Forgiveness is one of the most difficult virtues, as it involves putting aside your own feelings and learning to put yourself in another person’s shoes. With forgiveness comes strength, and God has told us that learning to forgive is one thing that all humans must work to do. When forgiveness feels particularly tough, turning to the Bible for inspiration through God’s word is one of the best things you can do to encourage yourself to find that strength. The Bible says plenty about what it means to forgive.
Matthew 6:15 is an important place to start when it comes to forgiveness, and the passage goes on to say “But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” What this means is that God forgives us, and all the mistakes we make in our lives, and as we live in His image, we must try our hardest to do the same. If we cannot forgive, we cannot expect forgiveness in return. It’s best to think about how we would feel if our misgivings couldn’t be forgiven.
In Matthew 18:21-22, the passage goes on to state “Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.’” Forgiveness isn’t a once and done deal, and we are unlike God in that we do not have the perfection that He possesses. People will make mistakes in their lives, and those mistakes may have effects on us, but it is our job to forgive them and trust in the Lord.
An important short passage that we can all carry with us in our journeys as we learn to forgive is “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.” from Ecclesiastes 7:20. When forgiving others, know that there is no person on this Earth who at one point did not need forgiveness themselves, and remember that even the most righteous is not perfect. By keeping this passage in mind as you go through life, it becomes much easier to see how someone needing forgiveness is just like you, and you just like them. We were all created in God’s image and sent down His chosen path.