Girl to Girl Talk: What Does the Bible Say About Forgiveness?
Written by Christi Given | April 29, 2013
Every week, I go through the “Girl Talk” section of Project Inspired and look for those seeking advice and council. I want to help answer some questions you may have about living out your Christian life and walk of faith! We want PI to be a safe place where you can ask questions.
This week, a girl was asking for advice on forgiveness for some tough family issues. To read the full post in the Girl Talk forum, click here.
Forgiveness is an interesting subject. When you think of the word “forgiveness,” does it bring you relief, is it a touchy subject, or do you find it to be the foundation of your life? Forgiveness is a basic principle in the Christian faith and is WHY Jesus came to the earth. Without forgiveness, we would all be doomed and would not be able to walk in a full relationship with God, and have the freedom that comes from being made whole through Christ. We have the honor of being forgiven, so in return, I believe we should give that to others.
‘As the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so YOU MUST also do’ (Colossians 3:12-13).
Are you a forgiver? Do you forgive those who are mean to you, persecute you and betray you? Jesus tells us to LOVE our enemies…not just like them (Matthew 5:43), not just be kind to them, but to LOVE them. How does that make you feel?
Do you forgive or do you hold a grudge? The Bible is very clear that walking in bitterness is damaging to the soul, the body and even our bones…yikes! That doesn’t sound healthy. Sometimes forgiveness can be more about YOU than the other party involved. Forgiveness is the right thing to do, even if we don’t feel like it or even if the perspective seems a bit off-base. We need to learn to let go, let God heal us and ask for His help.
What does the Bible say about forgiveness? There are some strong scriptures about this topic, and God is very serious about you forgiving others. The Word of God asks, how can you expect to be forgiven if you don’t forgive? This is critical in our walk with God–to learn to leave the hurts, past and wrongdoings at the cross and to not continue to pick up the things that have wounded us. Obviously, we cannot do this alone and need the Lord’s help to be gracious and turn the other cheek.
But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:15).
You might say, I HAVE forgiven, but the person keeps wronging or hurting me. Well, you may be correct and justified in how you feel, but you can forgive… it is your choice. It is not good for YOU personally to hold on to what happened. People don’t always realize that they hurt themselves by being bitter. They may not plan to be, but it starts with a small root and can grow. I encourage you to cut it off at the root and walk in love, even if it takes time.
Forgiving someone also doesn’t mean you have to hang out with the person every day. You can be loving, but you don’t need to be in their presence 24/7 if you feel the person is purposely wronging you or is not a good example in your life. This doesn’t mean you should be hateful or hold grudges, but simply forgive just as Jesus told the disciples.
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 times seven’ (Matthew 18:21).
Although forgiving others may be a challenge, it is a choice. No one forces you to forgive, but you should. Why? For one, you are not perfect. You have likely hurt someone more than once and needed forgiveness. Also, Jesus died to forgive you. If you are a follower of Jesus and believe the Bible, you are required to forgive as Jesus forgave you.
Remember, honoring God isn’t the easiest thing, but it is the right thing to do. It may mean being selfless, it may require you to swallow your pride and may seem abnormal to the world’s standards, but remember Jesus’ words. Think about what He had to endure on the cross for you and me. He was blameless but was punished as though He sinned. Yet He STILL said, after being mocked, tortured and ridiculed,
‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34).
PI readers, do you struggle with forgiveness? Or do you freely give grace and love? Comment below and write down a prayer request too, if you need to! We love you!