What Does the Bible Say about Unforgivines

Written By DEXTER

Dexter is a pastor who enjoys reading and studying the Bible to inspire and empower others.

Does the Bible speak to the topic of forgiveness and unforgiveness? The answer is a resounding yes. The Bible stresses the importance of forgiveness, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. Unforgiveness can lead to bitterness, anger, and all manner of damaging emotions and attitudes. The gospel teaches us that we must forgive others as God has forgiven us.

In Matthew Chapter Six, Jesus teaches his followers how to pray, and this prayer includes an imperative: “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Jesus is emphasizing the importance of forgiveness in one’s personal relationship with the Creator. By forgiving others, we imitate the character of God.

In Ephesians 4:31-32, Paul tells us that “all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking” must be put away and “let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you.” The Apostle John also taught similar lessons, proclaiming that “if anybody says, ‘I love God’, and hates his brother, he is a liar.” Unforgiveness and hate are antithetical to loving God and loving others.

Jesus taught that God’s kingdom cannot function at its best if its citizens harbor bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness. And Jesus took it one step further, when he taught that real forgiveness does not require an apology or explanation from the one who did the wrong. In the parable of the unmerciful servant, Jesus taught that we must freely forgive those who have wronged us without expecting an apology. We must forgive as God forgives us.

Unforgiveness also destroys relationships. Paul warned the Ephesian church about the effects of unforgiveness, saying, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” Unforgiveness will poison any relationship, and it destroys even the best of relationships.

The Bible speaks clearly about the need to forgive, and it is not optional. It is a command of God that must be obeyed if we are to fulfill our moral responsibility to love and forgive one another. Unforgiveness may seem like a sign of strength, but it is actually weak and destructive. Those who choose to forgive, on the other hand, are demonstrating a higher form of strength, and they will reap the rewards both in this life and in the life to come.

Fruits of Unforgiveness

Unforgiving people carry a heavy burden that weighs on them and affects their daily lives. They struggle to feel good about themselves, to trust their instincts, and to move on with their lives. Unforgiveness can lead to resentment, anger, bitterness, anxiety, depression, fatigue, physical ailments, and can make us feel emotionally drained. It can also cause us to be isolated and withdrawn from family and friends. The longer we wait to forgive, the harder it will be to let go of negative feelings and to move on with our lives.

Hurtful Effects on Others

Unforgiveness can also hurt the ones we love. If our lack of forgiveness causes us to be negative and critical toward our family and friends, it can drive them away and cause them to feel unworthy and unloved. Conversely, forgiving someone can help build healthier relationships. When we forgive, it does not mean that we ignore the wrong done to us, but that we choose to let go of the hurt and move on.

Choosing Forgiveness

The Bible teaches us that although revenge and retaliation may seem to be easy solutions, they are not the right ones. Instead, the gospel teaches us to forgive as God has forgiven us. We have all done wrong and we have all been forgiven. Therefore, it is only fair that we extend that same forgiveness to others. As our Savior taught us, to forgive is divine.

God’s Grace and Mercy

We are not expected to forgive out of our own strength. We are invited to seek God’s grace and mercy. The power of God’s grace is greater than our own, and it is this power that enables us to forgive. Jesus taught us to pray, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” That is a prayer for God’s help in forgiving, and it is a prayer that will bring comfort and strength when we struggle with unforgiveness.