Physical and emotional wounds inflicted by another person, especially a close friend or relative, hurt. Holding on to the hurt festers into anger and bitterness. Harboring anger and bitterness may lead to emotional or physical illness and manifests itself in harming personal relationships with family, with friends, and in the workplace.

Extending forgiveness can be hard. Yet, followers of Jesus Christ are commanded to forgive. When teaching His disciples to pray, Jesus taught them to ask for and give forgiveness (Matthew 6:12). The apostle Paul, in Ephesians 4:32, exhorts believers, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

I like what Adrian Rogers said about forgiveness:

                “God’s forgiveness of us sets us free from guilt.”

                “Our forgiveness of others sets us free from bitterness.” (

God’s forgiveness of our sins is God’s gift to us. Forgiving others is our gift to ourselves and to the offender.

Forgiveness is a choice, and the Holy Spirit dwelling in us as believers gives us the ability to forgive.


Colossians 3:12-14 “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things, put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” NKJV

Forgiveness doesn’t mean we should ignore the offense, pretending it didn’t happen. When forgiveness is extended, it doesn’t mean that trust is immediately restored or that the relationship returns to what it was. But forgiveness allows us to break free from anger and pain that hold us prisoners and move on to enjoy life. Because we are commanded to forgive, not forgiving is sin. So, forgiving restores our fellowship with God,

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.” NKJV

and opens the opportunity to heal a broken human relationship.



“If you’ve been wronged by a brother, forgive for his sake, for Jesus’ sake, and for your sake. Do not keep

score. Forgiveness has no limit. When you forgive, you set two people free, and one of them is yourself.”

(Adrian Rogers)

Equally as difficult at times is going to the person or persons we’ve offended, owning up to the offenses we’ve committed, then asking forgiveness. We’re all sinners (“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23), we’re all prone to wrongdoing, and we all need forgiveness. We’re responsible to confess that sin to God and to the person we’ve sinned against, be it an unkind word or act, or even not speaking up or taking action when we should.

Matthew 5:23, 24 “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” NKJV


Along with forgiving, this is how Jesus said we, His followers, should respond to our enemies:

  Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” NKJV;;

Beth E Westcott