Our debt to God is infinitely beyond our capacity to pay. Our debt to God is infinitely greater than any person’s debt to us. When we truly experience God’s forgiveness for our sins it will transform us into forgiving people.
Revenge indeed seems often sweet to men, but oh, it is only sugared poison, only sweetened gall. Forgiving enduring love alone is sweet and blissful and enjoys peace and the consciousness of God’s favor. By forgiving it gives away and annihilates the injury. It treats the injurer as if he had not injured and therefore feels no more the smart and sting that he had inflicted.
Every man should keep a fair-sized cemetery in which to bury the faults of his friends.
I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive. Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note – torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one.
Forgiving costs us our sense of justice. We all have this innate sense deep within our souls, but it has been perverted by our selfish sinful natures. We want to see “justice” done, but the justice we envision satisfies our own interests. We must realize that justice has been done. God is the only rightful administrator of justice in all of creation, and His justice has been satisfied. In order to forgive our brother, we must be satisfied with God’s justice and forego the satisfaction of our own.
The person who is living by grace sees this vast contrast between his own sins against God and the offenses of others against him. He forgives others because he himself has been so graciously forgiven. He realizes that, by receiving God’s forgiveness through Christ, he has forfeited the right to be offended when others hurt him.
Asking for forgiveness from others in a scriptural manner involves acknowledging that you have sinned against them and that you desire mercy and pardon (not to be given what you deserve). Asking for forgiveness is vital for reconciliation and may lead to the difference in the relationship.
God’s forgiveness is an outpouring of abundant grace and mercy that provides pardon to the guilty. Although God’s forgiveness does not necessarily release the offender from the physical or material consequences of his sin, it provides full release from the guilt of the wrongdoing. For you to practice biblical forgiveness, you must understand and accept God’s gracious forgiveness of you and must follow His example in providing forgiveness to others.
Forgive, forget. Bear with the faults of others as you would have them bear with yours. Be patient and understanding. Life is too short to be vengeful or malicious.
The Gospel is a message of forgiveness: it could not be otherwise, because it is the Gospel of God, and God is a forgiving God… It is to be expected, then, that those who receive the forgiveness which God holds out in the Gospel, those who call Him their Father, will display something of His character and show a forgiving attitude toward others.
The idea is not simply that we have been forgiven, and therefore we ought to forgive, but that God Himself, in Christ has forgiven us, and therefore our debt is incalculable. No matter how much wretched evil has been done against us, it is little compared with the offense that we have thrown in the face of God. Yet God in Christ has forgiven us. If we know anything of the release of this forgiveness, if we have glimpsed anything of the magnitude of the debt we owe to God, our forgiveness of others will not seem to be such a large leap.
By forgiving, we do become Christ to others. By bearing in our bodies the weight of unjust accusation, undeserved pain, and unretaliated harm, we are the Holy Spirit’s message of Jesus to others. By the practice of forgiveness we have the privilege of being a living witness to the One we most love, and who has loved us eternally and sacrificially.
One does not have to remove all consequences for sin (i.e., to pardon) in order to forgive. It may be just and necessary for an offender to suffer consequences for wrong, but the motive of the one imposing or requiring the consequences cannot be malicious. We are not permitted to desire the ultimate harm of the offender. The gospel always provides hope, always seeks restoration. Even when the criminal is sentenced, and we properly rejoice to see justice done, the Christian also desires to see the offender recognize the sin, repent, and know spiritual restoration. Forgiveness does not require pardon from consequences; it requires an absence of malice (i.e., no desire for the person’s spiritual harm) even in the application of those consequences. We may well desire justice, but desires for personal revenge or spiritual damage are not our right as Christians.
To forgive without [scolding], even by manner or look, is a high exercise of grace – it is imitation of Christ.
It is the experience of having been forgiven (by Christ) which releases the generous impulses to forgive others (Matt. 18:23-35), just as it is the refusal to forgive which betrays the reality that forgiveness has not been received, that the individual has not even recognized the need for forgiveness (Matt. 6:14-15). A community has hope of holding together and growing together only when the need for forgiveness is recognized on each side where fault has been committed and only when forgiveness is both offered and received.
Forgiveness of others in the believer is so standard, so much a part of what it means to be a Christian, that no true believer is without it. If you are not a forgiver, you are not forgiven. To not be forgiven is to be damned to spend eternity in hell.
To the world at large this was a sad waste of five young lives. But God has His plan and purpose in all things… The prayers of the widows themselves are for the Aucas. We look forward to the day when these savages will join us in Christian praise. Plans were promptly formulated for continuing the work of the martyrs.
Those who persist in harboring an unforgiving spirit toward others who have wronged them are guilty of not believing God’s promise to see to matters Himself (Rom. 12:19).
A forgiving spirit is the outstretched hand by which we grasp God’s forgiveness.
Mercy, like the regions of space, has no limit, and as these stretch away before the traveler who looks out from the farthest star, so the loftiest intellect and the largest heart can discover no bounds to mercy. Like our Father in heaven, we are to forgive without stint, forgiving as we expect to be forgiven.
Forbearance doesn’t mean we tuck sin away for another time. It is not a variation of patience nor is it some Christianized, external “niceness” where you pretend nothing bothers you. It’s not even a kind of ignoring the sin, in the sense of refusing to acknowledge it. In forbearance we know (or at least suspect) we have been sinned against, but we actually make a choice to overlook the offense and wipe the slate clean, extending a heart attitude of forgiveness, and treating the (apparent) sin as if it never happened. Proverbs 19:11 tells us it is a “glory to overlook an offense.” Forbearance is preemptive forgiveness, freely and genuinely bestowed.
Forgiveness is not the stuff of an extraordinary saint. Forgiveness is at the heart of the Gospel and therefore is to be a defining characteristic of every believer
The degree to which I am able and willing to forgive others is a clear indication of the extent to which I have personally experienced God my Father’s forgiveness for me. The corollary to this is that anyone who is not willing to forgive another has certainly not known God’s loving forgiveness.
The main reason [we do not forgive others is] because we don’t want to. You might not want to forgive because you want to see them suffer for what they did. You might not want to forgive because you want them to feel the same hurt that they made us to feel. You might not want to forgive because you want to give them the message that if they hurt me then they will feel pain also, so they better think twice about hurting me again. You might not want to forgive because you are angry or frustrated. You might not want to forgive because you want revenge. You might not want to forgive because you enjoy playing the victim. You might not want to forgive because you really don’t like that person and you want to keep it that way.
Forgiveness is a spiritual matter. The failure to forgive ultimately costs you heaven itself! It reveals an unforgiving heart and an unforgiven heart.
When you do not understand forgiveness as both an event and a process, discouragement and guilt can set in. This is because your decision to forgive may not immediately heal the hurt, lack of trust, and anger you have towards the person you have forgiven. But if you see forgiveness both as an event and a process, the discouragement and guilt are minimized. You know you have forgiven, even though you are also aware of your temptation to make the person pay for your offense. This awareness keeps you vigilant against sin in your own heart. It leads you to God for His cleansing and strength when you struggle with your attitude towards the person.
Whenever I see myself before God and realize something of what my blessed Lord has done for me at Calvary, I am ready to forgive anybody anything. I cannot withhold it. I do not even want to withhold it.
Forgiveness breaks the bitter chains of pride, self-pity and vengeance that lead to despair, alienation, broken relationships and loss of joy.
The price of refusing to forgive is high. Unforgiveness produces hatred, bitterness, animosity, anger, and retribution. It not only clogs up the arteries but also the courts with thousands of vengeful lawsuits. Refusing to forgive imprisons people in their past. Unforgiving people keep their pain alive by constantly picking at the open wounds and keeping it from healing. Bitterness takes root in their hearts and defiles them (Heb. 12:15). Anger rages out of control and negative emotions run unchecked. Life is filled with turmoil and strife instead of joy and peace.
When I become bitter or unforgiving toward others, I’m assuming that the sins of others are more serious than my sins against God. The cross transforms my perspective. Through the cross I realize that no sin committed against me will ever be as serious as the innumerable sins I’ve committed against God. When we understand how much God has forgiven us, it’s not difficult to forgive others.
Because we are the most forgiven people in the world, we should be the most forgiving people in the world.
Forgiveness is not that stripe which says, "I will forgive, but not forget." It is not to bury the hatchet with the handle sticking out of the ground, so you can grasp it the minute you want it.
[True forgiveness means] laying down our right to remain angry and giving up our claim to future repayment of the debt we have suffered (Brian Dodd).
We are not called to forgive others in order to earn God’s love; rather, having experienced His love, we have the basis and motive to forgive others (Pat Morison).
[Being forgiving is] not the ground on which God bestows forgiveness but the ground on which man can receive it (William Manson).
The practice of comprehensive forgiveness overcomes our love of being right, our actual enjoyment and treasuring of our sense of being wronged… The constant practice of forgiveness leaves no room for self-righteousness. Frustrated condemnation of others and treasuring of old wrongs are not part of the artillery of God, but the slithering, slimy, deadly creatures of the Prince of Darkness (John Miller and Barbara Miller Juliani).
I have found it is impossible to be unforgiving toward those I am praying for. It’s not easy to start praying for them; it’s one of the hardest things I’ve done. But when I make that person an object of prayer, I open the door of my heart a little wider so that God can come in and breathe on my hardened heart, melting the icy resentment that is there.
Our lack of forgiveness is why we choose to hold onto bitterness, letting it ripen into full grown resentment. While it looks like we are unable to forgive, sometimes we need to face that we are unwilling.
What is forgiveness? Forgiveness is not a feeling. Forgiveness, first and fundamentally, is a promise. When you grant forgiveness to someone, you’re making a promise to that person which involves the following three things: 1. You’re promising not to bring up the offense again to the forgiven person in the future. 2. You’re promising not to speak to others about the offense. 3. You’re promising not to dwell on the offense yourself.
It’s nothing but sheer wickedness for you not to forgive your offender for what he’s done, in light of all that you’ve been forgiven (by Christ). When you compare the trivial offenses which you must forgive, with the enormous, eternal offenses you’ve committed against a holy God, the point is uncontestable.
There is such a big difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. It takes two to reconcile, so it is not always possible to be reconciled. But it takes only one to forgive. So if people do you wrong, forgive them, whether or not they ask for forgiveness. You cannot cancel their sin. Only God can do that, and He will only do it if they repent. But what you can do is set aside your own anger, bitterness, and resentment towards them.
The grace we receive in forgiveness gives the grace to be forgiving.
“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (Matt. 18:35). It is either forgive or perish. God has forgiven the infinite debt of your sin. Now you must forgive anyone who sins against you. Otherwise, you prove that you have never received forgiveness in the first place, that you are still in God’s debt and therefore liable to the perfect severity of His justice.
The ability to forgive is one of the surest signs of having been forgiven. It is part of the proof that we have received God’s grace… Those who are truly forgiven, truly forgive. The sins they commit are of greater importance to them than the sins they suffer.
Forgiveness brings great joy, not only to the forgiven, but especially to the forgiver. The Greek term for “forgiveness” (aphiemi) comes from a word that means “to let go.” Forgiveness is a release, a letting go of self-destructive feelings such as anger, bitterness and revenge. Those attitudes poison intimacy with God and harmony with human beings.
We take God’s forgiveness for granted [when] we stubbornly withhold our forgiveness from others. In effect, we behave as though other’s sins against us are more serious than our sins against God.
Forgiveness may be described as a decision to make four promises:
“I will not dwell on this incident.”
“I will not bring up this incident again and use it against you.”
“I will not talk to others about this incident.”
“I will not let this incident stand between us or hinder our personal relationship.”
Christians are the most forgiven people in the world. Therefore, we should be the most forgiving people in the world.
Forgiving others is the evidence we truly understand and have received God’s forgiveness.
We tend to be far more ungenerous in forgiving others than God is in forgiving us. If God were to be as reluctant to forgive as we are in forgiving those who sin against us, we would be in serious trouble. As Christians we are forgiven people. We are likewise called to be forgiving people. Jesus clearly sets forth an ethic of charity in His teaching and in His behavior with those who wrong us. An unwillingness to forgive clearly has no place in the kingdom, and may in fact signal that such a one has not experienced the initial forgiveness of God in his or her life.
You are nothing better than deceitful hypocrites if you harbor in your minds a single unforgiving thought. There are some sins which may be in the heart, and yet you may be saved. But you cannot be saved unless you are forgiving. If we do not choose to forgive, we choose to be damned.
Often we refuse to forgive others because we mistakenly think that to do so is to minimize their sin. “And that’s not fair! He really hurt me. If I forgive, who’s going to care for me and take up my cause and nurse my wounds?” God is. We must never buy into the lie that to forgive means that sin is being whitewashed or ignored or that the perpetrator is not being held accountable for his/her actions. It simply means we consciously choose to let God be the one who determines the appropriate course of action in dealing justly with the offending person… To long for justice is entirely legitimate, but to seek it for yourself is not. Let God deal with the offender in his own way at the appropriate time. He’s much better at it than your or I.
[Forgiveness] is [often] deciding to live with the painful consequences of another person’s sin. You are going to have to live with it anyway, so you might as well do it without the bitterness and rancor and hatred that threaten to destroy your soul.
The way we cancel the debt of one who has sinned against us is by promising not to bring it up to the offender, to others, or to ourselves. We joyfully resolve never to throw the sin back into the face of the one who committed it. We promise never to hold it over their head, using it to manipulate and shame them. And we promise never to bring it up to others in an attempt to justify ourselves or to undermine their reputation. And lastly, we promise never to bring it up to ourselves as grounds for self-pity or to justify our resentment of the person who hurt us.
True forgiveness pursues relationship and restoration. True forgiveness is not satisfied with simply canceling the debt. It longs to love again.
[Forgiveness] – What a mighty power is love that can overcome evil, cover painful memories, forgive, forgo revenge and arrest resentment.
Some well-meaning counselors may say that you need to “forgive God” for the things you have endured. Yet never in Scripture are we asked to forgive God. God has not wronged us. God is ultimately the only truly wronged party, as He is the only One who is truly innocent. It is we who have sinned against Him. In His graciousness, He has chosen to pay the penalty for our sins Himself and save us. If you are holding on to anger against the Lord, let His grace melt your bitterness. Only in submission to Him will you find peace.
Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me.
Unforgiveness is the poison we drink, hoping others will die.
Our forgiving others is not a cause of God’s forgiving us, but it is a condition without which He will not forgive us (Mt. 6:12).
It is more honor to bury an injury than to revenge it.
A man can go to hell for not forgiving as for not believing [Mt. 6:14-15].
We need not climb up into heaven to see whether our sins are forgiven: let us look into our hearts, and see if we can forgive others. If we can, we need not doubt but God as forgiven us.
God takes initiative and moves toward us; we take the initiative toward others.