There will be people who will never be able to see the pain they caused us, but nothing is hidden from God. However, our pain can drop us to our knees it’s our anchor and hope in Christ that allows us to stand again with forgiveness in our hearts. 

People will excuse their behavior “in the name of God,” but God knows the truth.

Although unrecognized pain hurts our hearts, it doesn’t hinder our ability to heal with the Lord.

When we fix our gaze on the Person, Jesus, our pain can be met with gentleness and the tenderness it deserves.

What Is Forgiveness?

  • Forgiveness is not based on finding redeeming qualities that make a person worth forgiving. 
  • Forgiveness doesn’t require a person to minimize pain, suffering, or the importance of the experience. 
  • Forgiveness does not mean you enable sin or continue to put yourself in a situation of harm.
  • Forgiveness is not waiting to feel something. 
  • Forgiveness doesn’t wait for an apology.

The more we begin to learn and understand that forgiveness is between you and God, the freer we become. Forgiveness is one of the first steps to not becoming offended or harboring anger.

Forgiveness requires us to put the other person in God’s hands and allow God to work His justice in that person’s life.

Everything in us says we have to bring this to justice ourselves. However, the way we do this usually causes us more harm than good and keeps us trapped instead of free.

Do you trust God with your hurt and pain and that He will avenge you justly? (Not the way you think it should be.)

What Does The Bible Say About Forgiveness?

We don’t have to hold that pain close because God is near.

It’s in our pain that He says come to Me.

God is the only one who can avenge. He is the judge. And you know why we can trust Him to judge rightly? Because He is a just God. 

John 5:30 says, “As I hear, I judge, and my judgement is just because I see not my own will but the will of him who sent me.” The works that Jesus does bear witness about Him and that God sent Him. 

This is what we can trust. That God is not biased, doesn’t show favoritism, and knows the heart and intent of man. 

We also see in the Bible that forgiveness is not an option for those who follow Jesus. It’s a command. Not one to ignore our pain but a command that frees the other person and us. A command can sound harsh like it’s bypassing reality. However, His commands stem from love. 

He desires your heart to be pure and not defiled from the snares of the enemy. Unforgiveness can quickly become resentment, bitterness, and rage. He wants to meet us where we are but not leave us there. 

What is True Forgiveness?

Releasing the debt owed to you in God’s hand instead of white-knuckling it in yours. 

There are many layers to forgiveness. The context of situations matters too. For example, with church discipline, intimate friendships, and relationships.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Forgiving Others According to the Bible

Have I confessed my sin and received God’s forgiveness?

Is there anyone whom I have sinned against and from whom I need to ask forgiveness?

Is there anyone who has sinned against me and has asked me for forgiveness, but I have refused to forgive?

Is there anyone I am holding a grudge against for past wrongs?

If there is an unresolved issue, will I simply “let it go,” or will I go talk to the offender about it? (Continuing to hold a grudge is not a biblical option!)

Would I be willing to forgive if the offender asked me for forgiveness?

Today, go to Him. Allow your pain to be met with the gentleness that leads the wholeness.

Release someone of their debt today through forgiveness. 

What Does the Bible Say Forgiveness Doesn’t Mean:

  • Take something wrong and make it right
  • Erase
  • Mean that the pain all does away
  • Make anyone reconcile
  • Mean to continue putting yourself in painful situations
  • Come in the form of lip service 

What Does the Bible Say Forgiveness Is:

  • A command of love from the Father
  • A willingness to no longer hold yourself or someone else captive
  • Choosing to process what happened to you and how it happened to you
  • The process and working through anger, pain, and desire for revenge
  • Not reconciliation
  • Knowing your boundaries
  • Heart change
  • Saying I won’t continue to hold this offense against you 

One of the most challenging things for our physical mind to process and understand is the truth regarding what the Bible says about forgiveness. Scripture is clear on forgiveness. I also believe He was clear on it because He knew the separation and hardened hearts it caused.

Forgiveness requires us to put the other person in God's hands and allow God to work His justice in that person's life.

Why Forgiveness is Important to God

Here are essential and critical verses on forgiveness in the Bible. Remember, Jesus died for every man’s sins.

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25

Notes from this scripture: Mark 11:25 is a connector/qualification of Mark 11:23,24 and 26. Each of these scriptures starts with connecting phrases. Verse 24 begins with, therefore, which implies what was right before that needs to be applied. Verse 25 begins with and, which conjuncts verse 24 and 25 together. 26 starts with, but which tells us there is an objection to the others if forgiveness doesn’t occur. Forgiveness should come to us in our time of prayer, without delay.

“But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:15

“Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22

Notes from scripture: There should be no limit to our forgiveness. Having compassion for others as Christ had on us. 

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16

“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.” Proverbs 10:12

Notes from this scripture: The reality is that hatred is the enemy’s work.

There is no easy way to way around this. I care about you too much to water down the reality of hate. Not only what it does to our soul but what it does to our bodies. As soon as hatred becomes apart of us, strife getts stirred up around us. James 3:16 reaffirms this powerful truth, “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” Instead of expanding and meditating on the offense, which makes it bigger, love covers it. Love will excuse the offense. By love covering it strife is prevented. Peace can be recovered and restored quickly. 

“Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.” Luke 17:3-4

Here are a few more things I want you to remember when it comes to forgiveness.

Love covers all wounds.

My willingness to take responsibility and move in forgiveness changed how I saw those around me. 

It takes believing God’s word is true to know how His love covers you. I dare you to believe it today.

“Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:9

One last thing, don’t blame God for what people do.

Is forgiveness hard for you to walk through and comprehend? Join my Spiritual Growth Framework course, where we walk through, step-by-step, on forgiveness, boundaries, and reconciliation.

Praying for you, 

jessica hottle

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