Forgiveness can be difficult.
It’s easy to say that we should follow the idea of forgiveness in the bible, but in our day-to-day life, we’ll come across people who are ignorant, selfish, disrespectful, ignorant — the whole gamut. Rather than holding a grudge, the Bible teaches us to forgive them. The Bible reminds us that having an unforgiving heart leads to bitterness, and a heart that is bitter cannot love as it ought to love.
This is something I’m putting into practice myself. I’ve often demanded an apology in order to forgive someone. But when it’s done this way, we, more often than not, are reacting based on the desires of our flesh. We feel an apology is owed to us.
In scripture, we can find encouraging and inspiring verses that encourage us to be forgiving. When we read a bible verse about forgiveness, it can show us how to bring these ideas into our life. Verses like the ‘practice being slow to judge quick to forgive’ bible verse help explain why the idea of forgiveness is so important. Still, it can be a challenge to put into practice.
Below are some bible verses on forgiveness that I like to turn to for encouragement when I’m struggling with the difficulty of forgiveness. We’ll review bible verses about forgiving criminals and all those who have done us wrong.
For those who already have a strong grasp on forgiveness, we’ve identified some of the best Bible verses for other situations as well. Whether you need strength, want to build more diligence, or are or are feeling discouraged, we’ve got you covered.
Ephesians 4: 32
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Interpretation: A direct command, loud and clear. As He died for our sins, so, too, should we be lenient and forgiving with those around us. While we should impose the highest standards on ourselves, we should not expect or demand the same of others as we’ll never be able to truly understand their circumstances and struggles. Recognize that much of how others behave is out of our control, and give them the benefit of the doubt.
Matthew 18: 21-22
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times
Interpretation: This is not saying that seventy-seven is the ceiling, but rather that there should be no limit to how we forgive others. The second we start keeping count, we’ve already gone down the wrong path. Forgiveness is a continuous, ongoing process that has no end. You can count on the fact that your entire life will be filled with instances and opportunities for you to practice forgiveness – it’s best to develop and train this muscle sooner than later.
2 Corinthians 2:5-8
Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.
Interpretation: It’s likely a fair statement to say that most people struggle with forgiveness. Knowing that, we should try to be the few who are more forgiving. There are enough in the world who will do the admonishing on our behalf.
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
Interpretation: Another reminder to be patient and understanding with each other. Complaints, misunderstandings, disputes, and debates are fine, but we should make sure to come together in the end and try to understand each other’s perspectives and differing points of view.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-6
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Interpretation: Love and forgiveness are intrinsic in one another. Forgiveness requires patience and kindness. Forgiveness does not come from a stance of superiority. It does not involve imposing our standards for ourselves onto other people.
Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;
Interpretation: To do any of the above is to be hypocritical for we are not individually perfect and flawless. We are all human and will have moments where we slip up and fall off the path. Just as we should, at some point, find it in ourselves to forgive ourselves, we should do the same for others. In the end, He will do the same for us.
And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Interpretation: There’s not a single one of us who hasn’t faltered at least once in our life. To judge others and forget out own mistakes is hypocritical, and this is an appeal to that. Who among us has made no mistakes?
So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Interpretation: If there is bad blood between you and your fellow humans, an attempt should be made to settle those differences amicably. We’re all equal in the mistakes we’ve made, and if it’s all the same, whether we’re with or at odds with one another, then we might as well choose love and harmony.
Luke 23: 33-34
And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.
Interpretation: In a brilliant display of the ultimate sacrifice, he forgave all our sins, leading by example. We should strive to follow in his lead, knowing that we’re imperfect and that our light shines dull compared to his. However, we should nonetheless shine a light for our fellow humans and continue to pave the way for one another.
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Interpretation: Only by striving to achieve love amongst all, as intended by Him, will be able to see the Lord in the end.
James 1: 19-20
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Interpretation: Anger is the most dangerous opponent of all. We should practice patience and take the time to let harsh emotions pass before taking the opportunity to respond and exercise understanding.
1 Peter 5:8
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour
Interpretation: In order to maintain clarity, we should observe ourselves and everything around us. Only by being present-minded can we recognize when we’re about to be consumed by negative emotions.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
Interpretation: By acknowledging our mistakes to those around us, we can build safe spaces to build up one another. It helps give reassurance that we’re not alone in our struggles, that our suffering is not unique, and that there is a way to find community and mutual understanding through our difficulties.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
Interpretation: Even though our loved ones may not be perfect, having their fair share of blunders and slip ups, we love them for their flaws regardless. Our unconditional love for them is the ultimate embodiment of our ability to forgive.
Do you have any verses you turn to when you are struggling with forgiveness?
Did any of these verses resonate with you? If so, grab a journal and jot these verses down so you can quickly turn to them whenever you’re struggling. If you know someone who could use a little more support today, feel free to share this article via Facebook, Pinterest, or email by clicking one of the buttons below!