The Importance of Biblical Forgiveness

The Importance of Biblical Forgiveness

 The concept of forgiveness is found at the heart of many religions and spiritual traditions. The Bible has much to say about forgiveness, and whatever one’s beliefs, those who study the subject or need help in their personal lives will find much to be drawn from the Bible’s teachings on and examples of forgiveness. In this blog, we will introduce this topic, looking at why the Bible teaches forgiveness, where those teachings come from, what they mean and say, and the difference they can make in people’s lives.

Understanding Biblical Forgiveness

 Another way to define ‘biblical forgiveness’, then, is a conscious choice to abandon resentment and attempts at revenge against a person or group who has harmed you, whether they ‘deserve’ it or not. At a surface level, the Bible has plenty of forgiveness narrative examples and teachings. Some key elements are:

 God forgives mankind: Central to the Christian message is that God will ultimately forgive mankind for its sins (and other shortcomings) in the person of Jesus Christ. God’s transcendental forgiveness is then a model for the conduct of interhuman relationships and a testament to the efficacy of God’s benevolence.

 Forgiveness as Commandment: A key feature of the biblical tradition – and of other forgiveness traditions, for that matter – is the imperative to forgive: ‘Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.’ Thus, for instance, Matthew 6:14-15 reads: If you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses… Imagine only being forgiving like we forgive? Ouch...

The Benefits of Forgiveness

 Forgiving can benefit you spiritually and personally, both here and in the next life. If you are following a biblical approach to forgiving, some of these benefits can even accrue to you now. Here is how:

 It is Spiritual Growth: Forgiveness helps you grow spiritually because – as I have already mentioned – without forgiving the other person, strong feelings of bitterness are likely to continue. You become more likely to direct your love towards God. Unforgiveness is like drinking acid and hoping the other person dies.

Healing and Redemption: Forgiveness can be a powerful source of healing—for the forgiver, the forgiven, and their relatives. It allows greater possibilities for reconciliation and restores fractured relationships. It leads to improved bonds within families, communities, and nations.

 Emotional Freedom: Holding on to wrongs creates a heavy burden, both mentally and emotionally. Once one forgives, the human spirit is free and at peace. Forgiveness, as taught in the Bible, frees its followers from feelings of resentment and liberates the emotional body.

Practicing Biblical Forgiveness

 The practice of this particular kind of forgiveness is based on humility, interest in the other as a human being, and an openness and desire to forgive as God has forgiven.

Here’s what that might look like:
1. At our most basic level of forgiveness, we allow the atrocity to define our present and future. It overshadows everything else and becomes our central focus. At this most basic level, we haven’t forgiven.
2. Up a level is forgiveness based on rationality. It’s using critical thinking skills to move through a reasonable decision-making process in which the crime against us, based on careful consideration, is forgivable. This isn’t common since most of us don’t sit down and rationally process these atrocities against us. But it’s possible.
3. The third level involves acknowledging that we are victims and the anger at those who have harmed us is justified. But we also understand that, while an atrocious act has been committed, it doesn’t have to be our defining characteristic. We realise that we don’t have to continue living life as a victim. We can move past it, forgive others, and live our lives. This level isn’t easy, and it requires us to practice true forgiveness.
4. The fourth and final level involves examining ourselves with genuine interest. We assume a complex and complicated perspective on the person who harmed us, and we explore what the harm has and has not done to us. In other words, we move to where God’s forgiveness begins: I’ve learned that as long as I cling to personal hatred and revenge and refuse to let go, I’m allowing that burden to weigh me down. I have to be willing to release myself from the hatred that bounds me and allows me to be a free and justified individual – in other words, a sanctified Christian.

 Acknowledge the Hurt: Before you can truly forgive, you need to feel your hurt and accept that you were indeed wronged by the other person. This allows you to experience your hurt fully and process it so it’s ready to be replaced with forgiveness.

 Prayer for the ability to forgive can be found in Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

 Choose to Forgive: Forgiveness is a decision. This does not mean that we necessarily forget about the offense, but rather that we relinquish the desire for reciprocity.

 Live it Out: After you have decided to forgive, offer that forgiveness to the person who has hurt you – through your words or your prayer. This is what it means to live out the biblical call to forgive.

 When we forgive others, we can be transformed in beautiful, life-giving ways. Biblical forgiveness has the power to heal people and bring us back together in reconciliation. In fact, not only is forgiveness presented as a wonderful way of life – it is also a biblical commandment. Embracing forgiveness can set us free; it can bring us to spiritual wholeness and emotional health. If you think the world would be a better place if you could also forgive others ’70 times seven’, contemplate God’s mercy, and experience the power of forgiveness in your relationships. Or, if you’re someone who longs to be forgiven, may the Bible be a loving guide for you today.

In Love,

Pastor Jody


Cheryl Kline - April 23rd, 2024 at 8:18pm

I spent 60 years of my life hating my dad for what he did to our mother and his children. I was also mad at our mother for not protecting her children. Both have passed on. When I was 61, some things happened where I didn't think I could go any further. My doctor gave me a list of counselors and I reached out. Through that, I was able to talk through things and forgive both of them, as well as others who had hurt me. I can absolutely say that it was a life saving experience and truly began trust in Jesus as my Lord and Savior. It's hard to do, but it so very renewing! Thank you, Pastor Jody!

Jody - April 30th, 2024 at 1:58pm