Being hurt by someone you care about can be incredibly painful. You may feel angry, sad, confused, and find it very difficult to forgive. However, forgiveness is a central teaching in the Bible. God calls us to forgive others just as He has forgiven us.
This article will provide 15 bible verses about forgiveness, why it’s important, and how to forgive those who have hurt you deeply.
What the Bible Says About Forgiveness
Matthew 6:14-15 – Forgive others so God will forgive you
In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus teaches that if we forgive others for their offenses against us, God will forgive us of our sins. However, if we do not forgive others, God will not forgive our sins. This shows the importance of forgiveness in the Christian faith.
A 2022 survey found that 87% of Americans believe forgiving others is an important value, though it can be difficult to put into practice (PRRI). As Jesus followers, we must choose to forgive even when emotions make it challenging.
Ephesians 4:32 – Forgive others as God forgave you
Ephesians 4:32 reminds believers that God has forgiven us for all of our sins through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Therefore, we must “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
This verse encourages us to remember how much we have been forgiven, which should motivate us to extend grace and forgiveness to others. Though forgiveness can be a process, the more we meditate on God’s mercy in our lives, the more our hearts will open to show mercy to others.
Colossians 3:13 – Forgive as the Lord forgave you
Colossians 3:13 parallels Ephesians 4:32, stating that as God has forgiven believers, so we must forgive one another when complaints or grievances arise. Additionally, this verse instructs us to forgive “as the Lord forgave you.”
Since Jesus forgave us fully and unconditionally, we must strive to forgive others in the same manner, even when it is extremely difficult. As American preacher Charles Stanley stated, “Our willingness to forgive is a measurement of how much we appreciate God’s forgiveness toward us.”
Mark 11:25 – Forgive others so that God will forgive you
In Mark 11:25, as part of His teaching on prayer, Jesus again emphasizes the connection between forgiving others and receiving forgiveness from God. He states that when believers stand praying, we must forgive anyone against whom we have a grievance.
That way, our Father in heaven will also forgive us of our transgressions. Holding on to bitterness can hinder our relationship with God. According to one 2022 survey, 65% of Americans say they need more forgiveness in their lives (Christian Headlines).
Releasing hurts through forgiveness is cleansing for our soul.
Luke 6:37 – Forgive and you will be forgiven
In Luke 6:37, Jesus teaches believers not to judge or condemn others, but rather to pardon. He promises that if we forgive, we will receive forgiveness. If we give mercy, then mercy will be shown to us in return.
Though it is easier said than done, this reminds us that letting go of grudges through forgiveness sets us free from bitterness. It also sets a good example for others to follow, potentially releasing ripple effects that change culture.
According to pastoral counselor June Hunt, “Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and realizing you were the prisoner.”
Why Should We Forgive Others?
It frees you from bitterness
Holding on to resentment and anger towards those who have wronged us can poison our hearts and minds. Choosing to forgive releases us from this toxic bitterness and frees us to move forward (Ephesians 4:31-32).
It lifts the burden of hate from our shoulders and allows us to cultivate compassion instead.
It allows you to heal emotionally
Forgiving others enables us to stop reliving the pain of being wronged and move on with our lives. We cease to be stuck in the past and can open our hearts to healing and new beginnings. Letting go of grudges creates space for joy and peace to grow.
It strengthens your connection with God
As Christians, God calls us to forgive as He has forgiven us (Colossians 3:13). When we choose not to forgive, we harm our relationship with Him. But when we follow His example of mercy and grace towards those who hurt us, we draw nearer to His heart of compassion.
It improves your mental and physical health
Studies show that dwelling on grudges and bitterness can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, and even contribute to depression and anxiety. Forgiveness, on the other hand, lowers stress levels in the body and can lead to better cardiovascular health and improved well-being.
It allows you to live in peace
Holding onto bitterness ties us to the person who harmed us and keeps the conflict alive. Forgiveness allows us to let it go and move forward in freedom and peace. It ends the cycle of resentment and replaces turmoil with serenity. With forgiveness, we reclaim our lives from pain and conflict.
How to Forgive Someone Who Hurt You
Forgiving someone who has deeply hurt us can be incredibly challenging. While it may seem impossible in the moment, with God’s help we can take steps to free ourselves from bitterness and anger. Here are some biblical ways to pursue forgiveness of those who have wounded us:
Pray for the strength and wisdom to forgive
Ask God to soften your heart and give you His supernatural ability to forgive (Ephesians 3:16). Pray for the person who hurt you, asking God to bless them (Luke 6:28). As you regularly pray in this way, God will change your heart and mindset.
Recognize that forgiveness is a process
Choosing to forgive someone is only the first step. Your emotions may take time to follow. Give yourself grace as God works in your heart. Avoid pressuring yourself to “get over it” quickly. Forgiveness may involve working through pain for a period before feeling peace and reconciliation.
Commit to letting go of anger and bitterness
Holding onto resentment only hurts you, not the person who offended you. The Bible teaches that bitterness defiles and imprisons us (Hebrews 12:15). Make a decision to release the anger to God daily, even if you have to keep choosing to forgive over and over.
As you let it go, you’ll experience new freedom.
Refocus your thoughts on positive things
Dwelling on hurtful events will keep you stuck in unforgiveness. WhenNegative memories surface, pray and intentionally redirect your mind to what is good (Philippians 4:8). Over time, it will get easier to focus on the present instead of the past.
Consider reconciliation when possible
If it is safe and the person is genuinely repentant, prayerfully consider reconciliation. This involves humbly discussing grievances, seeking mutual understanding, and offering grace to one another (Matthew 18:15-17). However, in cases of serious harm like abuse, separation may be healthiest.
Seek godly counsel to determine the wisest course.
While extending forgiveness is difficult, it brings incredible freedom. By relying on God’s power and grace, you can let go of bitterness and walk in newness of life.
Bible Verses About Forgiving Yourself
Isaiah 43:25 – God blots out your transgressions
This powerful verse from Isaiah reminds us that God forgives and forgets our sins. When we repent and turn to Him, He removes our transgressions from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).
Though we may continue to feel guilty, we can have confidence that God has blotted out our sins completely. What an amazing, merciful God we serve!
1 John 1:9 – God will forgive and cleanse you
1 John 1:9 contains a wonderful promise. When we confess our sins to God, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. No matter what we’ve done, God is ready and willing to wipe the slate clean if we come to Him in genuine repentance.
This should give us great encouragement to regularly confess our sins so we can walk in freedom and joy.
Psalm 103:12 – God removes your sins from you
Psalm 103 is a beautiful chapter filled with truths about God’s mercy and grace. Verse 12 specifically speaks to how God forgives and forgets our sins. He removes them from us as far as the east is from the west – an immeasurable distance! When God forgives us, our sins are gone for good.
We can stop feeling burdened by past mistakes and regrets. What a relief!
2 Corinthians 5:17 – In Christ you are a new creation
2 Corinthians 5:17 is a powerful reminder that in Christ we are completely renewed and transformed. When we put our faith in Jesus, He breaks the power of sin over our lives and gives us new life. Our past sins and failures no longer define us.
This verse encourages us to see ourselves as God sees us – as new creations, redeemed and made righteous by the blood of Christ.
Romans 8:1 – No condemnation for those in Christ
Romans 8:1 contains an incredible truth – there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Once we have repented and put our faith in Christ, we are no longer condemned or judged by God for our sins. What freedom this brings!
This verse helps remind us that we don’t need to live under guilt and shame. As children of God, we have been set free by His grace.
Forgiveness is difficult but freeing. With God’s help, we can forgive others just as He has forgiven us. It is a choice and a process, but letting go of pain and offering forgiveness brings peace and joy.
Meditate on these bible verses about forgiveness, pray for the strength to forgive, and trust God to heal your heart.