What Is the True Definition of Forgiveness?
Forgiveness is not about forgetting people hurt you or acting like it doesn't matter. Forgiveness is a process that involves letting go of the need to seek revenge or pay someone back for the harm they did to you or someone you care about. If you forgive someone, you no longer want to see harm come to them, or for them to get "a taste of their own medicine". Forgiveness is healthy because it relieves you from the painful burden of hate and bitterness and allows you to heal more completely from the pain you've been through.
It's important to remember that sometimes, you have to forgive someone from afar. If you were abused, or felt unsafe around the person who caused you pain, you don't have to interact with them or talk to them in order to extend forgiveness to them. You can do the work of forgiving them from afar, with the help of a mentor or counselor if you need it. If you do feel comfortable being around the person, and you do want to continue to be in their life, it is important to remember that forgiveness should involve healthy boundaries. You can let someone know you forgive them, while still making it clear what is and is not okay.
Understanding God's Hope and Help for Forgiveness
Are you struggling to forgive someone who hurt you? Or are you struggling to forgive yourself? Maybe you are curious about God's forgiveness...wondering if he could forgive you for something you regret.
The good news is forgiveness on all these levels is possible! Both receiving forgiveness and forgiving others is one of the most important things you will ever do. The Bible is full of verses to help us understand how completely God forgives those who confess and believe in his son Jesus. There are also many wonderful scriptures about forgiving others.
Do not live with the burden of unforgiveness any longer. Find freedom through God's word:
Bible Verses on Forgiveness
God Forgives Us
1 John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Psalm 103:10-14 - He has not punished us as we deserve for all our sins, for his mercy toward those who fear and honor him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west. He is like a father to us, tender and sympathetic to those who reverence him. For he knows we are but dust.
Hebrews 8:12 - For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.
Romans 5:8 - But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
1 Timothy 1:15-16 - Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
Luke 23:34 - As he hung on the cross – “And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
We Should Forgive Others as God Forgives Us
Ephesians 4:31-32 - Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Mark 11:25 - And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
Colossians 3:13 - 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.
Matthew 6:12 - From the Lord’s Prayer – “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
Teachings on Forgiveness
Romans 12:18-21 - If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave I to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. To the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Matthew 5:39-41 - But I tell you not to resist an evil person. If someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also; if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well, and if someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two.
Proverbs 17:9 - Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.
Luke 6:35-36 - But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Proverbs 10:12 - Hatred stirs old quarrels, but love overlooks insults.
Bible Verses on Forgiveness
God Will Help
John 14:26-27 - But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
1 Peter 5:7 - Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.
Philippians 4:13 - For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
2 Corinthians 12:9 - Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
Do you want to know what God says about other topics you may be facing? Check out our Verses of Hope Library.