New Living Translation version (NLT) used for Bible Verses
By Kemi Olubiyi
Have you ever been hurt by a spouse, friend, colleague, family member etc ? If so, you are not alone. I believe most of us, believers and non-believers alike, can honestly say we have been victims of hurt, betrayal and also have been the wrong-doers too. Regardless of what the situation may have been that created the pain, God wants us to forgive so that we will also be forgiven our sins. Luke 6:37.
Forgiving others can be quite difficult to do because it goes against our sinful human nature, and the Lord knows this. However, because we are God's children and ambassadors of Jesus Christ on earth, we are to lead by example; and so He has provided directions in His word on how to forgive as well as why it is important to do so.
Below are 12 scripture verses I have put together to help you break the stronghold of unforgiveness over your life, opening your eyes to the truth and reasons why you should not harbor bitterness, in your hearts.
1). Mark 11:24-25 - " I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. 25 But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too"
The Lord is telling us to forgive others so that our sins will be forgiven and our prayers will not be hindered as a result of bearing a grudge. (see vs 24).
2). Colossians 3:13 -" Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others."
Let us be conscious of the fact that no one is perfect, we all have fallen short of His glory, thereby struggling with weaknesses every day. The tendency to hurt one another whether intentionally or not, is great and so therefore, we must forgive others because God forgave us first. It is not an option.
3). Matthew 6:12-15 - "And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,but rescue us from the evil one.14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins."
We can forgive others because forgiveness is a decision, it is an act of obedience unto God. The Lord has also assured us that when we forgive others, our heavenly Father will also forgive us; but if we refuse to do so, our sins will not be forgiven and that will surely affect our relationship with Him.
4). Matthew 18:21-22 - "Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” 22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!"
We should be ready to forgive others over and over again i.e continuously no matter the offense committed against us.
5) Luke 6: 37 - “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.
Forgive others and you will be forgiven. We have been commanded to do so.
6). Ephesians 4:32- " Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
God has forgiven us first through the sacrificial death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross and so therefore we have to forgive others as well.
7). 1 John 1:9 - " But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness."
When we confess our sins to God, He has assured us that He will not only forgive us our sins, but will also cleanse us from not some but all wickedness. It is like starting afresh on a clean slate with God.
8). Matthew 5: 23-24 - “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.
Forgiveness and Reconciliation is so important to God that He is saying that before He can receive any kind of gift or offering from us, we need to make sure we make amends with anyone whom we have offended or vice versa and then with a clean heart, we can offer our gifts unto Him. Ofcourse, in some cases, we may not even know someone may be bearing a grudge against us, it is for us to now examine ourselves and ask the Holy Spirit through prayer to reveal if there is anyone we may have offended, and then go make peace with the person..
9). Isaiah 43:25 - “I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.
God chooses not to remember our sins. He has made the decision not to bring them up again even though He does not forget as it confirms in the latter part of the verse " and will never think of them again." Why? Because of the blood of the Lamb that was shed to redeem us from our sins and His love which covers a multitude of sins.
10). Acts 7: 59-60 - " As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.
Regardless of the gravity of the offense committed against us, we must forgive those who hurt or harm us. It is for the Lord to judge their actions. Stephen in this verses, displayed God's love even at the point of death by petitioning Him to forgive the sins of His persecutors and oppressors. Whether God does or not, Stephen has obeyed the Lord's commandment to love and pray for our enemies. "But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! Matthew 5:44.
11). Luke 23:33-34- "When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”
Like Stephen, but in a greater capacity, even at the point of death, our Lord Jesus Christ petitioned God for mercy for those who had tortured Him to death. This just showed how much God loved us that He gave His only begotten son to die for our sins. Without even waiting for repentance, Jesus beseeched His Father to forgive His persecutors.
12). Romans 12:17-20- "17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. 19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. 20 Instead “If your enemies are hungry, feed them.If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”
God is telling us to never retaliate against our offenders but instead, we should report the matter to Him and allow the Lord to handle it in His own way. Our God will always fight for us.
All we are required to do is obey His words i.e not harboring bitterness, grudge, malice against the individual. He commands us to love our enemies and repay evil with good for in doing that, we will cause them to feel shame for their actions which may eventually bring remorse, leading them to seek forgiveness. It is the Lord' plan that we try to live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
Why should we forgive?
1. We should forgive for Christ's sake:- When we became born again, we became a new creation, a new person. We are reconciled back to God through Jesus Christ. II Corinthians 5:17-18
2. We should forgive for the sake of others :- God proved His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8. He forgave and loved us first not because we repented or deserved it. Sometimes God allows others to hurt or persecute us in order to create an opportunity to display His immeasurable grace in that situation. The offender may actually refuse to repent or apologize for his or her actions but it is then that the power of forgiveness through the Holy Spirit becomes a reality in our lives, given us the ability to forgive that person and reconcile him or her back to God. So sometimes we may be used as a vessel in God's hands for the sake of bringing restoration to a person's life.
3). We should forgive for our own sakes :- Forgiveness brings about liberty (freedom), which enables us to enjoy the peace of God. It liberates us from the stronghold of unforgiveness which is a sin. Romans 6:16. Our prayers and blessings are not hindered because we have chosen to live a life of obedience Psalm 66:18. Unforgiveness, just like any other sin is disobedience and can cause us to be separated from God forever if we refuse to repent, thereby missing heaven because He cannot behold iniquity(sin, evil). Habakkuk 1:13, therefore beloved, we need to forgive and let go of the hurt and bitterness because being separated from God is not worth it at all.
In conclusion, I just want to state that no matter who have caused you pain, heartache, sadness etc, be it your spouse, loved one, boss, colleague, pastor or the sister in the church etc, You must forgive because God has commanded us to do so over and over again in His word. It will definitely be difficult to do, but with God all things by His Spirit is possible as long as you surrender all to Him. It is a decision that you have to make whether you feel like it or not and it will be beneficial to your life as you have seen in His word and as it has been stated in the previous paragraph.
Sisters, Let His word encourage you and begin to heal your wounded heart today. do not delay your blessings any longer. God wants you to live a victorious life and the only way to do that is to be totally obedient to His word and He will surely bless you richly.