1. To excuse for a fault or an offense; pardon.

2. To renounce anger or resentment against.

3. To absolve from payment of (a debt, for example).


Need for Forgiveness

(Rom 3:23 KJV)  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

 (Rom 6:23 NIV)  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Ten Commandments

  1. I am the Lord your God. (Self-fulfillment, Recognition)
  2. You shall not make for yourself an idol. (Money, Superstitution)
  3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God. (Cussing, Hypocrisy)


Only one petition in the Lord's Prayer has any condition attached to it. It is the petition for forgiveness. Sir William Temple (1628–1699)

*   (Mat 6:9-15 NIV)  "This, then, is how you should pray: "'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, {10} your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. {11} Give us today our daily bread. {12} Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. {13} And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.' {14} For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. {15} But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.


  1. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. (Not resting or going to church)
  2. Honor your father and your mother. (Bringing shame by actions or word. Failing to be the man I ought to be)
  3. You shall not murder. (Hatred or withholding material help)


*   If God forgives us, we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than him. C. S. Lewis (1898–1963)


Not being willing to forgive also rejects the example of Jesus on the cross and essentially throws away the gift He died for.

*   (Mat 18:32-35 RSV)  Then his lord summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; {33} and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?' {34} And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt. {35} So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."

*   (1 John 1:9 NIV)  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.


  1. You shall not commit adultery. (Faithlessness of all types)
  2. You shall not steal. (Anything that is not yours such as time or good name, or hope)


*   We pardon to the degree that we love. François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld (1813–1913)


 (John 3:16 RSV)  For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


  1. You shall not give false testimony. (Dishonesty, promise breaking,
  2. You shall not covet. (Illegitimate desires)


*   As we practice the work of forgiveness we discover more and more that forgiveness and healing are one. Agnes Sanford


Garth Brooks

We bury the hatchet
But leave the handle stickin' out
We're always diggin' up things
We should forget about
When it comes to forgettin'
Baby, there ain't no doubt
We bury the hatchet
But leave the handle sticking out


*   Forgiveness is not that stripe which says, "I will forgive, but not forget." It is not to bury the hatchet with the handle sticking out of the ground, so you can grasp it the minute you want it. Dwight Lyman Moody (1837–1899)

*   Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note—torn in two and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one. Henry Ward Beecher (1813–1887) 

(Col 3:13 NIV)  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.



*   A retentive memory is a good thing, but the ability to forget is the true token of greatness. Elbert Green Hubbard (1856–1915). Where did I leave that hatchet?

*   When you forgive you in no way change the past—but you sure do change the future. Bernard Meltzer. Eternal life depends on forgiveness

*   You must choose to forgive whoever has wronged you. Forgiveness is not an emotion, it is a decision of the will. Erwin W. Lutzer (1941– )

*   Christians aren't perfect—just forgiven.







*    (Mark 11:24-25 NIV)  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. {25} And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."


So being forgiven is what we have received from God. And what, therefore, we should give to others is also forgiveness. Forgiveness has set us free from the penalties we deserve and enabled us to becomes sons of God. And as sons of God we will live forever with Him.


*   (Rom 6:22-23 NIV)  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. {23} For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

*   (Rom 6:14-15 NIV)  For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. {15} What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!


He who has been set free is set free indeed. If we turn our backs on our freedom we return to slavery!


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

At the end of his I Have a Dream speech he quotes the words of the old Negro spiritual that I will repeat now for all of us that are forgiven: “Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last.”