It doesn’t matter who you are, young old, newly saved or a seasoned follower of Christ, we have all had to ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness for the things we said (or didn’t say) or did (or didn’t do). We’ve had to ask for forgiveness not only from friends or family but most importantly, we have had to ask for forgiveness from God.
Asking for forgiveness is not merely the act of asking, the Bible says that we should confess our sins and repent from our sinful ways. “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19)
The word repent, or repentance, basically means to do a 180 degree turn in your way of thinking. Therefore, it is not enough to merely ask for forgiveness, the act of asking should be followed by the act of turning away from how you used to think. This is mentioned in Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Here are some more scriptures dealing with forgiveness.
1. Ephesians 4:32 ESV
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
2. Mark 11:25 ESV
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.”
3. 1 John 1:9 ESV
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
4. Matthew 6:15 ESV
But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
5. Matthew 18:21-22 ESV
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.
6. Matthew 6:14-15 ESV
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
7. Luke 6:37 ESV
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;
8. Colossians 3:13 ESV
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.
9. James 5:16 ESV
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
10. Luke 6:27 ESV
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you
In the Bible there is a story about a man who owed a wealthy man a substantial amount of money. The wealthy man forgave this man his debt and sent him on his way. As the man left the house of the wealthy man, he came across someone who owed him a very small amount of money. This man preceded to have the person who owed him money thrown in jail until he could repay his debt. When the wealthy man heard this, he became angry and ordered that the man be tortured until he could repay the money he owed the wealthy man. Read Matthew 18:23-34 for the story.
This story is a parable that Jesus told, and he ends off the parable with these words: “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matthew 18:35). Forgiveness is a very serious business in the Kingdom of God. We should forgive as we have been forgiven, seven times seven. Because, if we can be forgiven of all sins, past present and future then we should be able to forgive those that trespass against us.