiveness lets go of all animosity towards our transgressors and bring us into a state of peace. I feel we often forget how beneficial true forgiveness is for our internal state.
When we refuse to truly forgive someone the way that God has allowed us forgiveness through the cross, we are doing more harm to ourselves than to the person who did us wrong.
One of my favorite quotes about unforgiveness is, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” This quote may seem harsh but it really hits the nail on the head.
Our unforgiveness never affects those who do us wrong, it only poisons us and hinders our relationship with our heavenly father. When we learn to truly forgive, we begin to fully understand the awesomeness of God’s grace in its deepest form.
Here are 7 Bible verses about forgiveness that will help you better understand the power of forgiveness and see the transforming effect it can have on your life!
7 Bible Verses About Forgiveness
1. 1 John 1:9 – Forgiveness Starts With Repentance
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9
This is where true forgiveness begins. We can never forgive nor fully understand forgiveness until we ourselves have been ultimately forgiven by the grace of God.
Forgiveness for us starts with repentance, choosing to not only “feel sorry” for what we have done, but to truly turn from our sin and seek His face.
When we turn to Him and are purified from all unrighteousness, we become a new creation and have a true ability to extend this grace to others.
2. Ephesians 1:7-8 – Forgiveness Is All About Grace
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.” – Ephesians 1:7-8
It is because of God’s grace and God’s grace alone that we are saved and forgiven. Christ’s life and death on the cross is the ultimate example for how we should live.
We need to be like Him by loving and extending grace and mercy to all we meet, all the way to the point of death.
It can seem easy for us to have the grace to forgive those we don’t know, it is a lot harder when it is someone who is really close to us. Remember, God knew us in Him before the creation of the world and He knows us better than we know ourselves, yet because of His grace, He sent His son to die for the forgiveness of our sins.
3. Matthew 26:28 – He Poured Out His Blood For It
“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:28
Our forgiveness wasn’t free, God sent His one and only son into the world to pour out His blood for it. Whenever we think about how hard it may feel for us to forgive someone, we need to first think about the cross.
When we remember and reflect on the cost of our forgiveness, it begins to make us feel really selfish for not being willing to forgive others.
Next time you struggle with forgiveness, think about all the trespasses you have committed against your heavenly father and how even though you have sinned and continue to sin, He was willing to give His Son to redeem you.
4. Colossians 3:13 – Forgive As The Lord Forgave You
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” – Colossians 3:13
When we turn to God and receive forgiveness from Him, our lives and understanding of life also begin to change. As we are further transformed by the renewing of our minds through His word, we begin to understand His grace more fully.
This is the moment we need to search our hearts and see if there is any unforgiveness lingering in our hearts. This unforgiveness is not of God, it is of the world. We need to rid ourselves of it and let the Grace that was extended to us pour out into all of our relationships.
When we follow His example we become more like Him. For many situations, this may be a hard thing to do, but as we trust in the Lord and His goodness we begin to understand that true forgiveness is always the best answer no matter the trespass.
5. Daniel 9:9 – He Forgave Even Though We Rebelled
“The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him” – Daniel 9:9
Forgiveness becomes especially hard for us when we feel like we have been betrayed. Maybe this is where you are stuck right now. Someone you love has turned against you.
This is the situation God was in and is still in this day. Even though we can never fully understand the depths of God’s love in this life, we can know it far exceeds our own. Yet those He loved turned against Him.
We deserve eternal separation from God because of our sins, yet He redeemed us not only to keep us from eternal separation but also to draw us near to Him.
6. Psalm 103:12 – As Far As The East Is From The West
“as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” – Psalm 103:12
It’s amazing when we begin to realize the fullness of Christ’s death on the cross. It is hard if not impossible to understand the depths of our sin nature until we are born again.
Once we do begin to understand how deep the darkness within us went, we begin to have a much greater appreciation for scripture like this one.
This scripture plainly means that God has separated us from our sin as far as it could possibly be separated. On the day of judgment when He looks at us, all He will see is the blood of Christ.
We need to truly forgive others in this same way not just simply saying “I forgive you” but taking the trespass and completely separating it from the relationship. When we do this we not only heal our internal wounds, but we put the light of Jesus on display which in turn could lead that person to the ultimate source of eternal forgiveness.
7. Matthew 18:21-22 – Never Stop Forgiving
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” -Matthew 18:21-22
It may be easy to forgive someone the first time they do you wrong and maybe even the second. The true test comes when someone continues to do you wrong over and over again.
When Peter asked Jesus about this, He gave him a surprising answer. He told Him to keep on forgiving no matter how many times someone does you wrong.
This can be hard for most of us who feel like we deserve some sort of justice at some point! Well, we can take rest in knowing that there will be a judgment but for now, we need to forgive as many times as is needed.
We need to also remember that although we are called to forgive as many times as we need to, we aren’t called to repeat the same foolish mistakes that lead us into a situation that once again requires our forgiveness. Sometimes after we forgive someone we need to have the discernment to change the capacity of the relationship.
Forgiveness is something we will need to extend continuously until the end of this age. When we realize the true state of those who continually trespass against us it makes it easier to extend grace toward them.
Remember that true forgiveness completely lets go of any animosity not only for the sake of those we forgive but also for ourselves.
As we follow the example of Christ it becomes much easier to forgive and forgiveness leads ultimately to restoration. Forgiveness is part of the ultimate plan of the one who is making all things new!