By Jared Olivetti, Crosswalk.com
When we really dig into Scripture’s teaching on forgiveness, we find that it stretches and challenges us, forcing us into the uncomfortable territory of being more like Jesus. Forgiving others is less about them and more about us being like Jesus. We all sin and wrong others, but we also have the power to let go and let God.
Just maybe the forgiveness you can offer someone will be what opens their heart to knowing the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal savior. Here is our collection of Bible verses on forgiveness to others and ourselves
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Bible Verses About Forgiving Others
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us."
Think about this imagery for a moment. God can remove our sins from out from as far as the east is from the west (essentially, as far away as possible). We have a God of infinite forgiveness.
"If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him."
"Do not say, 'I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done.'"
Many of us can operate off of a karmatic principle. But the Gospel calls us to do the opposite. We ought to forgive those who have wronged us, and know that vengeance belongs to God alone.
"Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.'”
"But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."
Herein lies the radical nature of the Gospel. Our culture tells us to slap back. Instead, we do not repay wrong for wrong.
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God Calls us to Forgive
"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."
"Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all."
Our culture really seems to love revenge. But God calls us to forgive, no matter how hard.
"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."
Kindness has gone out of fashion, it seems. But Christ calls us to gentleness, to compassion, and to forgiveness. It will certainly make you stand out, but it will also give you an opportunity to share the good news about Jesus.
"Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony."
We forgive because God first forgave us. We remember from Jesus' parables that an unforgiving heart truly does not understand the grace of God. If God has redeemed us from our enormous, unpay-able debt, can we not forgive a brother or sister who has committed a lesser offense?
"First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift."
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Scriptures on the Power of Forgiveness
"If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all."
In such a divided world, we are called to peace. God made up different parts of the church body, but we are whole in one purpose.
"Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind."
"Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through [Jesus] forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses."
We are unified under the fact that Jesus has saved every single one of us. Apart from him, we can do nothing. We find our purpose, our strength, and our hope in him.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."
People will watch Christians like hawks. They wait for us to slip up. Therefore, we need to experience the renewing of our minds on a daily basis.
"So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood."
*This slideshow was adapted from the article, What Do You Really Mean When You Say "I Forgive You," written by Jared Olivetti - originally appearing on GentleReformation.com.
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