Scriptures about Forgiveness

What is forgiveness?

The King James Dictionary defines forgiveness as:
1. The act of forgiving the pardon of an offender, by which he is considered and treated as not guilty. The forgiveness of enemies is a Christian duty.
2. The pardon or remission of an offense or crime as the forgiveness of sin or of injuries.
3. Disposition to pardon willingness to forgive.
Another on-line resource defines forgiveness like this:
  • Forgiveness is the act of pardoning an offender. In the Bible, the Greek word translated “forgiveness” literally means “to let go,” as when a person does not demand payment for a debt. Jesus used this comparison when he taught his followers to pray: “Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is in debt to us.” (Luke 11:4) Likewise, in his parable of the unmerciful slave, Jesus equated forgiveness with canceling a debt.—Matthew 18:23-35.
  • We forgive others when we let go of resentment and give up any claim to be compensated for the hurt or loss we have suffered. The Bible teaches that unselfish love is the basis for true forgiveness, since love “does not keep account of the injury.”—1 Corinthians 13:4, 5.

In my personal experience, I didn't truly understand the meaning of forgiveness until God told me I had to forgive the unforgivable. I wrestled with this for a long time. I could not excuse or justify the offense. The person didn't offer an apology, in fact they didn't think they did anything wrong even though the consequences of their actions were catastrophic.

The key for me, ultimately, was in understanding the depth of my forgiveness received from God.

I too had sinned against God without offering an apology and refusing to acknowledge that I had done anything wrong. In truth, we have all sinned against God. And his forgiveness is available to each and every one of us. Even the person who actions so terribly affected my family.

Forgiving this person did not change or excuse their actions. It did not change the consequences of their actions. But forgiving them did change me. By offering forgiveness and giving the offense to God, I received healing and peace from God. Anger and resentment was replaced with joy and hope, and my view shifted from the destruction in my past to the new hope in my future.

If you are struggling to forgive someone, I encourage to learn more about what God's Word teaches us about forgiveness. We have curated 31 Scriptures which tell us about forgiveness from God and forgiving others. Be sure and visit our "Diving Deeper" section for practical steps you can take on your road to forgiving others.

Ephesians 4:32                                    
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Proverbs 28:13
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

Matthew 6:14-15 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.

Joel 2:13
Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
Colossians 3:13
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.

2 Chronicles 7:14                                                                                  
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Psalm 32:5I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
Luke 6:36-38
Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Acts 2:38And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 18:21-22
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-seven times.

Psalm 86:5                                                           
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Acts 3:19        
Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,

Micah 7:18-19Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.
Acts 13:38-39
Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.
Mark 11:25
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.”
"Forgiven" is a featured topic in issue 4 of Sweet To The Soul FAITH Magazine : Grace.

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.
1 John 2:2
He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

Ephesians 1:7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
Isaiah 30:15
For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling,

Matthew 6:12and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Psalm 103:12          as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

Daniel 9:9To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him

Proverbs 17:9

Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
Isaiah 43:25
“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.

Luke 23:34And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.
2 Corinthians 7:9-10                                                                          
As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

Luke 15:10Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Acts 17:30-31
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
Psalm 32:1
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
2 Chronicles 30:9
For if you return to the LORD, your brothers and your children will find compassion with their captors and return to this land. For the LORD your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him.”

Isaiah 55:7Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Thank you for your abundant grace and compassion.
If you were not slow to anger and abounding in love,
I would surely perish in my sins.

I come to you with a sin-stained heart. Humbly, I bow
before you and ask that you forgive all my sins.
Your grace is enough to wash me clean.
Praise God!

As you forgive my trespasses, help me forgive the
trespasses of others. Thank you, Father, for your
abundant grace and compassion. You made a way
for all our sins to be forgiven. I rejoice and I am filled
with praise, honor, and worship at the mention
of your great name.

In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

Diving Deeper

How to forgive someone
  1.  Remember what forgiveness involves. You are not condoning the wrong or acting as if it never happened—you are simply letting it go.
  2.  Recognize the benefits of forgiving. Letting go of anger and resentment can help you to keep calm, improve your health, and increase your happiness. (Proverbs 14:30; Matthew 5:9) Even more important, forgiving others is a key to receiving God’s forgiveness for your own sins.—Matthew 6:14, 15.
  3.  Be empathetic. All of us are imperfect. (James 3:2) Just as we appreciate being forgiven, we should likewise forgive the mistakes of others.—Matthew 7:12.
  4.  Be reasonable. When we have a minor cause for complaint, we can apply the Bible’s counsel: “Continue putting up with one another.”—Colossians 3:13.
  5.  Act quickly. Work to forgive as soon as you can rather than letting your anger fester.—Ephesians 4:26, 27.


Download this printable Forgiven Scripture List and keep in your Bible or Journal for quick reference.
Jana Kennedy Spicer is a born and raised Texas girl who has a heart for studying God’s Word and is passionate about encouraging women to do the same. She is the author of Let Your Light Shine: Being a Light in a Dark World; Praying For Revival; Inspiring Women: Who They Are and How To Be One and Gracious Words: Speaking with Kindness and Mercy; and the illustrator of the scripture based Garden of Life Coloring Book and Coloring the Scriptures.

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