We find throughout God’s Word many verses about God’s desire to forgive us, and about our need to receive God’s forgiveness. The Bible also has a great deal to say about how we can put ourselves into the right position to be forgiven by other people. The number one key is this:
We receive forgiveness by forgiving.
Jesus taught, “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven” (Luke 6:36˗37).
In Matthew 18, Jesus tells a parable about a king who was collecting what was owed to him. The king called one man before him who owed him ten thousand talents — a great amount of money — but when this man begged for mercy, the king forgave him the debt. Then, that same forgiven man went out and found a man who owed him a hundred pence — a very small amount of money. He insisted that the man pay, even with the threat of prison, although the man begged for patience. What happened to the man who demanded payment? The Bible says, “His lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors … so likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses” (Matthew 18:34˗35).
For each one of us there comes a day when we must forgive and let go of the past wrongs that people have done to us. If we don’t, our lack of forgiveness will bring us torment. The other person may not be feeling any guilt at all for what he or she did to us; sometimes, they may not even know they did something to hurt us! Furthermore, the other person may have wronged us. None of that matters when it comes to what happens inside us. We are the ones who experience the torment in our souls when we choose to hang on to unforgiveness.
Do you need to forgive someone today? Do you need to be free of a festering torment in your spirit? Make this the day you pick up the phone or write a letter and say, “Please forgive me for the bitterness I’ve had in my heart toward you.” Let go of that person in your heart and say, “I forgive you.” If circumstances are such that they are already gone or completely out of reach or cannot be found, go before God in your forgiveness to them. You’ll bring freedom from torment to your own soul!