What does the Bible say about unforgiveness?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
The Bible has quite a bit to say about forgiveness and unforgiveness. Perhaps the most well-known teaching on unforgiveness is Jesus' parable of the unmerciful servant, recorded in Matthew 18:21-35...

July 01 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Daniel Carlson Pastor of the Community Bible Church in Aguila, Arizona
Our Heavenly Father’s guarantee of forgiveness is based on our willingness to truly forgive others. 

“So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart” (Matt. 18:35 ESV).

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of WORKS, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).

We tend to lump a lot of things into the term “WORKS” which go way beyond the intended meaning of the word. For example, we include in “works” the acts of confessing our sins, repentance, and obedience to Christ, which are essentials of salvation.

The word WORKS in this passage is referring to the “works of the Law,” i.e. circumcision (v. 11) and other ordinances of the law (v. 15), not to the essentials of salvation.

The need to forgive others is not optional; it is absolutely necessary (along with confession, repentance and obedience) for salvation. Anyone who refuses to forgive cannot be forgiven (Matt. 18:35). And if God cannot forgive us, “how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation” (Heb. 2:3)?

True, our salvation is not based on our “works”, but it IS based on our confession, repentance and obedience…

“If we CONFESS our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

“No, I tell you; but unless you REPENT, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5).

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who DOES the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).

“Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of OBEDIENCE, which leads to righteousness” (Rom. 6:16)?

I wouldn’t place my bets on any so-called believer making heaven his eternal home who stubbornly refuses to forgive. It’s not in the program.

April 29 2015 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Image41 Ezekiel Kimosop
Matthew 6:12 says “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
Unforgiveness is one of the issues that the Bible addresses in several passages because Satan uses it to hold God's people captive instead of walking in the freedom that Christ has brought to us. God expects us to confess and forsake sin and to seek forgiveness from Him and from those we have wronged as well. 

The process of seeking forgiveness is twofold; it involves confessing our sins to God and seeking his forgiveness through the redeeming blood of Christ (Hebrews 10:22). Confession also acknowledges our trespasses against our fellow believers and others within our reach whom we have wronged. Confession is our acknowledgement of our fallibility as human beings and our desire to seek peaceful co-existence with those around us and more importantly too is to make it up with God. 

It also carries a second dimension of reciprocity in that we seek to forgive and to obtain forgiveness from others with the deepest remorse. The body of Christ should exemplify a forgiving community, a model for the world to learn from. We should be more willing to forgive those who wrong us even if they do not seek forgiveness from us. It all depends on us not on them. We are covenant people; they are not.

John 10:10 says “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Why should Satan rob us of the abundant joy that is in Christ by stealing our liberty and destroying our relationship with others yet Jesus came to liberate us into abundant life in him?....God will make a way where there appears to be no way because He is faithful. 

Hebrews 12:13-15 says “And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. {straight: or, even} 14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” It is God's perfect will that His children live in a harmonious relationships where trespasses are forgiven and God's people are continually restored from the negative effects of unforgiveness and bitterness.

October 13 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Nancy Simpson
Yes, I can forgive in my heart for sin that was inflicted upon me by another. However, if this person will not admit their sin and you decided to forgive them anyway even though you can no longer trust them. Also, you know in your heart they will also be looking for a way to hurt or destroy you again where they failed the first time. I get a great deal of satisfaction knowing, if you forgive them in your heart, but this person is not trustworthy, you still can protect yourself by turning the other cheek and get on with your life.

September 07 2017 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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