This topic becomes ever more important now as all around us we see much pain and suffering resulted directly from a lack of forgiveness. Most conflicts and violence - whether international, domestic or personal can be traced directly to one party's unwillingness to forgive the other.
What Is Forgiveness?
Forgiveness is the seal, the mark, and the proof of love and a healing act of love. By forgiving, we put a painful past behind us and open ourselves up to new relationships with God, other people and ourselves.
Why We Need to Forgive Others?
1. Release From Our Emotional Bondage
Some of us may have been betrayed or suffered immensely at the hands of others or horribly mistreated due to our religious beliefs or races. By forgiving others, we can release ourselves from the emotional prison we are in now and receive our own forgiveness and blessings from God.
2. For our Personal Salvation
Matthew 5:43-45 - You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
3. For God to Forgive Our Sins
Matthew 6:14-15 - For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
4. For Our Glory
Proverbs 19:11 - A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.
How Should We Forgive Others?
1. Forgive Them In Our Prayers
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
Mark 11:25 NIV
2. Love Our Enemies
You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:43-45 NIV
3. Bless Our Enemies
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:9 NIV
Matthew 5:23-24 - Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
5. Peace with Everyone
Romans 12:17-21 - Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: It is mine to avenge; I will repay, "says the Lord. On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
6. Do No Take Revenge
Matthew 5:38-42 - You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. 'But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.