How To Forgive

How To Forgive

According to the Bible, to forgive is to absolutely refuse to hold any ill-will against anyone. This is God’s way of healing us from the horrible things that others do to us.  Since Jesus has forgiven us, we owe forgiveness to everyone else.



  • everyone has someone they need to forgive
  • Reasons we don’t forgive
    • Misunderstandings – about what forgiveness is, and is not
    • Vulnerability – we’re afraid will get hurt or damaged
    • Justice – we want people pay a price for the wrong they did
  • Why we forgive. 
    • to stop the damage to us emotionally
    • illustration from This Is Us
  • Dave Reever. Brown Water Black Beret in Vietnam.  Phosphorous grenade
    • God put it in his heart to put a heart unit in a hospital in Vietnam.


  • What forgiveness is…
    • it is a fundamental life skill that is rarely taught
    • “Forgiveness is… the absolute refusal to hold ill-will against someone (or something) for what they did or didn’t do.”
      • forgiveness is not condoning unacceptable behavior,
      • it’s not about lying down and letting everyone walk all over you.
  • Did Paul really live this out?  Example of Timothy at Ephesus with Alexander
    • 2 Timothy 4:14-18  Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done.  You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.  At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them.  But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.  The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen

What To Do

  • The Lord’s Prayer – you are asking God to treat you the way you treat those who have hurt you
  • Matthew 6:14-15 – For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
  • Jesus says, “Whatever I do in you, do it back.  Imitate me. If I comfort you, you should comfort others.”
  • Walk by faith and not by sight.  But we don’t apply it.


  • Imagine you have mastered the art of forgiveness…
    • at peace about everyone and everything in your life.
    • forgiven everyone and everything.
    • There’s nothing outstanding left to say
    • no ill will against anyone or anything
    • prevent divorce, resolve family feuds, improve your mental, emotional and physical health and change how you feel about yourself.
    • Ultimately it has the power to transform the world.
  • Ruby Bridges