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What is Forgiveness? Learn How to Forgive Completely

Do you enjoy the blessing of forgiveness? If yes, how easy is it for you to forgive?

Today, I will address two parts of forgiveness:

  • The assurance of the forgiveness of sin and
  • Forgiving those who trespass against you.

I will define forgiveness as it relates to psychology. Also, I will explain the biblical meaning as taught by Jesus.

Let’s begin…


The Assurance of Forgiveness of Sin

Do you know what you don’t have, you can’t give? What you haven’t experience, you can’t share.

You cannot forgive others if you don’t have the assurance of God’s forgiveness in you. You must come to the understanding that God has forgiven you before you can truly forgive others.

Let me tell you a story…

As a boarding student, we run errands for seniors. On this fateful day, my hostel leader sent a friend (call him John) and me to get him water from the pump.

On our way, John said out of anger, “Anywhere I meet this senior outside school premises, I will arrange boys to beat him. He is just too wicked.”

So, I said, “You want to beat hostel leader? I will tell him.” John pleaded that I should not tell. Seeing I stood my ground, he asked, “What do you want?”

(The part I have been waiting for)

I said, “Garri, milk and sugar”. He agreed to give me once we get back to the hostel – which he did.

The second day, I went to John and request the same thing. He obeyed out of fear.

As if not enough, I returned to John again the third day and made the same request. But something different happened this time. John declined.

I told him, “I will report you to hostel leader”. (I left John feeling disappointed)

Same day, I found out John had gone to the hostel leader the previous day to seek forgiveness.

Now I knew why John could tell me NO–He had received the assurance of forgiveness.

Has the devil been accusing you of your past? Did he threaten to use your mistakes against you?

In Romans 8:1.

1: There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
2. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”

Until you receive the assurance of forgiveness, you will keep hating yourself for your past. You will keep magnifying your mistakes and living with regrets.

And you tell me, how can you forgive others when you have not forgiven yourself?


What is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is from the Greek word, Aphesis, which means freedom, liberty, or pardon. To forgive means to let go, to free, and hold nothing against.

The day you said YES to Jesus, the same day he forgave you your sins. You may not have known.

Psalm 32: 1-2 says,
1: Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered.
2: Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit.”

My friend, God holds nothing against you. You are the blessed.

You are a new creation and old things have passed away – 2 Corinthian 5:17. Pull out of your past.


What are the Benefits of Forgiveness?

“To wait to forgive is to wait to live.”– Oluboba Ayodeji

I share with you few ways you will benefit when you forgive others.

  • It lifts away the burden in your heart.
  • You will feel more safe and loved.
  • It strengthens your relationship with the person.
  • It enhances your mental health (Yes, you can now think faster and better).
  • You will become less stressed and more energetic, leading to more focus.
  • It reduces your blood pressure (Ask a doctor)
  • Forgiving others takes away depression, making you happier.

And many more.


What if the Person Does Not Change?

Understand that forgiving someone does not mean they would change. You can’t change anybody. Do your part (to forgive) and let it go.

You can do as Jesus instructed in Matthew 18:15-17

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15: Moreover, if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.
16: But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’
17: And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.”


How Often Should I Forgive?

It’s good you discern those who deliberately commit an act, and those who fall into it. Forgive and see to it such does not repeat itself.

Luke 17:3-4 says
3: Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.
4: And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”


How Do I Stop Struggling to Forgive?

  1. Believe God has forgiven your sins.
  2. Forgive yourself of your mistakes and actions.
  3. Always forgive those who may wrong you.

Also, you can confess this always:

  1. I am forgiven.
  2. I have dominion over sin.
  3. I am forever free in Christ.

Is it Possible to Live Without Asking for Forgiveness?

I am sure you are asking; can we live a life of no sin so we don’t constantly ask for forgiveness?

Jesus speaking in John 14:30 says,

” I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.”

Yes, you can live a life of no sin. God’s original plan was for man to live above sin.

God wants you to stay above the everyday alter call. He never hoped that man sin deliberately and expect forgiveness. Romans 6:1-2

You remember what Jesus said to the woman who accused by the Pharisee. Jesus didn’t condemn her instead encouraged her not to go back to her ways.

John 8:10 – 11

10: When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?
11: She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

He saved you; he wants you to walk in the light. (1 John 1:7).


The Forgiveness Prayer

For Yourself

Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your loving kindnesses, for they are from of old.

Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions;

According to Your mercy, remember me, for Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.

Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me,

For You are the God of my salvation; On You, I wait all the day.

For Others

Father, I thank You for forgiving me my sins, and so I choose to forgive [the person’s name].

Lord, set me free and bless [the person’s name].

I want to walk in your righteousness, peace, and love.

Please help me o Lord in Jesus’ name, Amen.


The Forgiveness Quotes

I have compiled these forgiveness quotes to inspire you to let go of the past and move on with your life.

Catherine Ponder quoted,
“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”

Paul Boose quoted,
“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”

Louise Hay quoted,
“The act of forgiveness takes place in our own mind. It really has nothing to do with the other person.”

Oscar Wilde quoted,
“Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.”

Sir. Francis Bacon quoted,
“We read that we ought to forgive our enemies; but we do not read that we ought to forgive our friends.”

Ivern Ball quoted,
“Most of us can forgive and forget; we just don’t want the other person to forget that we forgave.”

Robert Muller quoted,
“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.”

Anne Lamott quoted,
“Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.”

Emma Goldman quoted,
“Before we can forgive one another, we have to understand one another.”

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Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy quoted
“Let us forgive each other – only then will we live in peace.”

Desmond Tutu quoted,
“Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning.”

Bryant H. McGill quoted,
“There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.”

Mark Twain quoted,
“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”

Lewis B. Smedes quoted,
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

Mahatma Gandhi quoted,
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

Oscar Wilde quoted,
“Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.”

Thomas Szasz quoted,
“The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.”

Dalai Lama quoted,
“All major religious traditions carry basically the same message; that is love, compassion and forgiveness the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.”

Phillips Brooks quoted,
“Forgive, forget. Bear with the faults of others as you would have them bear with yours.”

T. D. Jakes quoted,
“I think the first step is to understand that forgiveness does not exonerate the perpetrator. Forgiveness liberates the victim. It’s a gift you give yourself.”

William Arthur Ward quoted,
“Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting.”

Maya Angelou quoted,
“You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, ‘I forgive. I’m finished with it.’”

Tyler Perry quoted,
“It’s not an easy journey, to get to a place where you forgive people. But it is such a powerful place, because it frees you.”

Roberto Assagioli quoted,
“Without forgiveness life is governed by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.”

Saint Augustine quoted,
“Forgiveness is the remission of sins. For it is by this that what has been lost, and was found, is saved from being lost again.”

Iyanla Vanzant quoted,
“The remedy for life’s broken pieces is not classes, workshops or books. Don’t try to heal the broken pieces. Just forgive.”

Publilius Syrus quoted,
“How unhappy is he who cannot forgive himself.”

Marlene Dietrich quoted,
“Once a woman has forgiven her man, she must not reheat his sins for breakfast.”

Ben Greenhalgh quoted,
“Forgiveness is a sign that the person who has wronged you means more to you than the wrong they have dealt.”

Will Smith quoted
“Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too.”

Thomas Szasz quoted,
“The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.”

Robin Sharma quoted,
“Forgiveness isn’t approving what happened. It’s choosing to rise above it.”

Marvin J. Ashton quoted,
“Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart, one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.”

Confucius quoted
“To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.”

Nelson Mandela quoted,
“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

Mahatma Gandhi quoted,
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

Roberto Assagioli quoted,
“Without forgiveness, life is governed by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.”

Isaac Friedmann quoted,
“Forgiveness is the sweetest revenge.”

Hannah Arendt quoted,
“Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.”

Eric Hoffer quoted,
“The remarkable thing is that we really love our neighbour as ourselves: we do unto others as we do unto ourselves. We hate others when we hate ourselves. We are tolerant toward others when we tolerate ourselves. We forgive others when we forgive ourselves. We are prone to sacrifice others when we are ready to sacrifice ourselves.”

Marianne Williamson quoted,
“The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.”

Abraham Lincoln quoted,
“I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.”

Stephen Richards quoted,
“A broken friendship that is mended through forgiveness can be even stronger than it once was.”

Cherie Carter-Scott quoted,
“Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were.”

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Louis B. Smedes quoted,
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

Alexander Pope quoted,
“To err is human, to forgive, divine.”

Martin Luther King Jr. quoted,
“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”

Nelson Mandela quoted,
“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”

Deborah Reber quoted,
“Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.”

Isabelle Holland quoted,
“As long as you don’t forgive, who and whatever it is will occupy a rent-free space in your mind.”

Anthony Robbins quoted,
“Why do people persist in a dissatisfying relationship, unwilling either to work toward solutions or end it and move on? It’s because they know changing will lead to the unknown, and most people believe that the unknown will be much more painful than what they’re already experiencing.”

Denis Waitley quoted,
“Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energy moving forward together towards an answer.”

Guy Finley quoted,
“You don’t need strength to let go of something. What you really need is understanding.”

Pam W. Vredevelt quoted,
“When we go back into the past and rake up all the troubles we’ve had, we end up reeling and staggering through life. Stability and peace of mind come by living in the moment.”

Wayne Dyer quoted,
“Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed.”

Leo Buscaglia quoted,
“Let go. Why do you cling to pain? There is nothing you can do about the wrongs of yesterday. It is not yours to judge. Why hold on to the very thing which keeps you from hope and love?”

Joseph Campbell quoted,
“We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

Jonathan Huie quoted,
“Forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.”


Forgiveness Bible Verses

Our God is a forgiving God. He forgives us our sins and wants us to forgive others.

The following scriptures on forgiveness will help in your bible study.

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.”

Matthew 6:14-15
14: For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

15: But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”

Colossians 3:13
“…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.

Psalms 103:10-11
10: He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
11: For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him.”

Ephesians 4:32
” And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Matthew 6:12
“And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.

Proverbs 19:11
“The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression.”

Luke 7:47
” Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”

Isaiah 65:16
“So that he who blesses himself in the earth Shall bless himself in the God of truth; And he who swears in the earth Shall swear by the God of truth; Because the former troubles are forgotten, And because they are hidden from My eyes.

Mark 11:25
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”

Matthew 18:15
“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.”

No matter what it is, I want you to believe that God has forgiven you your past. With the same heart, forgive others.

Shalom!

Oluboba Ayodeji
Oluboba Ayodeji teaches business owners on how to build, grow, and scale a successful ecommerce business. He shares proven strategies and expert insights to help you avoid losing your customers, time and energy on the web. Wants to reach him? Email Olubobayo@gmail[dot]com