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Foundations
Christian Beliefs, Teachings, Doctrines, Christian Living, Christian Ethics

Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them ...
is like a [wise] man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundations on a rock:
and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it:
for it was founded upon a rock
(Luke 6:47-48)

Let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
For other foundation can no man lay that is laid, which is Jesus Christ
(1 Corinthians 3:10b-11)

If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3)

Forgiveness
Quotes and Comments

Forgiveness: Articles, YouTubes, Books   |   Forgiveness: Some Scriptures

Foundations: Index
 

"Not always an easy thing to do - or ask for - forgiveness is nevertheless a fundamental part of a healthy Christian walk.
If the Lord Jesus was prepared to die such a cruel death to forgive us for the sin of rebelling against God the Father,
then surely it is not such a difficult thing for us to forgive those who have wronged us in much lesser ways"

[Elizabeth McDonald, November 1997]

"It is wrong to hold others in bondage, when we ourselves have been forgiven"
[Mary Van Nattan]

 

What is Forgiveness?


"Forgive: to grant free pardon for or remissions of (an offence, debt, etc); to absolve; to give up all claim in account of; to grant free pardon to (a person); to cease to feel resentment against"
[Women by Grace, source].


"It is interesting that the Hebrew word for 'forgive' means two things: to remit a debt and to pay it. It is the same word for both"
[Dick Tripp, Forgiveness. What It Is and Why It Matters, p.?].

 

Forgiveness is a Decision Not a Feeling


"If I forgive someone when I don't feel like doing so, won't I be a hypocrite?..."


"To think that way one must adopt an unbiblical, feeling-orientated view of hypocrisy ... All day long, in order to be responsible to God and others, I must do many things against my feelings. What does it mean when I pursue my responsibilities against my feelings? It simply means I am being responsible ... You can make a promise whether or not you feel like it, and you can keep it whether or not you feel like it"
[Jay E. Adams, From Forgiven to Forgiving, p.23].


"There is nothing in the Bible about 'feelings of forgiveness' or 'having forgiving feelings' toward another ... Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:32 to 'forgive one another just as God, for Christ's sake, has forgiven' us ... that means our forgiveness is to be modelled after God's ... Obviously when God forgives, He does not simply sit in the heavens and emote. So forgiveness isn't a feeling. If it were, we would never know that we have been forgiven. No, when God forgives, He goes on record. He says so. He declares 'I will not remember your sins' (Isaiah 43:25, see also Jeremiah 31:34). Isn't that wonderful? When He forgives, God lets us know that He will no longer hold our sins against us. If forgiveness were merely an emotional experience, we would not know that were forgiven. But praise God, we do, because forgiveness is a process at the end of which God declares that the matter of sin has been dealt with once and for all. Now, what is that declaration? ... God makes a promise. Forgiveness is not a feeling; forgiveness is a promise!"
[Jay E. Adams, From Forgiven to Forgiving, pp.11-12].


"Trusting the Lord's grace, commit yourself to obey Jesus' command to forgive. Your obedience must not depend on how you feel toward the offender but on Christ's example and command"
[Patrick H. Morrison, Forgive! As the Lord forgive Forgave You, p.9].

 

Forgiveness is a Promise


"When our God forgive us, He promises that He will not remember our sins against us anymore ... Obviously the omniscient God ... does not forget, but He can 'not remember'. Forgetting is passive ... 'Not remembering' is active; it is a promise whereby one person ... determines not to remember the sins of another against him. To 'not remember' is simply a graphic way of saying, 'I will not bring up these matters to you or others in the future. I will bury them and not exhume the bones to beat you over the head with them. I will never use these sins against you'."
[Jay E. Adams, From Forgiven to Forgiving, p.12].


"When you say, 'I forgive you' to another, you make a promise to him. It is a threefold promise. You promise not to remember his sin by not bringing it up to him, to others, or to yourself. The sin is buried. That promise is sometimes easier to make than to keep ... two things may help: First, remember how many times each day Jesus forgives you. Second, if you've really forgiven, it isn't the seventh time, it isn't the fifth. It isn't even the second. It is always the first"
[Jay E. Adams, From Forgiven to Forgiving, p.25].


"True forgiveness is a covenant act, a promise by which we relinquish all claims against the offender that resulted from his sin. The righteous forgiver 'keeps his oath even when it hurts' (Psalm 15:4)"
[Patrick H. Morrison, Forgive! As the Lord Forgave You, p.17].

 

Forgiveness is Not an Option; It is a Command


"Remember: forgiveness is an important condition to fellowship with the Heavenly Father. It is not an option. God commands it. Nor may we guess about how to forgive, whom to forgive, when to forgive, or how often to forgive. God has not left us without explicit information. The biblical data are not difficult to understand in spite of the fact that many seem to have found ways in which to misunderstand them. Mostly these erroneous ideas come from two sources: (1) psychology, which some attempt to integrate with biblical truth, thereby distorting the truth in favour of the psychology; (2) failure to study carefully the biblical teachings, substituting guesses and surmises instead"
[Jay E. Adams, From Forgiven to Forgiving, Preface].


"I can tell you from personal experience that the Lord will allow you to go 'round and 'round the rugged rocks, until you learn to let go of your resentment toward [...] (and anyone else towards whom you harbour resentment) and actually act out the forgiveness you have extended. It has to be said that Jesus made it quite clear in a number of places, that the Father's forgiveness is withheld unless we forgive those who have hurt us. God will not give us the power to feel forgiving, until we first actively choose to forgive, which means that once we have forgiven, we relinquish the right to hold the matter over the other's head again. We don't have to forget (that's not in Scripture), but we do have to forgive. It's non-negotiable"
[AH email discussion with [...], forwarded to me, 2012].

 

Why We Must Forgive Others


"Although we would all like our own sins forgiven, we often find it difficult to forgive others completely and genuinely, particularly when the offense has hurt us deeply or often. Yet Jesus teaches us to pray, 'Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors' (Matt 6:12). By calling sins 'debts', Jesus pictures the sinner's moral obligation to pay the consequences for any offence against God or another person. Forgiveness grants release from that obligation. Instead of demanding a penalty, the forgiver - God or man - assumes the loss by setting aside his due. He extends mercy instead of judgement"
[Patrick H. Morrison, Forgive! As the Lord Forgave You, pp.3-8].


"A wise man will make haste to forgive, because he knows the true value of time, and will not suffer it to pass away in unnecessary pain (Samuel Johnson)"
[Mary Van Nattan, Forgiven, source].


"It is wrong to hold others in bondage when we ourselves have been forgiven"
[Mary Van Nattan, Forgiven, source].


"I wish I had learned earlier about forgiveness, both giving it and receiving it and the freedom of spirit it can bring. You cannot have a happy old age without it. My daughter once wrote these words, 'When a situation has broken down in hurt and bitterness, and disagreement is so deep there seems no solution on earth - there remains forgiveness'."
[Edith Buxton, Reluctant Missionary, p.?].

 

Forgiveness Demonstrates Christ's Presence


Forgiveness
is the Indispensable Sign of a Christian


"Jesus said that people would recognise us as his disciples by the way we love one another (John 13:35). One of the ways love is expressed is in forgiveness"
[Dick Tripp, Forgiveness. What It Is and Why It Matters, p.?].


"Humility and the forgiveness of injuries were the two graces which the Lord constantly impressed upon His hearers, for well He knew how foreign both are to the natural heart"
[G.V. Chichester, Bible Thoughts for Daily Life, 1884, p.124].


"As it did for Jesus, our forgiving others means bearing increased pain for the sake of those we forgive instead of making them bear the pain of our anger and retaliation"
[Patrick H. Morrison, Forgive! As the Lord Forgave You, p.17].


"Jesus died for them too, just as he died for me ... How are they helped by my damning them? ... If I do not forgive, am I not unfaithful and unjust to God and man? I really have no choice in this if I am to be like my Lord"
[Steve Van Nattan, source].


"The call to forgive can actually add pain to the offense. Are we now to take on this additional burden for the sake of someone who hurt us in the first place? Is that reasonable? ... our anger is against Christ, who makes this 'unreasonable' demand ... Although His command is simple, clear, and loving, our sinfulness, our belief, our conflicting feelings, and garbled communication make obeying difficult. We need both practical understanding and the inner discipline of the Holy Spirit"
[Patrick H. Morrison, Forgive! As the Lord Forgave You, pp.3-8].


"Forgiveness is not merely a soft attitude toward a harsh fact; forgiveness is the vital action of love, seeking to restore the harmony that has been shattered"
[Dwight Small, Design for Christian Marriage].


"Forgiveness recognises the wrongdoer as a person. He has done wrong, and about this there is no pretence. But this is not the whole truth about him. He is still of infinite value as a person, since every person is unique and irreplaceable by any other. Since he has so greatly injured himself by doing wrong, he is in special need of help, and help that can be rendered only by the one to whom he has done the wrong ... Forgiveness can spring only from a self-forgetfulness that is more concerned about another's wellbeing than about its own, and that longs for the renewal for fellowship even when fellowship has been flouted and destroyed by the wilful aggression of another"
[Stephen Neill, A Genuinely Human Existence].


"Before we can enter into any lasting fellowship with another, we must learn to forgive since we all hurt one another. The Bible says, 'forgiving one another...'  It does not simply say, 'forgiving others', but 'forgiving one another.'  It is a mutual cooperative venture. Not only do we need to forgive, we also need to receive forgiveness. It is the indispensable sign of a Christian. Each of us stands daily in need of the forgiveness of God; therefore, we need to hear what God has to say to us about that. Jesus taught us to pray, 'Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.'  It is clear then that unless we forgive, we are not forgiven"
[Dr. D. James Kennedy, 'Foreword', Jay E. Adams, From Forgiven to Forgiving].


"The angel who gave the message of Jesus to the faithful women [on the morning of the Lord's resurrection] had doubtless been one of the rejoicing host in heaven over Peter's tears of repentance. Now he is the bearer of Christ's tender thought of His erring servant, 'Tell his disciples and Peter.'  Peter had fallen the lowest, but his heart was now the saddest of all the chosen band. We read of no word of rebuke or reproach. The dealings of our Lord with His disciples after His resurrection, were, if possible, even more loving than before. Let us remember this not only for our own endless comfort, but also in our dealings with the faults and infirmities of others. Has any wronged us? Has any friend forsaken us, when things have gone against us? Have those we trusted and loved left us to our enemies, without so much as speaking one word in our defence? Let us try to cultivate the feelings of our Lord towards His disciples, and like Him, 'forgive, if we have ought against any'."
[Bible Thoughts for Daily Life, pp.233-234].


"It is a joy to accept forgiveness, but it is almost a greater joy to give forgiveness"
[Corrie Ten Boom].

 

The Communion Service


"The Communion Service is supremely the moment in our Church Services when we focus on the cost of our forgiveness. In the old Anglican Service, before the congregation receives the bread and wine, symbols of the Cross, the minister would always read these words from the Book of Common Prayer: 'You that sincerely and earnestly repent of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbours, draw near with faith...'  It is not only the acceptance of our own forgiveness that qualifies us to join in celebrating such an event, but also the extending of that forgiveness to others. So we demonstrate our membership in the family of God" [Dick Tripp, Forgiveness. What It Is and Why It Matters, p.?].

 

Two Parts to Forgiveness: Positional and Transactional


When Should You Forgive?


"Forgiveness must be extended to all who say they repent - even if the offence has been repeated (cf. Luke 17:3). But it is only to be granted to those who confess wrongdoing, claim to be repentant and ask forgiveness (Proverbs 28:13). In Mark 11:25, Jesus tells you to forgive those who wronged you when you pray, thereby avoiding bitterness and resentment (Ephesians 4:32). But that is very different from granting the wrongdoer forgiveness. You do that only when he repents. Forgiveness of others must reflect God's forgiveness; He forgave you when you repented"
[Jay Adams, Forgiveness, Evangelical Times, 1997].


"While we must not harbor bitterness in our hearts (Hebrews 12:15) or repay evil for evil (1 Peter 3:9), we should make sure we follow God's lead and not extend forgiveness to the unrepentant. In short, we should withhold forgiveness from those who do not confess and repent; at the same time, we should extend the offer of forgiveness and maintain an attitude of readiness to forgive"
[source].


"If 'forgiveness' is given prematurely without the prerequisites of confession and repentance, then the truth has not been dealt with openly by both parties. If the offender doesn't acknowledge his sin, then he really does not understand what it means to be forgiven. In the long run, bypassing confession or repentance doesn't help the offender to understand the significance of sin, and it precludes a sense of justice, causing the offended person to battle even more against bitterness"
[source].

 

How Often Must We Forgive?


Forgive Seventy Times Seven


"If a sin is repeated, may we not bring up that previous offense? No! We must not hold a forgiven sin against someone, nor may we retract previous forgiveness because of the present sin; in this sense the old forgiven incident remains closed"
[Patrick H. Morrison, Forgive! As the Lord Forgave You, p.20].


"[R]emember how many times each day Jesus forgives you ... if you've really forgiven, it isn't the seventh time, it isn't the fifth. It isn't even the second. It is always the first"
[Jay E. Adams, From Forgiven to Forgiving, p.25].

 

Refusing to Forgive: An Unforgiving Spirit


"General Oglethorpe once said to John Wesley, 'I never forgive and I never forget.'  Wesley replied, 'Then, Sir, I hope you never sin'."
[quoted at Mary Van Nattan, Forgiven, source].


"The Bible teaches that if we are hurt by someone, with God's help we must seek to forgive that person ... Forgiveness is very difficult ... If we choose to forgive someone we may be opening ourselves up to being hurt again [and] if we choose to forgive someone we are giving up the right to get even. The teaching of Scripture is we are not to seek revenge. We are not supposed to try and get even (Romans 12:19). If we are caught in the trap of saying 'I just can't forgive', the reality is it is not 'can't', but 'won't'... We are choosing not to forgive. The Lord will help us to forgive if we ask Him to"
[web article, no longer extant].


"The point of the story in Matthew 18 is obvious. If we are Christians, we have been forgiven an infinite debt that we owe to God which we could never hope to pay ourselves. If we in turn do not share that forgiveness with others, God treats it very seriously. It is significant that, in Matthew's gospel particularly, what Jesus condemns most strongly is the proud, uncharitable, unforgiving, jealous spirit"
[Dick Tripp, Forgiveness. What It Is and Why It Matters, p.?].


"If you have little experience of or confidence in the life-changing power of God's grace, you will likely be ungracious in your demands of others. A critical spirit and negative expectations will dominate your relationships. Forgiveness and the desire to restore and build up others will be far from your mind. In general, you will have little patience with the weaknesses of others, especially those close to you. When tensions arise, you will leap to your own defence while trying to pin the blame on others. ... You might even go on the attack and find fault with them, in order to sooth your own conscience ... Proverbs 3:11-12 and 1 Peter 5:5b-7,10 - This God-given humbling dissolves a hyper-critical or defensive, unforgiving spirit"
[Patrick H. Morrison, Forgive! As the Lord Forgave You, pp.3-8].


"Probably more characters are spoiled by the nursing of grudges and the harbouring of grievances than by anything else"
[R.V.G. Tasker, quoted in Dick Tripp, Forgiveness. What It Is and Why It Matters, p.?].


"Christian, is there someone you have refused to forgive? ... Seek forgiveness yourself for your sin of refusal or putting off reconciliation ... Repent, ask God's forgiveness, and then go and do what Christ commands. Refusal to forgive is a decision for vengeance. It is taking vengeance into your own hands ... Because the Lord has said, 'Vengeance is Mine; I will repay', to take vengeance of any kind - even the withholding of forgiveness - is an attempt to arrogate God's work to oneself"
[Jay E. Adams, From Forgiven to Forgiving, pp.23-25].


"To refuse to forgive someone else and then to ask God for forgiveness is a kind of spiritual schizophrenia. You are asking God to give you what you are unwilling to give to someone else. A Christian who refuses to forgive, who chooses to harbor bitterness, who lives in anger and bitterness, that person is bound to be miserable and messed up. As strange as it may sound, there is such a thing as an 'unforgiven' Christian. This is not a statement about ultimate destinies. To be 'unforgiven' in this sense means that the channel of God's grace is blocked from the human side. In particular, it means that you have chosen to hang on to your bitterness and to forfeit your daily walk with the Lord. You would rather be angry than joyful. You have chosen resentment over peace. Your grudges have become more important to you than the daily blessing of God. If God has already forgiven your sins 100% by the blood of Jesus Christ, how dare you be unforgiving to someone who hurt you? That's really the issue. How dare you be unforgiving after what Jesus Christ did for you in the cross?"
[source].

 

Unforgiveness Exploited by the Evil One


"I recently read [something that] made me think again about the parable of Jesus of the 'certain king' who had a servant who owed him a vast sum of money [whom] the king forgave but who refused to forgive his fellow servant. So the king recalled that servant's salvation and basically sent him to hell. Yes, satan wants us to coddle unforgiveness and offense... because it will send us to Hell!!!  God is not joking or messing around with us. Jesus told His disciples again and again that they must not coddle offense. The Lord's prayer lists it as a primary component of our daily prayer... to forgive. I now pray every day that if there be any offense... any offense at all... Please Lord God remove it from me"
[reader's comment at On Being Offensive, and Offended, 06 December 2010].


"One of Satan's strategies to hinder our personal growth and undermine the growth of God's kingdom is to encourage and exploit the lack of forgiveness among God's people. Paul urged the Corinthian believers to forgive one of their members who had caused hurt. He said that he himself had forgiven the offender and gave his reason (2 Corinthians 2;11).  E.M. Bounds, in his book, Satan, says: A lofty spirit, ready and compliant with the spirit of forgiveness, free from all bitterness, revenge or retaliation, has freed itself from the conditions which invite Satan and has effectually locked and barred his entrance. The readiest way to keep Satan out is to keep the spirit of forgiveness in. The devil is never deeper in hell, nor farther removed from us than when we can pray, 'Father forgive them; they know not what they do'."
[Dick Tripp, Forgiveness. What It Is and Why It Matters, p.?].


"Most men have painful memories of hurts in the past or memories of things that they did to hurt others. If they did not respond by forgiving their offenders or by asking forgiveness for their offenses, they become vulnerable to Satan's lies, such as 'You are stupid' or 'You'll never amount to anything' or 'People are out to hurt you.'  All these experiences and the lies that go with them are filed away in the heart and mind of that young man. In the future, when someone tells him that he has done something stupid, or he is frustrated, or he feels like a failure, all the pain and guilt of the past flares up in anger. We have found that by helping [men] transform these these painful memories by applying the commands of Christ, they are able to experience victory over anger, as well as to overcome guilt, lust, bitterness, greed, fear, and envy"
[source].

 

Remembering the Sin No More


"How can you forget something negative that's stuck in your mind? The Bible says God remembers our sins no more; so how can God forget something when He is omniscient? How can He know everything and still forget? Here's the thing: When you forgive and forget, the forgetting means that you, like God, don't hold the wrongdoing to the offender's account. God forgets that charge against us - He remembers it no more. Oh, He knows about it, just as you do, but He will never bring it up again. That's what we are to do. Don't fish the pond of history; leave it there"
[source].


"When our God forgive us, He promises that He will not remember our sins against us anymore ... Obviously the omniscient God ... does not forget, but He can 'not remember'. Forgetting is passive ... 'Not remembering' is active; it is a promise whereby one person ... determines not to remember the sins of another against him. To 'not remember' is simply a graphic way of saying, 'I will not bring up these matters to you or others in the future. I will bury them and not exhume the bones to beat you over the head with them. I will never use these sins against you'."
[Jay E. Adams, From Forgiven to Forgiving, p.12].


"Some people can go back and reel off in chronological order everything that a person has done against them during their entire relationship. If you forgive a person, forget their offences and never bring them up again. Don't dwell in the past and don't let the past dwell in you"
[source].


"If you go back and listen to my sermon tapes on forgiveness from a few years ago, you will hear me say something like, 'If you haven't forgotten, you haven't forgiven.'  I'm smiling as I write these words because that statement is so obviously wrong I wonder what made me ever think that way. We all understand that God 'forgets'; our sins when he blots them out, puts them behind his back, and casts them into the depth of the sea. He can 'forget' our sins because he's God and has the power to do things like that. But we're not God, and our painful memories often return to haunt us. In pondering this problem, my mind ran to a scripture in the book of Hebrews that speaks of God's forgiveness of our sins. Surely if we have trouble forgetting, what about God who never forgets anything? Hebrews 10:17 quotes God as saying, 'Their sins and their lawless acts I will remember no more.'  Underline that last phrase, 'I will remember no more.'  God's forgiveness means he chooses not to remember our sins"
[source].


"Forgiveness is a choice we make. It is not a feeling or a mood or a passing notion. Forgiveness does not mean we somehow wipe out of our mind the record of what happened. Forgiveness means we choose not to remember it. There is a big difference between remembering something and dwelling on it. We can all remember (if we try hard enough) things in the past that have hurt us deeply. Forgiveness means we choose not to dwell on those things. It also means we choose not to hold a grudge against someone who has wrong us"
[source].


"Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross, was talking with a friend one day when the name of a person they both knew came up. Years before, that person had done some very mean things to Clara. The friend asked Barton, 'Don't you remember when she did that to you?'  'No', she replied, 'I distinctly remember forgetting that'."
[source].


"Love lets the past die, it moves people to a new beginning without settling the past. Love does not have to clear up all the misunderstandings... Love prefers to tuck all the loose ends of past rights and wrongs in the bosom of forgiveness - and pushes us into a new start"
[Lewis Smedes, source].

 

 

 

If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared
(Psalm 130:3-4)

Be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you

(Ephesians 4:31-32)

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you;
But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses

(Matthew 6:12)

 

 

 

Thus saith the LORD,
Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way,
and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls
(Jeremiah 6:16)

 

 

 

Please note that the inclusion of any quotation or item on this page does not imply we would necessarily endorse the source from which the extract is taken; neither can we necessarily vouch for any other materials by the same authors, or any groups or ministries or websites with which they may associated, or any periodicals to which they may contribute, or the beliefs of whatever kind they may hold, or any other aspect of their work or ministry or position.

Elizabeth McDonald     https://www.bayith.org     bayith@blueyonder.co.uk