Prayer For Grace To Forgiven As Christ Forgave
A Call to Forgive
Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 51
(could be used for a Lord’s Supper service or preparatory)
Forgive is a big word. It’s huge, even gigantic. Just seven letters but it’s something that takes years to learn how to do well. And more than learning how to do it, it takes grace from God.
You see a lot of ugliness in life from an unwillingness to forgive. Many people can tell us stories of family feuds. Often money is at the center. We hear of problems starting between family members who fight over the estate money after parents die.
Or family members in business together get jealous of one another, start fighting over money or control and before long they are no longer talking. It may even come to lawsuits against one another. A lack of trust and inability to forgive does huge damage.
When we can’t or won’t forgive each other relationships are destroyed more and more as time passes.
Husbands and wives who won’t forgive, find the marriage drifting apart more and more. They might live under the same roof but there is no love. There’s hardly communication. And when they do communicate, it’s usually more fuel on the fire.There’s no good will between them. No willingness to give their spouse the benefit of the doubt. Words and actions are misunderstood and the meaning twisted.
In most cases, the marriage eventually ends because none of us can live under such intense pressure for a long time.
People who won’t forgive wrongs done in the workplace grow increasingly bitter. They resent the employee or employer who wronged them. And that grows into bitterness that clouds our vision so we can’t be objective anymore. We see nothing but negative things in our workplace and eventually we either quit or get fired because our attitude is so toxic and our work quality suffers.
Is it any wonder that God tells his people to forgive one another. He loves us too much to want us to go down the destructive road of unforgiveness. That’s why he gives us a call to forgive.
It Takes Hard Work
The call to forgive is a call to hard work. If you think that’s the approach for wimps who can’t stand up for themselves or something that, you’re not alone. But you’re also not right. Dr. Tom Wright says,
Have you ever seriously tried to forgive someone who has wronged you? Have you ever seriously tried to be compassionate and patient? Have you ever tried to let Christ’s peace, Christ’s word, Christ’s name be the reality around which you order your life? If you have, you’ll know it’s not easy. It takes serious prayer and real moral effort. (Paul for Everyone: Prison Letters, pg 181)
That’s true, isn’t it? It’s not easy to forgive someone who has wronged you. For simple wrongs, it might mean accepting someone’s apology and then moving on. But even that is not easy for us. We start to second guess people’s motives. We wonder if they are really sincere.
The next time we interact with them, they don’t seem any different and certainly not any better. Our minds quickly think, “If she was really sorry when I forgave her last week, she would not have acted similarly today. She would have tried harder to keep her words in check.” The list goes on.
We can quickly second-guess the sincerity of others, which then gives us a sense of moral superiority. And that’s just over small disputes we have.
It becomes all the harder when people hurt us deeply. We have sayings “Once bitten, twice shy”—meaning we won’t give people a second chance very quickly if they hurt us once.
We may give a different person a first chance but the person who hurt you will not easily get close to you again. We say, “Fool me once, shame on you.Fool me twice, shame on me”—meaning we are fools if we give someone a second chance.
All of this flies in the face of what Jesus teaches us in the Lord’s Prayer and what Paul says in Colossians 3.
Our Lord says we should pray, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” John Calvin writes,
In Matthew, sins are called debts, because they expose us to condemnation at the tribunal of God, and make us debtors; nay more, they alienate us entirely from God, so that there is no hope of obtaining peace and favour except by pardon…. And certainly, if the Spirit of God reigns in our hearts, every description of ill-will and revenge ought to be banished. (Calvin, Harmony of Gospels, 327)
Still it is hard for us to let go of the sin that others commit against us. But it’s wrong to read “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” as if that line speaks about a prerequisite to forgiveness or a condition that we must meet before we can be forgiven by God.
You see, some people try to say that Jesus means we will only be forgiven to the degree that we forgive others. If that’s the case, we might as well all prepare ourselves for eternity in a hot place. We can’t measure up to that standard. No one can.
Besides, we know from the Bible that salvation is by grace through faith not through our own achievements, forgiving others. Jesus is not saying we have to prove ourselves worthy of forgiveness by forgiving others.
Instead, this is what we read in Lord’s Day 51. Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors means,Forgive us just as we are fully determined,
as evidence of your grace in us,
to forgive our neighbors.
The words “fully determined” speak to our human will. If we’re serious about forgiving people who hurt us, it’ll take determination. And the bigger the offense against us, the harder it will be to forgive someone.
It’s tough work. And that’s especially true when everyone around you is saying, “Don’t do it.” Or “You’re a fool to forgive that jerk!” Remember why Jesus says this to us. As Tom Wright put it,
Remind yourself that to be tenderhearted doesn’t mean being sentimental. That being kind doesn’t mean being a soft touch. That humility isn’t the same thing as low self-esteem.
That meekness is not weakness, but is what you get when a powerful wild horse has been tamed (all the same power, but now under control). That large-heartedness doesn’t mean letting everyone do what they want with you.
Don’t let people scoff at the central virtues that make the Christian life what it’s supposed to be. Why do you think people do that? Are they, perhaps, threatened by such a dazzling and demanding way of life? (182)
Yes, friends, Jesus wants our lives to reflect his love—and to dazzle! In teaching us the Lord’s Prayer he’s teaching us to let our lives glorify God—to make him look good in the world around us. That means striving to forgive others as freely and graciously as God in Christ has forgiven us. And that takes discipline and determination.
It Takes Grace
But more than human effort, it takes divine help. It takes God’s grace. And the best way for me to help you see that, I think, is through a few examples.
You may have heard the well-known story about Corrie Ten Boom.
“Arrested by the Nazis along with the rest of her family for hiding Jews in their Haarlem home during the Holocaust, she was imprisoned and eventually sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp along with her beloved sister, Betsie, who perished there just days before Corrie's own release on December 31, 1944. Inspired by Betsie's example of selfless love and forgiveness amid extreme cruelty and persecution, Corrie established a post-war home for other camp survivors trying to recover from the horrors they had escaped. She went on to travel widely as a missionary, preaching God's forgiveness and the need for reconciliation. Corrie's devout moral principles were tested when she came face to face with one of her former tormentors in 1947. (//www.pbs.org/wgbh/questionofgod/voices/boom.html)
After a speech she gave in a church in Germany, a
man came to her and said, “You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk; I was a guard in there. But since that time I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would to hear it from your lips as well. Fraulein,…” his hand came out, … “will you forgive me?”
And Corrie writes, “I stood there — I whose sins had every day to be forgiven — and could not.Betsie had died in that place — could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking? It could not have been many seconds that he stood there, hand held out, but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do…. And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart.
But forgiveness is not an emotion — I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. “Jesus, help me!” I prayed silently. “I can lift my hand, I can do that much. You supply the feeling.”
And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.
“I forgive you, brother!” I cried. “With all my heart!”
For a long moment we grasped each other's hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God's love so intensely as I did then.”
That, congregation, is grace. We cannot do such things without God’s help. We can be thankful for our salvation which comes by grace alone. And still we need God’s grace daily to live our life his way. And we need to pray for that, as Corrie did. Just as Christ, by grace, forgave us, so we with his grace can forgive others.
Austin and Jessica Crowley know about the need for grace in order to save their marriage. Listen and watch the testimony they give for their home church as they share their journey of brokenness, sin, rebellion, fumbling along and then grace and forgiveness.
Watch video: //sovereignhopechurch.com/stories-of-grace-the-crowleys
There we have it again. More grace. Apart from God’s grace to fix their marriage, forgiveness would not have been possible. Both Jessica and Austin had issues going into the marriage.
And those issues only became bigger once the pressure grew in their lives. Both had wrong thinking and wrong actions.It’s only when they got to the point of crying out to God, “I can’t do this” that they found grace from Jesus.
Austin put it so beautifully when he talked about looking at the cross. He said, “Now I see Jesus on that cross and my sin putting him there… which was really hard to see that but it’s amazing that I got to see it… that God showed me.
” We need to look at the cross each day, especially when we feel wronged by someone. We can forgive others because Christ has forgiven us so much more.
But we need to look to Jesus for grace to do that because we can’t do it in and of ourselves.
Forgiveness is hard work. And while we need to seek it and give it, we need God’s grace to humble us to the point that we realize we are nothing without Jesus and we’ll fail without his help.
As the Crowley’s reminded us, we get so lost in ourselves and we’re so helpless in ourselves. We hold on to anger and resentment. We allow brokenness to get worse and worse. Only Jesus can forgive us.
And only he can give us the grace we need to forgive as we have been forgiven.
Prayer of Response
Gracious God in heaven, all we can say is “thank you!” We thank you for your amazing grace, your amazing love, your persistent work in drawing us to yourself despite our rebellious hearts.
We pray that you will keep us humble and totally in love with you because of your love shown first of all to us.
Forgive our stubbornness and pride and help us to forgive as we have been forgiven by you! We ask this in Jesus’ precious and powerful name. Amen.
TURNING OUR HEARTS TO GOD
Welcome & Announcements * We Greet One Another
* Gathering Song: As It is in Heaven or PsH #562:1,6,8 Our Father, Clothed in Majesty
* Opening Prayer * Call to Worship: Exodus 15:2 * Prayer for God’s Greeting, “May God’s grace, mercy and peace be ours in the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.”
* Songs: Revelation Song or PsH #475 Praise My Soul, the King of Heaven
Faithful One or PsH #556 Great is Thy Faithfulness
LISTENING TO THE WORD OF GOD
Prayer for the Word in song: Breathe or PsH #424 Spirit of the Living God Children’s Message Scripture: Colossians 3:12-17 Catechism: Lord’s Day 51
Sermon: A Call to Forgive
Insert Video: Grace for the Crowleys
CELEBRATING GOD’S GRACE
(Lord’s Supper Preparatory, PsH, pg 976) Prayer of Confession Assurance of Pardon God’s Will for Our Lives: Our World Belongs to God, par 39-40, PsH pg 1031
* Song:You Are My King (Amazing Love) or PsH #267 And Can It Be
PRESENTING OUR PRAYERS AND GIFTS
Congregational Prayer Tithes & Offerings
* Song: Knowing You or PsH #95 Now with Joyful Exultation
LEAVING TO SERVE THE LORD
* Prayer for God’s Parting Blessing, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.”
* Song: Let Us Adore or PsH #284 Father, I Adore You
7 Prayers For Forgiveness and Repentance
Forgiveness and repentance go hand-in-hand in a Christian’s life. We must learn to always forgive others and to ask for forgiveness ourselves. Without repentance, we are liable of judgment from God.
If we withhold forgiveness to others, forgiveness will also be withheld from us. Here are 7 prayers focusing on forgiveness and repentance.
May we all strive to live as holy as possible by allowing the Spirit to convict us of our sins and to forgive others that sin against us.
There are no words to express how filthy I feel every time I break Your heart. The guilt and the shame are overwhelming! Lord, I need Your touch right now. I am so sick of being “born again” and still doing the things I hate doing. Paul, I am conflicted.
“For I do not do what I want, but do the very thing that I hate.” (Romans 7:15) I am so sorry! Father, I ask for Your forgiveness right now. I am shocked that my life has come to a point where even some sins don’t affect me at all.
Father, I have some hard layers on my heart that need peeling. Please give me a 100% heart of flesh. The hardness is a barrier between us that I can’t stand! I love You and I am so regrettably sorry for my selfish actions. Thank You for Your forgiveness, Lord.
Without forgiveness I am nothing. With Your forgiveness I am whole again. I praise Your Name! Amen
Strength To Forgive Others
With Your forgiveness I am whole again. I praise Your Name! Amen
I can’t seem to shake the harm that’s been done to me off my shoulders. I am wallowing in the anger I feel. Lord, I shouldn’t think the vengeful thoughts that I have. You have called me to forgive every single person that wrongs me. I need Your strength to overcome these trespasses against me. Father, I want to forgive these people.
Please cast the devil’s evil ways from me. I want to look at these people and see lost souls that need You. I want to forgive them completely so that You can use me however You wish, to be Jesus to them. Father, I am done with holding these grudges! Forgive me for holding on to them. I cast this burden at Your throne now. Do with me as you please Father.
I love You and thank you for Your patience with me. Amen
Why do You forgive us? We shout praises to You when we sing worship. With the same tongue we curse other people that are made in Your image. (James 3:9 reference) Why do You forgive us? We say we love You and still keep sinning.
Why do You forgive us? We spend time in prayer thanking You for your blessings and then we refuse to bless others. Why do You forgive us? We read our Bibles when we make time for it, but we also read other nonsense that is offensive to You.Why do You forgive us? We praise Jesus for His death on the cross for the atonement of our sins and then we nail Him to it again every time we trespass against You. Why do You forgive us every single time? I am so thankful for your endless supply of forgiveness! I can’t fathom how You do it, for I am only one man.
You do this for every single person! The compassion and grace and mercy that flow from You is absolutely amazing and I love You for it! Thank you so much for forgiving me every time I sin! You are worthy to be praised! Amen
Repentance From Unbelievers
Father in heaven,
My heart grieves for those close to me that do not want to know You. They are lost souls wandering wherever the devil takes them. They are fulfilling their own desires of the flesh instead of yearning for the life that You give.
Father, use me or anyone that You please to show Christ- love to them. Father, I love these men and women and to think of them in eternal torment is tormenting me! I pray that the seeds that are planted in them Lord will be grown by You.
You make miracles happen every day and I pray that You make one today in the lives of the lost. I praise Your Holy Name! Amen
Forgiveness For Children
Just as Job continually offered burnt offerings to you for the forgiveness of his children, (Job 1:5) I am praying for the forgiveness of mine. Lord, only You know what they have done. If they have sinned against You I pray that You would forgive them.
I pray that they would seek repentance to make things right with You. Lord, if there is any sin that needs to be forgiven, I pray that You would soften their hearts and bring them safely into Your arms of grace and mercy.
I thank you for Your unlimited love for us! Amen
You are all-powerful! Even Your thoughts produce action. I pray for our leaders in the government. Lord, they also have power, though it is limited. I pray that they would use their positions wisely, for You are the One who has allowed them to lead us. We need strong men and women of faith in these kinds of roles.
I pray that our men and women in authority will strive to live godly lives and to repent when necessary. As in Animal Farm, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” If there is any corruption, I pray that our leaders would repent and ask for forgiveness, so that our country doesn’t fall apart.
I thank you for our leaders and pray for their safety. I love you Father! Amen
I pray for pastors around the world. If there is any un-confessed sin active in their lives, I pray that You would bring them to the deepest valleys if that is what it takes to get them back on the narrow path. We need strong pastors leading our congregations.
I pray that You would use the people closest to their pastors to keep them accountable, Lord. Accountability is a must in every Christian’s life. I thank you for our pastors, Lord, for they have a huge role to play here on earth.
They have many big responsibilities and I am so grateful that they accept the challenges of pastoring. I love You, Lord! Amen
Forgiveness is absolutely necessary in a Christian’s walk with the Lord. “Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.” (Luke 11:4) God bless you as you live a life worthy of the calling!
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How to ask God for forgiveness
Prayer for forgiveness is needed for every believer. Anyone who has had to apologize for knowingly or inadvertently causing harm or pain knows the feeling of relief that comes with receiving forgiveness and a free conscience.
Thanks to the prayer for forgiveness of sin, you can not only remove the heavy burden from your soul, but also see the path that you must take so that life brings joy and is full of peace.
A prayer for forgiveness from God
Father God, I kneel before You knowing that I have sinned against You in so many different ways.. in what I have said and done as well as in the dirty thoughts that flood through my mind.
I know that I am a sinner and as such I was the cause of the Lord Jesus being crucified on the cruel cross to take the punishment that I justly deserve – to pay that price for MY sins.
Lord I know that I am unworthy to come before You, but I ask Your forgiveness of all my sins, for the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ – Who died for me at Calvary.
Wash me I pray in the purifying blood of Jesus. Cleanse me from all my sins.
Fill my heart with righteous thoughts and clean desires, for I no longer want to wallow in the cesspit of sin that has for so long separated me from You.
Thank You Lord that You have promised that all who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour will have their sins forgiven forever. Praise You Lord for Your grace and mercy on me -a sinner saved by grace, in Jesus name I pray,
Kid’s prayer for forgiveness
Dear Lord Jesus, I am sorry that I have been naughty and disobeyed my parents. I know I should listen to them but sometimes I don’t want to and then I get into trouble. I don’t want to disobey but sometimes I do and I know that it makes them mad – and then they are mad with me and I am mad back at them.
Dear Jesus, please forgive me for disobeying and help me to listen to my parents next time and to do what they tell me to do. Thank You that even when I am naughty You still love me.
Thank You Jesus for dying for me on the cross and thank You for taking the punishment for my sins when I am naughty. Thank You that You rose back to life again and went to heaven so that I can be forgiven and go to heaven too. Thank You that you never stop loving me even when I do disobey and help me to be good in the future. Thank You Jesus,
Father, the weight of my sins weigh heavily on my conscience and I know that there is no righteousness in me. I come to You pleading for Your great mercy, and repent of all the many sins that I have committed against You so grievously.
Lord I confess that in my pride and arrogance I even joked about Your existence and blasphemed You in word and deed and yet I discover that You sent Your only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to be the only acceptable sacrifice to pay the price for my sins.
READ ALSO: Biblical benefits of soul winning for your inspiration
Lord I kneel before You broken in heart for the wrong that I have done against You and beg for Your grace and mercy on a pitiful sinner, who has come to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord – and that He is my Saviour and Redeemer. Wash away all my sins I pray and cleanse both my mouth and my thoughts from the filth that has poured forth from my blackened heart.Lord I come in humility of heart and brokenness of spirit and pray and thank You that in Your mercy You sent Jesus to be the price for my sins. Thank You for Your promise that all who believe in Him will not perish but have their sins forgiven and receive the free gift of eternal life.
Thank You that I have been saved by Your grace – simply by trusting in the blood of Christ, in Whose name I pray,
Prayer to forgive other people
Father, there are certain things that have recently happened to me that have been so painful that I am finding it quite difficult to forgive others – and yet I know that this is Your will for each one of Your children – knowing that forgiving others in our hearts has a beautiful secondary function, of opening up our hearts and lives to Your warming love and perfect peace.
Lord I want to forgive others, but there seems to be a sort of blockage that is causing me to hold fast to my anger and hurt. Please Father God, in Your goodness and grace, would You please help me to forgive fully, freely and forever so that I may be released from this sharp pain of unforgiveness, which seems to be holding my heart in an icy, iron grip.
Lord You have promised in Your word that Your grace is sufficient for every trial and each difficulty in life – and I trust that this means that Your grace is sufficient to bring me to that point of genuine and gracious forgiveness.
And so I cast this unforgiveness at Your feet and pray that You would forgive ME for holding onto my unforgiving heart for so long – knowing that in Christ Jesus You have forgiven me so much.
Thank You Lord for dying on the cross for me and for forgiving all my sins – thank You that Your grace is sufficient for me – in Jesus name I pray,
Your death, O Lord, we commemorate, and your resurrection we confess, and your second coming we look for; and we ask of you mercy and compassion and we implore the forgiveness of sins. Your mercies be upon us all.
Prayers for the remission of sins can rightfully be called miraculous and healing. In the process of turning to God, we completely abstract from life's fuss and all we want is the generosity of our Father, his forgiveness for our actions, thoughts and intentions, which are caused by the weakness of the spirit and inability to resist the temptations of life.
READ ALSO: Benefits of the holy spirit in a believer
4 Prayers for Forgiveness – For Self and Others
Whether we are seeking forgiveness for our own sins or asking God to help us forgive others, prayer is the first place to start when seeking restoration and healing. The below prayers can help guide your thoughts and words as you seek being forgiven or help in forgiving others. It is a big step to seek out forgiveness and you have taken a bold step in faith!
Before we jump into specific prayers for forgiveness, you may want to take some time to consider what God commands of us concerning forgiveness and why it's so critical to be able to forgive. Visit our article: What Does the Bible Say About Forgiveness?
Prayer to God for Forgiveness of Sins
Even while I encourage you to pray this prayer, I caution you that saying words alone will not save you. Prayer doesn’t save. Only Christ can save. But prayer can be a means of reaching out to the Lord in true saving faith. If you pray these words in faith, Christ will save you. You can be sure of that.
Lord Jesus, for too long I’ve kept you my life. I know that I am a sinner and that I cannot save myself. No longer will I close the door when I hear you knocking. By faith I gratefully receive your gift of salvation. I am ready to trust you as my Lord and Savior.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for coming to earth. I believe you are the Son of God who died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead on the third day. Thank you for bearing my sins and giving me the gift of eternal life. I believe your words are true.Come into my heart, Lord Jesus, and be my Savior. Amen.
If you have prayed this prayer in sincere faith, you may want to put your initials by the prayer along with today’s date as a reminder that you have come to Christ in faith, trusting him as your Lord and Savior.
– Dr Ray Pritchard
Prayer for Forgiving Others
Dear Merciful Lord,
Thank you for your gift of forgiveness. Your only Son loved me enough to come to earth and experience the worst pain imaginable so I could be forgiven.
Your mercy flows to me in spite of my faults and failures. Your Word says to “clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” (Col.
3:14) Help me demonstrate unconditional love today, even to those who hurt me.
I understand that even though I feel scarred, my emotions don’t have to control my actions. Father, may Your sweet words saturate my mind and direct my thoughts.
Help me release the hurt and begin to love as Jesus loves. I want to see my offender through my Savior’s eyes. If I can be forgiven, so can he. I understand there are no levels to your love.
We are all your children, and your desire is that none of us should perish.
You teach us to “let the peace that comes from Christ rule in our hearts.” (Col. 3:15) When I forgive in words, allow your Holy Spirit to fill my heart with peace. I pray this peace that only comes from Jesus will rule in my heart, keeping out doubt and questions. And above all, I am thankful.
Not just today, not just this week, but always. Thank you for the reminder, “Always be thankful.” (Col. 3:15) With gratitude I can draw closer to you and let go of unforgiveness. With gratitude I can see the person who caused my pain as a child of the Most High God. Loved and accepted.
Help me find the compassion that comes with true forgiveness.
And when I see the person who hurt me, bring this prayer back to my remembrance, so I can take any ungodly thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5) And may the confidence of Christ in my heart guide me into the freedom of forgiveness. I praise you for the work you are doing in my life, teaching and perfecting my faith. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
– Kristine Brown
Short Prayer to Forgive Others
Dear Lord, I thank You for the power of forgiveness, and I choose to forgive everyone who has hurt me. Help me set [name anyone who has offended you] free and release them to You [Romans 12:19].
Help me bless those who have hurt me [Romans 12:14]. Help me walk in righteousness, peace, and joy, demonstrating Your life here on earth. I choose to be kind and compassionate, forgiving others, just as You forgave me [Ephesians 4:32].
In Jesus’ name, amen.
– Debbie Przybylski
Short Prayer to Forgive Yourself
Father, today I ask forgiveness of all the negative and harmful words I have spoken about myself. I do not want to abuse myself in such a way again. Transform my thoughts and let me understand how marvelously you made me. Change my habits so I use my tongue to speak hope and favor upon my life. In Jesus' name.
– Sarah Coleman
Matthew West – Forgiveness (Official Lyric Video) from matthew-west on GodTube.
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.
1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.Isaiah 1:18 – “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be wool.
Micah 7:18-19 – Who is a God you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
Mark 11:25 – And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Colossians 3:13 – Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Ephesians 4:31-32 – Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Luke 17:3-4 – So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”
Read more Bible Verses on Forgiveness at BibleStudyTools.com
If you've been set free from sin and the hurt from others, comment below so that others can live in freedom through forgiveness too! Be a light to our online community and recieve encouragement for your own walk of faith.
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.
Prayer for Healing
Prayer for Strength
Prayer for Protection
Good Night Prayers
A Birthday Prayer
Prayer for Forgiveness
Prayer for Guidance
Prayer for Peace
Prayer for Faith
Prayer for Love
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Verses of Hope for Struggling with Forgiveness
Are you struggling to forgive someone who hurt you? Or are you struggling to forgive yourself? Maybe you are curious about God’s forgiveness…wondering if he could forgive you for something you regret.
The good news is forgiveness on all these levels is possible! Both receiving forgiveness and forgiving others is one of the most important things you will ever do. The Bible is full of verses to help us understand how completely God forgives those who confess and believe in his son Jesus. There are also many wonderful scriptures about forgiving others.
Do not live with the burden of unforgiveness any longer. Find freedom through God’s word:
God Forgives Us
1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Psalm 103:10-14 – He has not punished us as we deserve for all our sins, for his mercy toward those who fear and honor him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west. He is a father to us, tender and sympathetic to those who reverence him. For he knows we are but dust.
Hebrews 8:12 – For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.
Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
1 Timothy 1:15-16 – Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
Luke 23:34 – As he hung on the cross – “And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
We Should Forgive Others as God Forgives Us
Ephesians 4:31-32 – Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Mark 11:25 – And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
Colossians 3:13 – 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.
Matthew 6:12 – From the Lord’s Prayer – “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
Teachings on Forgiveness
Romans 12:18-21 – If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave I to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.
To the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Matthew 5:39-41 – But I tell you not to resist an evil person. If someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also; if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well, and if someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two.
Proverbs 17:9 – Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.
Luke 6:35-36 -But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Proverbs 10:12 – Hatred stirs old quarrels, but love overlooks insults.
God will Help.
John 14:26-27 – But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
1 Peter 5:7 – Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.
Philippians 4:13 – For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
2 Corinthians 12:9 – Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take
Do you want to know what God says about other topics you may be facing? Check out our Verses of Hope Library
Forgive Just as God in Christ Also Has Forgiven You
And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
Last week I talked about what forgiveness is—what it looks and what it's not. I quoted Thomas Watson's definition whichincluded
- resisting revenge,
- not returning evil for evil,
- wishing them well,
- grieving at their calamities,
- praying for their welfare,
- seeking reconciliation so far as it depends on you,
- and coming to their aid in distress.
How Do We Truly Forgive? Gospel-Flying
This week I'm asking, how can we do that? What gives us thefreedom and the ability and the incentive and the power to forgivethose who sin against us? Some of you have been wronged so deeplyand hurt so badly that forgiving would be as great a miracle asflying.
But recall the little poem of John Bunyan:
Run, John, run, the law commands But gives us neither feet nor hands, Far better news the gospel brings:
It bids us fly and gives us wings.
Two wings, six feathers.
And that includes the “flying” of forgiveness. So I want God toshow us our gospel wings this morning. Forgiving is a flying youcan do in the power of the gospel. In fact six feathers are enoughfor this flight—three on one side and three on the other maketwo strong wings for gospel-flying—or gospel forgiving.
Two Wings, Six Feathers
I find all six feathers in these three verses (Ephesians 4:32–5:2),
And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
There are two wings in this text for gospel-flying—just a bird has two wings. Each wing has three feathers. All sixfeathers are things God the Father and God the Son have done for uswithout our help.
They are all works of his sovereign grace. I amtalking to Christian believers now. If you are not one yet, I hopeyou will listen and be drawn in.What I am describing here aboutgospel-flying (forgiving) is yours freely if you will lay down theweights of unbelief and trust Christ.
There are two wings. One wing with its three feathers is whatChrist did for us before we even existed. And the other wing withits three feathers is what God did for us in our own lifetime.
Soif you are drawing the sermon today, you need to draw a bird withtwo big wings each having three feathers, and then write on eachfeather one of the things God has done so that we can fly withforgiveness to each other.
Wing #1: What God Did for Us Before We Existed
The first feather in this wing is this:
1. God Loved Us with a Special Saving Love
Ephesians 5:1, “Be imitators of God, as beloved children.” Andverse 2: “Walk in love, just as Christ also loved you.”
The first feather in the wing of gospel-flying—gospelforgiving—is the unspeakable reality of being loved by God.
But to feel the force of this, you need to know that this is notmerely the general love that God has for all the world—thelove that gives life and breath and food and rain and protectionand family and job and many evidences of his truth and power andgreatness. It is an amazing thing to be loved that, and shouldcause us to turn to him in gratitude.
But if that is all you know of the love of God, your gospel wingswill be weak. This text speaks of love a Father has for achild and love that moves Christ to take our place in death.
Nowthat is something more than the general love of God for the world.That is a saving love—a love that goes beyond the offer ofthe gospel and actually undertakes to save us effectively,infallibly.
It does what needs to be done to get us forgiven andsaved.
Here is the evidence for this: in Ephesians 1:4–5 Paul says thatthis love of God chose us for adoption as children of God.[God] chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 he predestined us to adoption as sons.
So God has loved you with a love that is precious beyond wordsbecause it is a love that he gave you before you were born and thatmoved him to predestine you to be a child of God in holiness.So the first feather in the wing of gospel forgiving is thefeather of God's special saving love—call it covenant love.It is not mere general love. It is love that fixed personally,particularly on you as an individual and chose you and pursued youand brought you to himself, because he means to have you. If youget gripped by being loved that, you might only need onefeather to fly.
The second feather is
2. Christ Gave Himself for Us as a Sacrifice
Ephesians 5:2b, “[Christ] gave Himself up for us, an offeringand a sacrifice to God.”
According to Ephesians 2:3 we were all by nature children ofwrath. We all deserve to perish and be punished in hell for thesins of our thoughts and imaginations and attitudes and tongues andhands and whole bodies.
But the covenant love of God for us movedhim not only to choose us but to give his Son as a sacrifice in ourplace: “Christ gave himself up for us”—that is, in our place,so that we don't have to perish.
“He became a curse for us”(Galatians 3:13).
To feel the full force of this and to make the feather reallystrong for flying, we need to realize again that this is not merelya general thing Christ did the same for everybody.
Ephesians 5:25says, “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church andgave himself up for her.
” In other words Christ's giving himself upto die as a substitute for the church is part of a covenant lovethat he has for his bride.
In love he chose you to be his bride and in love he lays downhis life for you. You, individually, particularly, were in view asthe goal of his loving and his dying.
Chuck Colson told the story (at the 1994 Ligonier Conference inDallas, Texas) of a prison camp where 20 men came in from diggingand lined their shovels up on the wall as they always did for thecounting. When they were counted, the officer found only 19.Hedemanded that the one who didn't bring his shovel step forward.None did. Then he threatened that if no one stepped forward, hewould choose ten men at random and shoot them.
A young man of about19 stepped forward and was immediately taken a few paces away andshot as an example to the others.
But then as they were dismissing, the shovels were counted againand there were 20 after all. The officer had miscounted.
The difference between what that boy did for his friends andwhat Jesus did for you is that Jesus knew which ten men he wasdying for and he knew that we were all unworthy. But he did itanyway, because he had a very special covenant love for you that isfar above human love.
The first feather is that you have been loved with a specialsaving love. And the second feather is that Christ gave himself asa sacrifice to take your place so that you will never perish.
The third feather for gospel-flying (forgiving) is
3. God Was Satisfied with Christ's Sacrifice
Ephesians 5:2b, “[Christ] gave Himself up for us, an offeringand a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”
When Paul calls the death of Jesus for us a “fragrant aroma” toGod he means that God was satisfied with what Christ did. He did notlook down and say, “You can't do that. You can't die for others.Every person has to bear their own guilt.
Don't be so foolish tothink you can take the curse and condemnation of another.
” On thecontrary, the Father looked down and (with tears in his eyes, Ithink) took tremendous pleasure in the honor that the Son gave tothe Father in obeying his commission—the Father had sent him(John 3:16).So Christ did not die in vain. God received his offering. Itsatisfied the Father's justice. It removed God's wrath andjudgment.
Be ye glad, O be ye glad! Every debt that you ever had, Has been paid up in full by the blood of the Lamb,
Be ye glad, be ye glad, be ye glad.
Words and Music by Michael Kelly Blanchard 1980 Paragon Music Corp. (ASCAP)/Gotz Music (ASCAP) ICS. ARR. UBP.
Of The Benson Company, Inc., Nashville, TN.
God was satisfied with the blood of Christ. That's the thirdfeather in the first wing of gospel-flying and forgiveness.
That's the wing of God's work before you were born:
- God loved you with special saving love;
- Christ gave himself for you as a sacrifice; and
- God was satisfied with Christ's sacrifice. Your debt is paid.
Wing #2: What God Did for Us During Our Lifetime
The other wing for gospel-flying has three feathers in italso.
1. God Put Us in a Saving Relationship with Christ
God put you into a saving relationship with Christ, so thatyou are united to Christ a vine is united to the branch.
Ephesians 4:32b, “Forgive each other, just as God in Christ alsohas forgiven you.”
We are “in Christ.” That means we are in a relationship withChrist—we are united to Christ—ina way that makes usacceptable to God because he is acceptable to God. How did we getinto this relationship? 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, “By [God's] doingyou are in Christ Jesus.” God awakened faith in our hearts and putus into a saving relationship with Jesus (cf. Ephesians 2:10, 13; Romans16:17).
If he hadn't done that, all his other work (loving us, givinghis Son to die for us, being satisfied with the Son's sacrifice)would have been in vain. But he did it. He is doing it all. Hislove will not be frustrated in pursuing you for himself. Hispersonal, individual, particular love is moving him all the way.Nothing will stop him from saving you.
So the first feather in wing #2 for gospel-flying is God'sputting you into a relationship with Christ a vine in abranch.
2. God Adopted Us and Made Us Rightful Children
The second feather for gospel-forgiving is that God adoptedyou into his family and made you a rightful child of God.
Ephesians 5:1, “Therefore be imitators of God, as belovedchildren.”
In other words realize that when God united you to Christ, youbecame with Christ a child of God. And heir. This is what God hadbeen aiming at all along. Ephesians 1:5 says that “God predestinedus unto adoption.”
Some parents have children accidentally. And if they are crueland heartless parents, they might even tell their children theydidn't want them. But God has no unwanted children. They are allplanned—from eternity, with great expectation and joy. Theyare all pursued. Christ's death is an unspeakably high paymentthrough heaven's Micah Fund.1The second wing of gospel-flying in wing #2 is the truth thatyou are loved not just in some random, general, impersonal way, butas a child of God that he sought out and adopted at great cost.
3. God Forgave Us for Our Sins
Finally the third feather in wing #2 for gospel-flying(forgiving) is that God forgave you for your sins.
Ephesians 4:32, “And be kind to one another, tender-hearted,forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgivenyou.”
Before you were born (wing #1):
- God has loved you with a special, personal, saving love from all eternity.
- His Son gave his life for you to take the place of your judgment.
- God was satisfied by the substitute and sacrifice of the Son. The debt was paid.
Then after you were born (wing #2):
- God brought you to faith and put you in a saving relationship with Christ.
- God adopted you into his family as a child of his own.
- And God forgave all your sins and there is no condemnation.
These are the wings John Bunyan had in mind:
Run, John, run, the law commands But gives us neither feet nor hands, Far better news the gospel brings:
It bids us fly and gives us wings.
It bids us forgive—and give us gospel wings. If youbelieve in your heart that God has done all of this for you and inyou, you will fly. You will forgive.
Charles Spurgeon tells how his heart was set on wing by thepardon of God:
My life was full of sorrow and wretchedness, believing that I was lost.
But, oh, the blessed gospel of the God of grace came to me, and with it a sovereign word, “Deliver him!” And I who was but a minute before as wretched as a soul could be, could have danced for the very merriment of heart.
And as the snow fell on my road home from the little house of prayer, I thought every snowflake talked with me and told of the pardon I had found, for I was white as the driven snow through the grace of God.2
But years later he added this:
To be forgiven is such sweetness that honey is tasteless in comparison with it. But yet there is one thing sweeter still, and that is to forgive. As it is more blessed to give than to receive, so to forgive rises a stage higher in experience than to be forgiven.3
It rises higher because it is gospel-flying. Spread your wingswith me in these days at Bethlehem and let's fly together.
1 The Micah Fund is an adoption ministry at Bethlehemthat helps covers the cost of adopting minority infants who mightotherwise have been sacrificed in abortion.
2 Volume 15, p. 156, Metropolitan TabernaclePulpit.
3 Volume 31, pp. 287f., Metropolitan TabernaclePulpit.