When someone hurts us, and their words and actions ring in our ears and minds causing wounds to deepen and fester, it can seem all but impossible to extend forgiveness and mercy.
To forgive, by definition, means to stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake. As followers of Jesus, we are called to forgive just as Christ chose to forgive us. We are the most like God when we choose to forgive others. Had God not forgiven us we would be lost, and we would not know Him.
But how do we move towards the heart condition of forgiveness when anger and bitterness threaten to overtake grace? How do we move forward in obedience to Christ by showing forgiveness to our enemies and loved ones who offend us?
On the other side of forgiveness, how do we accept forgiveness ourselves? How do we move past the mistakes and regrets and believe that we too, are forgiven?
It all starts by looking at what God has to say about the topic of forgiveness. We must first learn the truth of God’s Word regarding grace and forgiveness so we can be equipped to move forward in love and obedience.
25 Bible Verses About Forgiveness
Let’s look at the following 25 Bible verses about forgiveness and see the heart of God.
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. – Mark 11:25
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” – Isaiah 1:18
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. – Matthew 5:23-24
All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. – Acts 10:43
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. – Romans 12:17
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. – Ephesians 4:31
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. – Matthew 5:7
“This is what you are to say to Joseph: “I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.” Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept. – Genesis 50:17
Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. – Psalm 103:2-5
Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.” – Hosea 14:2
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. – Micah 7:18
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. – Matthew 6:14-15
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. – Ephesians 4:26
For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. – Hebrews 8:12
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14
Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. – James 5:16
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, 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. – Colossians 3:12-13
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” – Matthew 18:21-22
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.” – Luke 6:27-29
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding. – Ephesians 1:7-8
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. – 1 Peter 3:9
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. – John 3:16-17
When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions. – Psalm 65:3
Collectively, these 25 Bible verses about forgiveness show us that we forgive and love if we have been forgiven and loved by Christ. He washed away the sins of his people and made them new. When we choose to forgive those who have hurt us, we are imitating the very nature and image of God.
God extends His forgiveness to us like a gift waiting to be unwrapped, and we are to respond in obedience by receiving this gift. And the more we learn to receive the grace, mercy, and forgiveness Christ gives to us, the easier it becomes to extend that forgiveness to those around us.
The Lord doesn’t want us to be caught up in unforgiveness because He knows that if we stay in that place, bitterness and resentment will grow in our hearts. Resentment is like a poison that consumes and destroys. And while we may think we’re being strong by holding a grudge, we’re the weak ones who are losing the battle by drinking the poison of unforgiveness.
Hope for Healing
Understandably, some wounds in certain circumstances are harder to forgive than others. Forgiveness is a journey that takes time, grace, patience, and a whole lot of healing. If there is something or someone in your life that you are struggling to forgive even though you know you should, the counselors here at Seattle Christian Counseling are here to help.
Just as these Bible verses about forgiveness speak the mercy of God’s heart, a Christian counselor can provide you with a Biblical perspective on forgiveness while giving you the time you need to heal. If you would like to speak with a Christian counselor regarding any hurt you may hold, feel free to reach out to one of the counselors in the online directory.
“Cross”, Courtesy of il vano, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Forgiveness”, Courtesy of Alex Shute, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “1 Corinthians 13”, Courtesy of Leighann Renee, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Bible”, Courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez, Unsplash.com, CC0 License