What did Jesus say About Forgiveness?
Forgiveness is a frequent topic of discussion among Jesus’ followers. Even today, many scholars attempt to make sense of Jesus’ words on forgiveness. Jesus calls on all believers to show mercy and forgive those who harm them, no matter what they did.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is very explicit about how we should forgive those who do us wrong. He clearly says that we must forgive those who have wronged us if we are to receive forgiveness ourselves. Matthew 6:14-15 states,
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, This verse from Jesus emphasizes three distinct points; that we must forgive, in order to be forgiven by God; at least to the same extent, and without harboring resentment.
but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Furthermore, Jesus deals with forgiveness by using his own example. In the
Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:21-35), Jesus emphasizes how a person must repent and be merciful even when they have been wronged, in order to be forgiven by God. This parable teaches us that, no matter who hurt us, we must forgive them or we will be hurt by not receiving divine forgiveness.
When speaking of forgiveness, Jesus also warns us of the consequences of not forgiving. Just as we are called to forgive those who wrong us, our heavenly Father will provide judgement against those who remain unyielding. Jesus makes a connection between not forgiving and unforgiveness, stating that if we do not forgive, we cannot receive forgiveness.
Jesus’ teachings about forgiveness go beyond just forgiving; they also remind us of our debt to God. Jesus speaks of our responsibilities as only a debtor to God, and as a result, what we owe God (Matthew 6:14-15). Jesus encourages us to remind God of our debt and thus creating an understanding of what God requires of us in return. For this reason, it is not just about forgiving, but it is also about being grateful and thankful for what God has given us.
We are also called to love those who have wronged us. Jesus takes it a step further when he says,
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44). This verse shows us that we should not only forgive those who have done wrong, but we should love them and pray for their best interests. It is in this way that Jesus shines a light on the power of forgiveness, despite its seeming difficulty.
Through the teachings of Jesus, we are able to understand that forgiveness is not a single act, but rather a lifestyle. Forgiveness must be both expressed and experienced in order for it to truly take root in our lives and our hearts.
What is the Meaning of Forgiveness?
Forgiveness is a concept that can sometimes feel difficult to grasp. It is often seen as an act of mercy or goodwill, calling on us to be merciful and patient with those who hurt us. It is a concept rooted in compassion, humility, grace, and respect for others. This is the example Jesus sets for us in the bible. While our humanity often calls for us to seek vengeance against those who hurt us, Jesus teaches us to go beyond that.
It is important to understand that forgiveness is not simply forgetting that something happened, pretending that the hurt didn’t happen or excusing the behavior. Forgiveness is often equated with reconciliation, but it is not the same. Reconciliation involves many different things, but forgiveness is separate. Reconciliation requires trust, respect, and mutual justice, but forgiveness does not. Forgiveness is more a state of being than a remedy for hurt feelings.
Jesus teaches us that forgiveness is a commandment of God. He tells us in the Lord’s Prayer that we should forgive others as our heavenly Father forgives us, and in Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus talks about the parable of the unforgiving servant. In this parable he stresses how, in order to receive forgiveness from God, “forgive one another as God also through Christ Jesus has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).
On the human level, forgiveness involves recognizing that the hurt occurred, the negative emotions that resulted, and moving forward regardless. Learning to forgive means committing to loving another person even with their flaws. After all, it is only with this kind of unconditional love that we can be truly forgiven.
The Blessings of Forgiveness
The blessings of forgiveness are numerous and far-reaching. When one chooses to forgive someone who has hurt them, they are opening the door to self-healing. It can be difficult to choose to forgive, but it is an act of self-love and compassion. Those who acknowledge and take ownership of their emotions are more likely to be gentle with themselves and nurture their own healing process.
Learning to forgive can also help to break the cycle of hurt and act as a sense of closure for both parties. The hurt party can often find peace through forgiveness and the other party can find closure if the hurt is acknowledged. Learning to forgive also strengthens relationships and allows for closeness and trust to grow.
Forgiveness can also lift the burdens of guilt and shame associated with hurtful situations. By forgiving, the offending party can find freedom from the unsustainable guilt and pain they may be feeling. It can be a way of reclaiming power, as it is often difficult to forgive those who hurt us, but doing so is taking back control and ultimately choosing love over hate.
The act of forgiveness can also bring healing in the overall healing process. Unforgiven hurts can fester and lead to ongoing unresolved issues. By presenting sorrow, evaluating the situation and then granting compassion and understanding to the wrongdoer, forgiveness can provide the strength for a person to move on and learn from their experiences.
Finally, forgiveness can act as an essential aspect of a healthy spiritual life. It can be seen as a reminder of the unconditional love of God, encompassing trust and strength even in the face of betrayal. Furthermore, Jesus reminds us that God forgives us for every wrong we have done, which is a reminder for us to do the same.
The Benefits of Forgiveness
Forgiveness offers many physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. On the physical level, it can reduce anxiety, increase oxytocin levels, and lower heart rate and blood pressure. It can also provide a sense of freedom and control over our lives in an environment that we can’t always control.
Mentally, forgiveness can be beneficial in providing a sense of peace and closure. It can provide a sense of being able to let go of the past and move on. Those who forgive may also find themselves happier and more satisfied in their lives.
Forgiveness can also provide spiritual benefits in the form of renewed faith and trust in God and the divine order of things. It can help to place our lives back in perspective and recognize that our lives are part of a bigger plan.
Forgiveness can give us a sense of freedom, allowing us to accept that sometimes hurts will occur and to learn to let go. It can give us compassion and understanding for others and ourselves. Forgiveness can also lead to a greater appreciation for life and all its struggles and joys.
How Can We Celebrate Forgiveness?
It is important to recognize the power of forgiveness in our lives and to take the time to celebrate it. We can celebrate forgiveness by meditating on the words of Jesus and recognizing the importance of the act of forgiveness. We can also take time to practice self-forgiveness, as it can be difficult to forgive ourselves from the hurts that we have suffered.
We can also celebrate forgiveness by being conscious of our own actions. We can reflect on our words and how they might hurt or help others. We can also act generously and consciously, as this can help us to make friendship and kindness a priority in our lives.
It is also important to remember that as we practice forgiveness, we are also practicing humility and love. We can take time to recognize how our actions affect those around us and act in a way that shows understanding and compassion.In addition, it is essential to remember that forgiveness is a daily practice and that it requires effort and commitment.
Finally, celebrating forgiveness can involve encouraging others to forgive and to be humble. We can act as a role model for those around us and inspire them to embrace forgiveness and kindness. We can also lend a listening ear and be a source of comfort and understanding for those in need.
Conclusion of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is an essential part of our lives as humans, and Jesus’ teachings provide us with insight and understanding into the power of forgiveness. Jesus reminds us of our debt to God and the consequences of not forgiving. Through his teachings, Jesus emphasizes our responsibility to show mercy and forgiveness regardless of what has been done. He also speaks of our need to love our enemies and to pray for those that persecute us. Jesus’ teachings on forgiveness seek to comfort us and give us courage to forgive and to be forgiven.
Forgiveness is not a single act but rather a lifestyle and must be both expressed and experienced in order for it to take root in our lives and our hearts. Forgiveness offers many benefits, from physical to mental and spiritual. Learning to forgive can offer a sense of freedom from guilt and shame, and can also strengthen relationships and allow for closeness and trust to grow, as well as providing the strength to move on and learn from experiences. It is important to recognize the power of forgiveness and celebrate it in our lives.
A husband of one wife, father of two beautiful girls, laborer of Lord, Jesus Christ, and a servant to God’s His saints. I hope to encourage you by God’s grace. Thank you for stopping by.