It may seem that a few verses where people are instructed to forgive others if they are to be forgiven by God are a bit harsh. But there is an inspiring story quoted which may make them seem less so. And biblical forgiveness is apparently an act of the will, a resolution not to bear ill will against a person that could cause them any type of suffering, (which doesn't mean not taking them to court for rightful retribution,) rather than an emotion-led response.
Ephesians chapter 4 (TEV)
31 Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort.
32 Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ.
Proverbs chapter 17 (TEV)
9 If you want people to like you, forgive them when they wrong you. Remembering wrongs can break up a friendship.
Colossians chapter 3 (TEV)
13 Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you.
Luke chapter 17 (GWT)
1 Jesus told his disciples, 3 "If a believer sins, correct him. If he changes the way he thinks and acts, forgive him. 4 Even if he wrongs you seven times in one day and comes back to you seven times and says that he is sorry, forgive him."
Matthew chapter 18 (NIV)
21 Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"
22 Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
23 "Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 "The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.'
27 The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 "But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.
29 "His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'
30 "But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.
31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 "Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34 In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."
This article is about forgiving oneself for things, but the health benefits may equally apply when forgiving others.
Matthew chapter 6 (NLT)
14 "If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
I read a book called The Hiding Place by a Christian woman called Corrie Ten Boom, who was imprisoned by the Nazis in World War II for hiding Jews in her home. She had an experience of the power that she says God can give to help people forgive.
She says that her and her older sister, Betsie, were sent to Ravensbruck, the "notorious women's extermination camp". Betsie became weak through illness, the harsh conditions and the lack of food, and died there. But Corrie was released, and went back to her native Netherlands.
After the war, Corrie Ten Boom bought a large house in a place called Bloemendall where people who were recovering from their time in concentration camps could go. She did speaking tours around Europe, partly to finance it. One of the places she went was Germany.
She says that one day, one of her former jailers was listening to her speak. She writes:
"He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing.
"How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein," he said. "To think that, as you say, he has washed my sins away!"
His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.
Even while the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more?
Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me, and help me to forgive him.
I tried to smile; I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing; not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer: Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness.
As I took his hand, the most incredible thing happened. Through my shoulder, along my arm and through my hand, a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.
And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness, any more than on our goodness, that the world's healing hinges, but on his. When he tells us to love our enemies, he gives, along with the command, the love itself.
1 Peter chapter 2 (TEV)
21 Christ himself suffered for you and left you an example, so that you would follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, and no one ever heard a lie come from his lips. 23 When he was insulted, he did not answer back with an insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but placed his hopes in God, the righteous Judge.
24 Christ himself carried our sins in his body to the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness.
1 Thessalonians chapter 5 (TEV)
15 See that no one pays back wrong for wrong, but at all times make it your aim to do good to one another and to all people.
1 Peter chapter 1 (TEV)
13 ... have your minds ready for action. Keep alert and set your hope completely on the blessing which will be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
14 Be obedient to God, and do not allow your lives to be shaped by those desires you had when you were still ignorant. 15 Instead, be holy in all that you do, just as God who called you is holy. 16 The scripture says, "Be holy because I am holy."
Colossians chapter 3 (TEV)
1 You have been raised to life with Christ, so set your hearts on the things that are in heaven, where Christ sits on his throne at the right side of God. 2 Keep your minds fixed on things there, not on things here on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 Your real life is Christ and when he appears, then you too will appear with him and share his glory!
Hebrews chapter 12 (NLT)
22 ... you have come ... to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to thousands of angels in joyful assembly. 23 ... You have come to God himself, who is the judge of all people. And you have come to the spirits of the redeemed in heaven who have now been made perfect. 24 You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people,
Romans chapter 8 (TEV)
16 God's Spirit joins himself to our spirits to declare that we are God's children.
17 Since we are his children, we will possess the blessings he keeps for his people, and we will also possess with Christ what God has kept for him; for if we share Christ's suffering, we will also share his glory. 18 I consider that what we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.
Romans chapter 12 (TEV)
12 Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times.
2 Corinthians chapter 4 (NLT)
14 We know that the same God who raised our Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself along with you. 16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! 18 So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.
2 Corinthians chapter 5 (NLT)
1 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down - when we die and leave these bodies - we will have a home in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. 2 We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long for the day when we will put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. 3 For we will not be spirits without bodies, but we will put on new heavenly bodies.
5 God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit. 6 So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord.
8 Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. 9 So our aim is to please him always, ... 10 For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in our bodies. 11 It is because we know this solemn fear of the Lord that we work so hard to persuade others.
1 Corinthians chapter 15 (NLT)
12 But tell me this - since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead?
13 For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either.
14 And if Christ was not raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your trust in God is useless.
15 And we apostles would all be lying about God, for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave, but that can't be true if there is no resurrection of the dead.
16 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised.
17 And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless, and you are still under condemnation for your sins.
18 In that case, all who have died believing in Christ have perished!
19 And if we have hope in Christ only for this life, we are the most miserable people in the world.
20 But the fact is that Christ has been raised from the dead. He has become the first of a great harvest of those who will be raised to life again. 23 Christ was raised first; then when Christ comes back, all his people will be raised. 24 After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having put down all enemies of every kind.
30 Why should we ourselves be continually risking our lives, facing death hour by hour? 31 For I swear, dear brothers and sisters, I face death daily. 32 ... If there is no resurrection, "Let's feast and get drunk, for tomorrow we die!" 33 Don't be fooled by those who say such things, for "bad company corrupts good character." 34 Come to your senses and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don't even know God.
35 But someone may ask, "How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?"
43 Our bodies now disappoint us, but when they are raised, they will be full of glory. They are weak now, but when they are raised, they will be full of power. 44 They are natural human bodies now, but when they are raised, they will be spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, so also there are spiritual bodies. 50 What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These perishable bodies of ours are not able to live forever.
51 But let me tell you a wonderful secret God has revealed to us. Not all of us will die, but we will all be transformed. 52 It will happen in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, the Christians who have died will be raised with transformed bodies. And then we who are living will be transformed so that we will never die. 53 For our perishable earthly bodies must be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die.
54 When this happens - when our perishable earthly bodies have been transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die - then at last the Scriptures will come true: "Death is swallowed up in victory."
1 Thessalonians chapter 4 (NLT)
13 And now, brothers and sisters, I want you to know what will happen to the Christians who have died so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope.
14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Christians who have died.
15 I can tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not rise to meet him ahead of those who are in their graves. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the call of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, all the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with him forever.
18 So comfort and encourage each other with these words.
1 Thessalonians chapter 5 (NLT)
1 I really don't need to write to you about how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters. 2 For you know quite well that the day of the Lord will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. 3 When people are saying, "All is well; everything is peaceful and secure," then disaster will fall upon them as suddenly as a woman's birth pains begin when her child is about to be born. And there will be no escape.
4 But you aren't in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won't be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. 5 For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don't belong to darkness and night.
Revelation chapter 21 (TEV)
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth disappeared, and the sea vanished. 2 And I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared and ready, like a bride dressed to meet her husband. 3 I heard a loud voice speaking from the throne:
"Now God's home is with people! He will live with them, and they shall be his people. God himself will be with them, and he will be their God. 4 He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have disappeared."
Isaiah chapter 35 (TEV)
2 Everyone will see the Lord's splendor, see his greatness and power.
3 Give strength to hands that are tired and to knees that tremble with weakness. 4 Tell everyone who is discouraged, "Be strong and don't be afraid! God is coming to your rescue, coming to punish your enemies."
5 The blind will be able to see, and the deaf will hear.
6 The lame will leap and dance, and those who cannot speak will shout for joy.
Streams of water will flow through the desert;
7 the burning sand will become a lake, and dry land will be filled with springs.
Where jackals used to live, marsh grass and reeds will grow.
8 There will be a highway there, called "The Road of Holiness."
No sinner will ever travel that road; no fools will mislead those who follow it.
9 No lions will be there; no fierce animals will pass that way.
Those whom the Lord has rescued will travel home by that road.
10 They will reach Jerusalem with gladness, singing and shouting for joy.
They will be happy forever, forever free from sorrow and grief.
The main Bible pages on this site:
|Bible Part 1: Bible Quotations, The Holy Spirit, People And Their Stories|
|Bible Part 2: The Lives and Suffering of the Ancient Israelites|
|Bible Part 3: The Bible, Articles About Alleged Inaccuracies in it, And Stories of People who Became Christians.|
|Or go directly to the next in the series: Abraham, the first ever Jew.|
The selections of Bible quotations have been put together by Diana Holbourn.
Throughout this series, wherever the initials TEV appear, they stand for Today's English Version (The Good News Bible).Other initials:
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There are a lot of pages on this website with quotations from the Old Testament on them. Many of these are unfortunately rather gruesome, since the main theme of the Old Testament is warnings and stories about how it says societies were punished for mass lawless and hurtful behaviour, even to the extent of having war brought on them by God, that seem to have been designed to scare societies where crime and violence were rampant into behaving more ethically. In case there is any misunderstanding, it should be understood that this website does not endorse war as anything other than a last resort. The position of the website owner can be gleaned from the articles:
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