12 Questions About Forgiveness

1) What is forgiveness?

Forgiveness is your choice to let go of the pain and anger from someone else’s sin and to show this person love and mercy. (Matthew 18:24-27).

2) How often must I forgive?

Jesus answered this question for Peter, when he said seventy times seven, which really means every time. (Matthew 18:21-22).

3) Are there any sin committed against me which I don’t have to forgive?

No, for Jesus has already paid for that sin on the cross. (1 Corinthians 6:11; Romans 5:18)

4) When I forgive, am I condoning sin?

No, the Lord forgives all our sins and condones none of them (John 8:11).

5) Must I forgive if the person offending me isn’t sorry?

Yes, forgive them, but pray for guidance regarding reconciliation with them. (Romans 12:17-18)

6) If I forgive a person, do I stay in an abusive situation?

No. Free yourself to obey God and remove yourself from an abusive situation. If you do not forgive, you will enable others’ irresponsible behavior. (Romans 12:9)

7) How do I forgive?

We cannot forgive by our own power; God gives us the grace to forgive. Ask the Holy Spirit for help to do what you cannot do on your own. (Romans 8:26)

8) How soon must I forgive?

Quickly, otherwise you experience consequences. (Matthew 5:25)

9) When I forgive, will I forget?

To forgive does not mean you forget. It means when you remember what happened, you don’t feel the sting of the offense. If it hurts to remember that offense, either you haven’t forgiven or you need healing. When you forgive authentically, you can move on. (Psalm 103:11-13)

10) What if I don’t want to forgive?

Pray and ask Jesus to change your heart. (Matthew 13:15; Acts 8:21-22)

11) What if I don’t forgive?

The consequences for not forgiving are harsh. For if we don’t forgive, we are cut off from receiving God’s forgiveness (Matthew 6:12, 15), we give the devil has a chance to work in our lives (Ephesians 4:27) and we are handed over to torturers such as fear, loneliness, and anxiety (Matthew 18:34).

In addition, when we pray, if God brings to mind someone to forgive, do so, otherwise we won’t receive God’s forgiveness. (Mark 11:25)

12) How do I know if I have forgiven?

Forgiveness is a choice to love someone despite their behavior toward us We express our forgiveness through acts of love to the offenders.

For example, Jacob and Esau in Genesis 33. Jacob feared Esau because he had stolen his birthright from him, but Esau ran to meet him, embraced him, kissed him and wept (Genesis 33:4). By God’s grace, we must go and do likewise.

Action Steps:

  • Choose to accept God’s grace to forgive all who have offended you.
  • Pray: “I choose to forgive ______ for ________.” Fill in the blanks and repeat until you have forgiven all who have offended you.
  • Praise Jesus for the gift and power of forgiveness.

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