|Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37)
If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, “I repent,” forgive him.
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (Mark 11:25)
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.(Matthew 6:12)
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.(Matthew 6:14-15)
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)
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. (Matthew 18:21-22)
**Copyright, 2002, Brian Campbell (Permission is granted to copy for personal use only.
Excerpts from Dr. Brian Campbell’s Book: “Godly Counsel.”
“Forgive and you will be forgiven.”
Forgive : to pardon; to waive any negative
feeling or desire for punishment
All of us have been hurt or offended by others at one time or another in our lives. Sometimes these hurts run so deep that it’s hard to “let go” of them, even when the person who hurt us has apologized, repented, and asked for forgiveness . When we begin to recognize the depth of our own sin, and the incredible sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on the cross for our sin, we can begin to forgive others, and even ourselves.
We are all sinners.1 No one is perfect or good except God alone.2 When God first created the world, it was “good,”3 but sin soon entered in. It was the mission of Christ to come to this earth to die for our sins so that we might be reconciled with God and have eternal life .4
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time
my mother conceived me.
No one is good—except God alone.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for
the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put
to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.
(1 Peter 3:18)4
When Christ died for us on the cross, He took away all of our sins.5 Everyone who believes in Jesus Christ, and acknowledges that He died for our sins, receives complete forgiveness of sins.6 From God’s perspective , forgiveness is a “one hundred percent,” all-or-none type of thing. That is, when we accept Jesus Christ and repent of our sins, God forgives each and every one of our sins, no matter “how many,” “how big,” or “how small.”
Scriptures give us vivid illustrations of how deep and complete God’s forgiveness is for our sins. For example, the Bible states that God: hides our sins behind His back;7 covers over them;8 doesn’t remember them anymore;9 removes them “as far as the east is from the west”;10 and, when God forgives us completely we are “whiter than the snow.”11
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
not counting men’s sins against them.
(2 Corinthians 5:19)5
Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness
of sins through his name.
In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction;
you have put all my sins behind your back.
You forgave the iniquity of your people
and covered all their sins.
Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me,
and I will be whiter than snow.
Jesus Christ made it very clear that in order to receive the incredible gift of forgiveness from God, we must first forgive others.12 There is no “wiggle room.” He stated that: “if you do not forgive men of their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”13
As human beings, we often find it difficult to forgive the sins of others. Deep down, we would sometimes like to “pick and choose” the sins of others that we will forgive, or decide on “how many” sins the other person has committed against us before they have “exceeded their limit” and we can no longer forgive them. However, Scriptures indicate that God does not allow for this type of “selective” forgiveness when someone repents and asks us for forgiveness .
For example, God’s Word makes it clear that when we come to the Lord in prayer, if we hold “anything against anyone,” we are to forgive him.14 Along similar lines, we are to forgive “whatevergrievances you may have against one another.”15