Forgiveness is a principle that God teaches throughout His Holy Bible. And yet, it seems that it is one of the hardest things to do. When someone wrongs us, all we seem to want to do is to get back at them. We want them to feel what they caused us to feel. We want them to know what it is like to be wronged like that. But what does the Bible say about it?

Forgiveness In The Lord’s Prayer

When Jesus taught the disciples (and in turn us) to pray, He included a very important phrase. The Living Bible has the most accurate translation of the Greek text. Matthew 6:12 (Living Bible): “forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.” Jesus is teaching us that God will forgive our sins against Him in the same way and in the same proportion that we forgive others who have sinned against us.

Jesus explained this principle further in Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV): “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

In other words, if we are not willing to forgive others who have done us harm, God will not forgive us of our sins toward Him. This is a fact that we all must understand. This very clearly states that if we are unwilling to forgive others, God will not forgive us.

Jesus Taught and Lived Forgiveness

Remember what Jesus said in Mark 11:25 (NIV): “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Again, Jesus is simply saying that if we are unwilling to forgive others, God will not forgive us.

Also remember what Jesus taught in Matthew 5:44 (NKJV): “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”

Jesus lived what He taught. Remember the words He spoke while He hung on the Cross. If anyone had reason to curse others, it was Jesus. He had been falsely accused and sentenced to death unjustly. And yet, He said in Luke 23:34 (NIV): “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

If Jesus can forgive those who had nailed Him to that cross, then we have no excuse for not forgiving others who have wronged us.

Who Does Unforgiveness Hurt?

The reason that we don’t forgive is because we want to get back at people. We want to hurt them as much (or more) than they hurt us. But the truth is that our hatred only hurts us. In fact, the person we are unwilling to forgive and wanting get back at may not even know what we are thinking.

Unforgiveness only locks us into what they have done to us. It means that we end up drinking the very poison that we want them to take. The demonic power we want to impose on others is actually imposed on us.

If we want peace in our lives, this is a principle we must live by. This is actually a divine law that states that what we want for others actually comes back to us. This is why we need to bless others and not curse them.

Forgiveness Is A Choice

When we are in a state of unforgiveness, we usually say: “I don’t feel like forgiving them.” Remember this fact, forgiveness is not a feeling, it is a choice. This means that the only way we can forgive is to say: “God, I choose to forgive those who hurt me.”

We often add: “They deserve to get what they get.” Is this what we want God to say about us? Remember, God forgives us not because we deserve to be forgiven, but He forgives us as an act of grace toward us, because He loves us. If we want God’s grace, we must give the same grace to others.

Remember the parable about the king who forgave his servant of a large debt and then the servant put a fellow servant into prison because he wouldn’t pay his small debt to him. (Matt. 18:23-25) If you are not willing to forgive someone of a sin toward you, how can you expect God to forgive you of your great debt toward him?

Forgiveness actually does more for us than it does for the person that we are forgiving.

Forgiveness Is Not Reconciliation

Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation. Forgiveness does not mean that you condone the bad behavior of the person you are forgiving. Forgiveness does not stop the pursuit of justice. Forgiveness does not mean reconciliation or that you condone their behavior. Forgiveness means that you stop hurting yourself. Forgiveness does nothing for the other person, but it will set you free.

Forgiveness Determines Your Health

Your thoughts are just as important as the food you eat in determining your health. The physical food that you put into your body will determine how healthy you are. At the same time, the spiritual food that you put into your spirit will determine how healthy you are spiritually. And believe it or not, your spiritual health will affect your physical health.

In medical literature, unforgiveness is classified as a disease. It is classified as “some process that overwhelms normal function.” The truth is that science has discovered that unforgiveness makes people sick and keeps them sick. What you think about will have an effect on your health.

Forgiveness brings healing and healing brings peace. When you forgive from the heart, you will find that you will have a sense of peacefulness.

Do Not Limit Forgiveness

If you are unwilling to forgive someone more than a certain number of times, you are not really forgiving that person.

Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV): “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’”

Did Jesus put a limit on the number of time you should forgive someone? No! 70 times 7 = 490. If you are counting up to 490 times, you have never really forgiven that person. Jesus is saying that there is no limit to the number of times you forgive a person.

After all, do you want God to put a limit on the number of times that He forgives you?

Forgiveness Enables God To Forgive Us

If you are holding a grudge against someone, remember, God has said that He will only forgive us when we are willing to forgive others. Do you really want God to forgive you of the sins you have committed against Him? If so, now you know how to receive His forgiveness. Forgive those who have done you wrong. You may need to go to them and ask their forgiveness. On the other hand, you may just need to forgive them in your heart. God will let you know what you need to do. I pray that you will receive the forgiveness that you seek.


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