How Can I Learn to Forgive Someone? Answers From the Bible
Forgiving someone for hurting you is difficult, and some find that they just can’t do it, so how can we learn to forgive someone?
Forgiving and Being Forgiven
Forgiving someone for hurting you is difficult, and some find that they just can’t do it, so how can we learn to forgive someone? We can forgive others, but we cannot always forget the offense, but think about this. Others may have the same issue with us! Maybe it’s we who have offended them and not the other way around. Maybe it’s we who need to go to them in humility and seek their forgiveness. Jesus said that our prayers being heard and answered are dependent upon our forgiving others. Our Lord said that “if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matt 6:14).
As Does the Father
When we forgive others, we are imitating the Father who forgave us, but God had a lot more to forgive in us than we might need from others, but the issue is that “if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt 6:15). It’s like a simple equation; either forgive others or expect the Father to not forgive your sins. That’s not going to end well. It doesn’t mean a person’s lost their salvation, but they have lost their fellowship with the Father. Their relationship as son/daughter and Father will remain but the fellowship is gone. It’s like God walked no more with Adam and Eve in the Garden after they sinned against Him. He was still their Creator, but the intimacy was lost. And we can lose that intimate fellowship with the Father too if we fail to forgive others. Do the math. Our sins against God are infinitely greater and far worse in number than anything we could ever do to someone else or they to us.
God forgives our sins but do you really think He really forgets them? No, because God is omniscient, but when it says He remembers our sins no more (Isaiah 43:25; Heb 8:12), its meaning is they are forgiven and forgotten as far as God is concerned. He doesn’t bring them up again like others might do (or we might do?). We should be the same way as God is. Even if we can’t forget, and I don’t think it’s possible, we can forgive and move on. Once we’ve forgiven someone for something, we should never bring it up again. What if God did that to us!? What if God kept reminding us of the sins in our past and dredging them up to remind us. The good news is that “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:10). Neither should we repay people for their offenses against us according to what we feel they’ve done to us.
Your Costly Redemption
Jesus paid for our sins at Calvary, but also by His sinless life and His resurrection. We are going to have new bodies someday because Jesus paved the way for our immortality but it was not cheap. It was the costliest thing in all the universe and of all time. One tiny drop of the precious blood of the Lamb of God is of infinite worth, or really, priceless. He died for us who deserved God’s wrath. He suffered for six hours on the cross, three hours of darkness and separation from the Father, and all for sinners who at one time were ungodly, wicked enemies of God (Rom 5:6-10). Who deserves that?!! No one does. Jesus alone was worthy, and being sinless, He was the only way to the Father (John 6:44; Acts 4:12). He thought not of Himself, but the glory that was set before Him, and incredibly, on our behalf. This is reason enough for us to always be “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2). Why can’t we forgive others considering just how much we’ve been forgiven and how much it cost God?
Forgiven and Forgiving
What could anyone do to us that would ever be greater than the sins we’ve piled up in our life against God? We have been forgiven so much more than anything we could ever forgive others for. The scales are not even close. We’ve been forgive a lot, lot more than the sins we’ve committed against others or sins committed against us. It’s not even close. We are forgiven so we must be forgiving. If God were to keep accounts of our sins, it’s no contest. Our sins against Him far outweigh our sins against others or their sins against us. If we aren’t forgiving, then we truly don’t understand how much we’ve been forgiven. Plus, God is not pleased, and the fellowship with God is damaged if not severed for a time.
If God were to keep accounts of our sins, none of us could stand before Him. We would not be able to save ourselves with our best of works. Our best 15 minutes of good works won’t buy us one second in heaven. It must be the righteousness of Jesus Christ and that redemption brings the forgiveness of sins, but we must, must, must forgive others.
Has God brought you to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (Mark 1:15)? If not, my prayer for you is you will heed Jesus’ warning that “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5). Your best works will not wipe one sin away. The wrath of God abides on lost sinners every day. Repent today and trust in Christ today or face God’s judgment after death (Heb 9:27) or at Christ’s appearance (Rev 20:12-15), whichever comes first.
Here is some related reading for you: What Does the Bible Say About Forgiveness?
Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.