Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.
To forgive is to have faith in God – that His judgments are true and righteous.
To hold unforgiveness against someone is like taking poison and waiting for them to die.
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
The Imprecatory Psalms
How the Psalms can help to find a way to deal with feelings of anger, hatred and revenge.
What the Bible Says about Forgiveness
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will Your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25-26)
“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth to you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourself, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:17-21)
“Vengeance is Mine, and recompense. Their foot shall slip in due time…” (Deut. 32-35)
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” (Romans 13:1-4)
“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven.
“Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
“But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellow servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desirest me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
“So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” (Matthew 18:21-35)
The 10,000 talents the servant owed was most likely 600,000 times more than the 100 denarii his fellow servant owed. Consider R. S. Kennedy’s calculation to portray the vast difference between the two debts. If the 100 denarii debt were paid in small silver coins, it could be carried in a person’s pocket.
The 10,000 talents debt, however, would require an army of 8,600 carriers, each lugging 60 pounds (approaching 30 kilos) of coins. If each of these carriers walked in single file a yard (or a meter) apart, the line would stretch for five miles (8.6 kilometres)!
Jesus used the sum of 10,000 talents to portray an almost unimaginably enormous debt. It is commonly pointed out that in Jesus’ time the total annual revenue of the province consisting of Idumaea, Judea and Sumaria was only 600 talents.
Jesus is not unmindful, however, of how much we can be hurt. The smaller debt was not insignificant. A labourer would work a full 12 hour day to gross just 1% of it. Since people have to live off their wage, it could take years for someone to pay off this smaller, more manageable debt.
To truly forgive someone, we need to be able, from our heart, to ask God not just to forgive them, as Jesus did, but also to bless them.
Although at first it can be very difficult to forgive someone who has hurt us or someone we love, perhaps very deeply, it is the only way we can find peace and become more like Jesus and more in God’s image, as God has had to forgive us, and will continue to forgive us.
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Forgiving and Forgetting – Freedom from the Past
Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” When you fully forgive, God’s peace will rest upon you, and the Holy Spirit will comfort you.
A root of bitterness can grow up in a person because of unforgiveness. This root can be buried deep inside your heart and can block the flow of God’s love from penetrating deep within your heart. It also blocks the flow of God through you, making it difficult to experience God’s love for others. Unforgiveness is a major cause of depression, many people have unforgiveness but are not even aware of it because it is buried so deep inside. Sometimes people do and say things that hurt us very deeply. Sometimes we are hurt by the ones that are closest to us. Sometimes people are hurt in childhood, at the most vulnerable time of life, leaving wounds that we think are healed but they have left scars that still remind us of the wound.
These painful hurts can be buried so deep within us so that we may be unaware that we are still carrying some resentment toward the person who hurt us. Unforgiveness is a form of pride that rejects God and invites Satan in. “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:26-27 KJV)
“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.”(Hebrews 12:14-15)
Unforgiveness is an unforgivable sin allowing Satan an open door into your life. “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
Jesus says; “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matt 5:44-48)
“Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:14-21)
“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” (Luke 6:35-37)
How to know if you have truly forgiven someone that has hurt you?
- Do you say or think things like this? I forgive the person but I will let God deal with them. If you want God to judge and punish them, that is not forgiveness.
- Do you say things like, I forgive the person but I do not want to see them or talk to them again. How would you feel if God said to you I forgive you but I am going to avoid you and not speak to you, would you feel forgiven? That is not forgiveness. God’s forgiveness always restores.
- Do you still have any anger or bad feelings toward the person? When you fully forgive the person, anger will be replaced with pity for them.
- Do you still hold on to the memory of the wrong done to you thinking about it often? True forgiveness forgets, because of the healing of forgiveness the pain disappears as if it did not happen. When God forgives He forgets it forever as if it never occurred.
- Do you have trouble accepting God’s love for you, and accepting God’s forgiveness? If so it could be because you are standing in judgement of another person, because you don’t have mercy, it is hard for you to believe that God has mercy and compassion for you. Forgive others and you will be able to forgive yourself, and accept God’s forgiveness in your life. “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
Part of the meaning of the word blessed means to be happy, joyful, and depression free. Sometimes we may think that we have forgiven someone but we really have not. When you forgive someone then they are also forgiven by God. Again Jesus said, “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.” (John 20:21-23)
This is how to enter into the healing forgiveness, compassion, mercy, and Love of God, which is His grace. Get on your knees and enter into prayer for the person that has hurt you. Approach the throne of grace, in front of the mercy seat, and petition your Father in heaven to please forgive this person. Ask God almighty to pour out His grace, mercy, and compassion upon this person, and in this person. Name off every sin that has been done against you, God will reveal them to you there so you can leave them behind.
Tell God please forgive this person because they did not know what they were doing, they did not know how bad there sin was and how much pain it would cause. Just as Jesus hanging upon the cross in agony looked down on the people murdering Him and said Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing. Ask God in Jesus name, and by the blood that Jesus shed on the cross to please forgive each sin done against you individually. As you name each sin against you and ask God to forgive a ten ton burden will lift off with each one. You will know when they are all gone.
“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” (James 3:13-18)
Recently God took me into the deepest realm of forgiveness that I have ever experienced. Feeling wronged by a Christian Brother, I was offended, and felt that I did not deserve the false judgments and things he was saying against me, mainly to other people. Jesus teaches us if someone has something against us to go and be reconciled to your brother before you even bring a gift to the Lord. I wanted to reconcile but it seemed impossible because we were unable and it seemed unwilling to even communicate so that we could reconcile. One night when this was a heavy weight upon my soul I began crying out to the Lord not even knowing what to say or pray. I sometimes just groaned in my Spirit and even groaning out loud at times. For about two hours I sought the Lord and His help.
At one point it finally occurred to me that the Lord must be trying to teach me something because it seems always at my lowest points of despair God gives me the greatest revelations. So I said Lord what are you trying to teach me? Within a few minutes the revelation began. I felt that I should pray what I have been teaching others to pray. That is for God to have grace, mercy, and compassion upon the person who I felt had wronged me. But immediately I thought no maybe God needs to deal with this person and “teach him a lesson”. Recognizing that this was judgmental on my part and a very wrong attitude, I proceeded to pray for him that God would have grace, mercy and compassion on him.
At that moment I felt in my spirit that I was moving into the presence of God and my burden starting to lift. I then proceeded to ask God to please forgive my brother who I felt wronged me and I started to name off each offence I felt was done against me. Each time I named an offence and asked God to please forgive him I felt a heavy burden lift from my being. When I named the last one that I could think of I was free. Immediately I felt the Holy Spirit say to me the words of Jesus “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” I knew that my brothers’ sins were fully forgiven, not just by me but also by the Lord, and now Satan had no right and no more hold over my brother, or me, the next day we began to be reconciled. I believe that as his sins were forgiven he was set free from deception
I had always thought that I was very good at forgiveness, and I believe people that know me would agree with that because of some situations I have gone through before. But this time the Lord took me to a new dimension of forgiveness that I had never known before. Now I realize that what I thought was forgiveness was not. Until you go before the throne of grace in front of the mercy seat and plead for God to also forgive the people who have wronged or offended you, you have not fully forgiven. Just as Jesus hanging in agony on the cross, looked down at the people killing Him and said “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”. God wants us to come to that point in our life. When you get to that point you are dead to yourself, you have given up all of your rights, all your rights to be angry, hurt, offended, to punish, and to judge the other person. It is the most humbling spiritual experience I have ever had, it is very painful to cross that line of giving up all your rights and dying to yourself. But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” (James 4:6)
But once I was there, and I felt that burden lift, I felt the most awesome blessing of God come upon me. “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matt 5:7). I felt God’s compassion come all over me, and fill me to overflowing. We have to be very careful to not let ourselves become offended at other people because we will be judged the same way we judge others. “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” (Matt 7:1-2)
We must forgive everyone that offends us, and everyone that sins against us. “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matt 6:14-15)
It is clear from God’s word that we are required to forgive sins that are against ourselves because our God and Father forgives, so as His children He wants us to forgive also. Forgiveness is an action of compassion, an act of love. “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”(Luke 6:35-38)
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) “For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.” (Heb 5:1-3)
“And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. “(1 Peter 4:8)
For more about forgiveness see our message about how we are “Called to Be Royal Priest” at www.seekgod.org/message/intercession.html
Prayer of Forgiveness – Made Possible By Jesus Christ
A prayer of forgiveness is a prayer that is offered up to God. Though we may directly hurt each other, all of our trespasses ultimately hurt God. You may wonder how this is possible. How can our shortcomings hurt the omnipotent Creator of the universe? Does God even care? In Genesis 6, we find that God Himself actually grieved over all the wrongs that man had inflicted upon each other:
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” (Genesis 6:5-6).
All knowing, God grieves even at the mere thought of evil. Thus, ultimate forgiveness must also come from God. However, because of His justice, forgiveness cannot be freely given. Every wrong must be accounted for in order for God to be a just judge. Jesus Christ died on the cross at Calvary in our place so that our sins may be forgiven. His suffering paid for our transgressions.
“For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matt 26:28)
In His love, God knew that our conscience needed to be freed from guilt and condemnation. He knew that forgiveness of sins was our greatest need. In the ultimate act of love, God not only suffered the pain of our wrongs, but also paid for their consequences in order that we may have forgiveness offered to us when we sin. All we need to do is to accept His free gift of forgiveness. [Thanks to about.com.]
Forgiveness is an act of the will, not a feeling. If we pray for a person, we can be assured that we have forgiven that person. To help accept an individual and open ourselves to a particular person more, picture him with the Lord Jesus and say to the Lord, “I love him because You love him. I forgive him because You forgive him.”
Forgiveness is a life-long obligation. Daily we need to forgive those who hurt or injure us.
The following prayer covers most significant areas of forgiveness. Often, such a prayer will bring to mind other areas that need forgiveness. Let the Holy Spirit move freely and guide your mind to persons or groups that you need to forgive. [Best read aloud]
Let us pray…
Lord Jesus Christ,
I ask today to forgive EVERYONE in my life.
I know that You will give me the strength to
forgive and I thank You that You love me more
than I love myself and want my happiness more than
I desire it for myself. Father, I forgive YOU for
the times death has come into the family, hard times,
financial difficulties, or what I thought were punishments
sent by You and people said, “It’s God’s will,” and I
become bitter and resentful toward You.
Purify my heart and mind today.
Lord, I forgive MYSELF for my sins, faults and failings,
for all that is bad in myself or that I think is bad,
I forgive myself; and I accept Your forgiveness. I further
forgive MYSELF for taking Your name in vain, not worshipping
You by attending church, for hurting my parents, getting drunk,
for sins against purity, bad books, bad movies, fornication,
adultery, homosexuality. Also, for abortion, stealing, lying,
defrauding, hurting peoples’ reputation.
You have forgiven me today, and I forgive myself.
Thank You, Lord, for your grace at this moment. I also forgive MYSELF
for any delvings in superstition and the occult, using ouija boards,
horoscopes, going to séances, using fortune telling, lucky
charms or anything else. I reject all that superstition and choose
You alone as my Lord and Saviour. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit.
Lord, I truly forgive my MOTHER
I forgive her for all the times she hurt me, she resented
me, she was angry with me and for all the times she punished
me. I forgive her for the times she preferred my brothers and
sisters to me. I forgive her for the times she told me I was dumb,
ugly, stupid, the worst of the children or that I cost the family
a lot of money. For the times she told me I was unwanted,
an accident, a mistake or not what she expected, I forgive her.
Lord, I truly forgive my FATHER
I forgive him for any non-support, any lack of love, affection
or attention. I forgive him for any lack of time, for not giving
me his companionship, for his drinking, arguing and fighting with
my mother or the other children. For his severe punishments, for
desertion, for being away from home, for divorcing my mother or for
any running around, I do forgive him.
Lord, I extend forgiveness o my SISTERS AND BROTHERS
I forgive those who rejected me, lied about me, hated me, resented me,
competed for my parents’ love, those who hurt me, who physically
harmed me. For those who were too severe on me, punished me or
made my life unpleasant in any way, I do forgive them.
Lord, I forgive my SPOUSE
for lack of love, affection, consideration, support, attention,
communication; for faults, failings, weaknesses and those other
acts or words that hurt or disturb me.
Jesus, I forgive my CHILDREN
for their lack of respect, obedience, love, attention, support,
warmth, understanding; for their bad habits, falling away from the
church, any bad actions which disturb me.
Lord God, I forgive my IN-LAWS, MY MOTHER-IN-LAW, FATHER-IN-LAW, SON/DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AND OTHER RELATIVES BY MARRIAGE
who treat my family with a lack of love. For all their words, thoughts,
actions or omissions which injure and cause pain, I forgive them.
Please help to forgive my RELATIVES, MY GRANDMOTHER,
GRANDFATHER, AUNTS, UNCLES AND COUSINS
who may have interfered in our family, been possessive of my parents,
who may have caused confusion or turned one parent against the other.
Jesus, help me to forgive my CO-WORKERS
who are disagreeable or make life miserable for me. For those who push
their work off on me, gossip about me, won’t cooperate with me, try to
take my job, I do forgive them.
need to be forgiven, Lord. For all their noise, letting their property run down,
not tying up their dogs who run through my yard, not taking in their trash barrels,
being prejudiced and running down the neighborhood, I do forgive them.
I do forgive my CLERGYMAN, my CONGREGATION and my CHURCH
for their lack of support, affirmation, bad sermons, pettiness, lack of friendliness,
not providing me or my family with the inspiration we needed, for any hurts they
have inflicted on me or my family, even in the distant past, I forgive them today.
Lord, I forgive ALL those who are of different PERSUASIONS
those of opposite political views who have attacked me, ridiculed me, discriminated against me, made fun of me, economically hurt me.
I forgive those of different religious DENOMINATIONS AND BELIEFS
who have harassed me, attacked me, argued with me, forced their view on me
or my family.
Those who have harmed me ETHNICALLY
have discriminated against me, mocked me, made jokes about my race or nationality, hurt my family physically, emotionally or economically, I do forgive them today.
Lord, I forgive all PROFESSIONAL PEOPLE, DOCTORS, NURSES, LAWYERS,
JUDGES, POLITICIANS AND CIVIL SERVANTS
who have hurt me in any way.
I forgive all SERVICE PEOPLE
policemen, firemen, bus drivers, hospital workers and
especially repairmen who have taken advantage of me in their work.
Lord, I forgive my EMPLOYER
for not paying me enough money, for not appreciating my work,
for being unkind and unreasonable with me, for being angry or
unfriendly, for not promoting me, and for not complimenting me on my work.
Lord, I forgive my SCHOOLTEACHERS AND INSTRUCTORS
of the past as well as the present. For those who punished me, humiliated me,
insulted me, treated me unjustly, made fun of me, called me dumb or stupid,
made me stay after school, I truly forgive them today.
Lord, I forgive my FRIENDS
who have let me down, lost contact with me, do not support me,
were not available when I needed help, borrowed money and did not
return it, gossiped about me.
Lord Jesus, I especially pray for the grace of forgiveness for the ONE PERSON
in life who has HURT ME THE MOST.
I ask to forgive anyone who I consider my GREATEST ENEMY
the one who is the hardest to forgive or the one who I said I will never forgive.
I beg pardon of all these people for the hurt I have inflicted on them,
especially my MOTHER AND FATHER, AND MY MARRIAGE PARTNER.
I am especially sorry for the greatest hurts I have inflicted on each of these.
Thank You, Jesus,
that I am being freed of the evil of unforgiveness.
Let Your Holy Spirit fill me with light and
let every dark area of my mind be enlightened.
From the book by Father Robert DeGrandis S.S.J. and Betty Tapscott:
Forgiveness & Inner Healing; Twenty-fourth Printing September 2001.
Permission to copy is granted by Father DeGrandis.
[Copyright info must remain intact.]