What does it mean to forgive?
Forgiveness is a conscious and intentional choice to release our negative feelings of resentment and revenge held towards those who have hurt us. Forgiveness is a choice and is not based on the worthiness of the person being forgiven.
Forgiveness frees us of negative and damaging emotions.
The benefits of forgiveness are many, better physical health, improved mental health, a stronger immune system, fewer symptoms of depression just to name a few.
What if I’ve asked for forgiveness but the other person won’t forgive me?
Being forgiven by someone is a beautiful gift, but we can’t force others to forgive us and sometimes we may need to accept that they are on their own journey and may not be ready yet to offer that to us. It can be a difficult situation to be in but with time and love hopefully restoration can occur.
What about God’s forgiveness?
God’s forgiveness is amazing, His love is unconditional and His forgiveness is given to anyone who genuinely asks for it.
It came at a great cost to Him. Hebrews 9:22 tells us that without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sins. This is why Jesus died on the cross for us and shed His precious blood, so that we can be forgiven and have a relationship with Him (1 Peter 3:18, John 3:16).
How do we receive God’s forgiveness? All we need to do is ask for it. The Bible tells us that if we confess our sins to God He will forgive us, but not just forgive, He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness, making us positionally righteous in His sight. Wow! That’s pretty awesome!
Reading God’s Word, meditating on it and Scripture Journaling are great ways to reflect on God, His Word and the forgiveness He offers us.
The following verses are a great starting point.
Take them one at a time and, as you meditate on them, allow God to speak His truth into you and allow His Word to transform you and your thinking.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, if any man has a complaint against any; even as Christ forgave you, so you also do.
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you don’t forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you.
Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, so that there may come times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.
“Come now, and let’s reason together,” says Yahweh: “Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.
In whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.
As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Who is a God like you, who pardons iniquity, and passes over the disobedience of the remnant of his heritage? He doesn’t retain his anger forever, because he delights in loving kindness. He will again have compassion on us. He will tread our iniquities under foot; and you will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.
2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake; and I will not remember your sins.
For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father, who is in heaven, may also forgive you your transgressions.