5 Biblical Aspects About Forgiveness
Copyright 2007 Heaven Ministries - Angie Lewis

I talk and write a lot about forgiveness in marriage and relationships. Why? Because without forgiving those who have wronged us, we will never be able to forget the wrong either. And when I say, "forget", I mean in the sense that the wrong will never be brought up again to hurt or otherwise abuse our spouse with.

1. Forgiveness is the first step in repairing/restoring relationship

But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who married the divorced woman commits adultery. Matthew 5:32

Divorce is hurtful and destructive and God intends for marriage to be a lifetime commitment. (Genesis 2:24). Couples should never consider divorce an option for solving marital problems, and here's why.

Jesus said that divorce was not permissible except for unfaithfulness, but...this does not mean, and is not saying that a spouse should automatically get a divorce because a spouse commits adultery! The word translated "unfaithfulness" means LIVING in a sexually immoral lifestyle, not a repented act of adultery. There is a BIG difference here between a continual lifestyle of sexual sin and a one-time affair. Those who have found their spouse to be unfaithful should make every effort to forgive and restore their marriage. 

2. God does not forgive those who do not forgive others

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6: 14-15

The simple truth here is that when we don't forgive others, we are denying our common ground as sinners in need of God's forgiveness. We all need to be forgiven at times, and we are all sinners! When we ask for forgiveness from God and others, we should ask ourselves, "Have I forgiven the people who have wronged me?" It is all about putting ourselves in their shoes. We can't honestly expect to be forgiven when we can't seem to forgive others! 

Do you need to forgive your spouse? Does your spouse need to forgive you? Submit to one another through forgiveness and restore the trust and respect that may have been misplaced. 

3. True forgiveness is found only from having faith in Jesus Christ

If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven. John 20:23

In the above scripture Jesus was giving the disciples their Spirit-powered and Spirit-guided mission, which was to teach the good new about Jesus so people's sins might be forgiven. But the disciples did not have the power to forgive sins, but Jesus gave them the opportunity of telling new believers that their sins have been forgiven because they had ACCEPTED Jesus' message. Because of their belief in Jesus, they were given the power within them to FORGIVE!

All believers have this same opportunity today! We can announce the forgiveness of sins with certainty when we ourselves have found repentance and faith in Christ. Wow!

4. Forgiveness will lead to change of heart

For those of you who have had a spouse who committed adultery, the bible says this:

The Pharisee's brought in a woman caught in the act of adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such a woman. Now what do you say?"

Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any of you are without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?
"No one sir," she said.

"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." John 8:3-11

Jesus is simply saying that he will forgive us when we have faith enough in him to turn our life around and sin no more. 
This is an excellent scripture! When Jesus said that only a sinless person could throw the first stone, he was actually highlighting several important areas in our own lives that we need to watch out for, such as forgiving others, showing compassion, and not to judge others who have sinned. 

5. Forgiveness involves both attitude and action on our part

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written" "It is mine to avenge' I will repay, says the Lord. On the contrary: "if your enemy is hungry, feed him' if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will be heap burning coals upon his head. Romans 12:19-21

By giving an enemy a drink, we are not excusing his misdeeds, but forgiving him and loving him despite of his sins. Jesus Christ did this for us. This is called "detaching with love", or Jesus called it, "turning the other cheek."

Forgiveness does involve a good attitude on our part. Many times we find it too difficult to forgive. We just don't FEEL very forgiving towards someone who has hurt us. It is at these times that we must try to be kind towards him or her. Being kind to people who have hurt us tends to ease the hurt and makes us FEEL better towards them in our heart and mind. Sometimes we have to do things we don't want to. But you will discover that by doing kind things to those who have hurt us can actually lead to our feelings changing for the good.