5 Steps To Forgiveness According To The Bible

Forgiveness is essential to Christian living and it can be a struggle sometimes to exercise it in a fallen world.

Every person has encountered hurt, pain, and wrongdoing in some degree or fashion and as Christians, we have a duty to forgive those who hurt us. Jesus Christ enables us to forgive.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean acceptance, it doesn’t mean trusting the person, but it means releasing and letting go of the debt of that person who has done wrong. Biblical forgiveness doesn’t have to be difficult if we follow the Scriptures and trust God’s sovereignty.

How many times is forgiveness mentioned in the Bible?

The word forgiveness appears 15 times, forgive shows up 121 times, and forgiven makes an appearance a total of 55 times. All these instances of the word(s) are according to the NIV version of the Bible located on Biblegateway.com.

The Power of Forgiveness in the Bible

The power of forgiveness in the Bible is evident most profoundly in the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. Matthew 26:28 states, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’

The power of forgiveness is the blood of the covenant, which is the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. It’s through this blood we obtain forgiveness of the sins in which we have committed against God.

Forgiveness In The Bible Bible Verses About Forgiveness Picture of Open Bible

52 Bible Verses About Forgiveness

This collection of Bible verses comes from the New Testament. Jesus teaches us a lot when it comes to forgiving others in our lives and it’s important that we fully understand the importance of forgiveness in our life.

As Christians, we have an obligation not only to forgive others who wrong us but to love those who mistreat us. I implore you brothers and sisters in Christ to carefully study God’s Word and the passages below.

Don’t let the root of bitterness destroy you, but instead, cling to the power of forgiveness that God offers us through His Word in wisdom and in truth.

We have been forgiven of so much, it’s our job to extend that forgiveness to others.

Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. Matthew 12:32

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Matthew 18:21

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” Matthew 18:35

This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Matthew 26:28

And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Mark 1:4

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:5

“Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Mark 2:7

Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? Mark 2:9

But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, Mark 2:10

Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, Mark 3:28

but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” Mark 3:29

so that, “‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’” Mark 4:12

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25

to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, Luke 1:77

He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Luke 3:3

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” Luke 5:20

The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Luke 5:21

Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? Luke 5:23

But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Luke 5:24

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37

Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. Luke 7:43

Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Luke 7:47

Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Luke 7:48

The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Luke 7:49

Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’” Luke 11:4

And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. Luke 12:10

So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Luke 17:3

Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” Luke 17:4

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. Luke 23:34

and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Luke 24:47

If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” John 20:23

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. Acts 5:31

Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. Acts 8:22

All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Acts 10:43

“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Acts 13:38

to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ Acts 26:18

Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Romans 4:7

How were you inferior to the other churches, except that I was never a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong! 2 Corinthians 12:13

Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 2 Corinthians 2:7

Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 2 Corinthians 2:10

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Hebrews 8:12

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace Ephesians 1:7

in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:14

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:22

And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary. Hebrews 10:18

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. James 5:15

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. 1 John 2:12

Now forgive my sin once more and pray to the Lord your God to take this deadly plague away from me.” Exodus 10:17

‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept. Genesis 50:17

5 Steps To Forgiveness According To The Bible

1. Analyze Your Emotions

Ask yourself the hard questions. 

Am I easily offended?

Did this person mean to hurt me?

Is there a chance this was an accident? 

Going through these questions internally will help you get to the roots of what truly happened. The Bible tells us in Philippians 2:3, ‘value others above yourselves.’

This Scripture shines a light on the fact that we struggle with this daily.

We have to hold each other above ourselves and part of doing that requires us to think about the other person.

Maybe the offender had no idea they harmed you or offended you by their words or actions. This isn’t always the case, but oftentimes people aren’t even aware of what they do.

2. Realize God Has Forgiven You

In the Bible, more specifically in Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus teaches warns us about the unforgiving servant. Jesus goes as far as to call that servant ‘wicked.’ I encourage you to read the passage for yourself.

The point is God has forgiven us of our sin and we need to transcend that forgiveness to other people. People often confuse forgiveness for trust, acceptance or condoning behavior and these ideas of forgiveness is far from the Biblical truth of forgiveness. You can forgive someone without being okay with what had happened, you can forgive someone without trusting that person for a long time or ever.

When we keep in mind just how much God has forgiven us, we will be better equipped to forgive others.

“When we keep in mind just how much God has forgiven us, we will be better equipped to forgive others.”

3. Pray for Yourself

All throughout the Scripture, we see people of God praying.

Even Jesus Christ, who was God in the flesh, was praying and asking for help!

Prayer shouldn’t be the last resort, but a first priority for Christian living.

Matthew 7:7 tell us to, ‘Ask and it will be given; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.’

God can help us when we allow Him into our lives, hearts, and minds. It’s through prayer we are not only able to communicate to God but to build a relationship and reliance on Him.

Biblical Forgiveness - Christian Living - Man On Knees

4. Pray for Your Offender

Scripture is very clear on how we are to treat offenders in this life.

Matthew 5:44 says, ‘love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.’

This is an easy verse to read, but not an easy verse to practice. Loving people that have inflicted harm onto us is impossible without the power of God’s love and forgiveness working through us.

We must remember that God is sovereign and He will right the wrongs. It’s not our job to right the wrongs done by people. It’s only God’s place to do so.

Praying for those who have hurt us and offended us requires us to tap into the power and love that God possesses.

A fake prayer for someone you dislike isn’t pleasing to the Lord and it’s not fooling Him either. This act of praying for others that have harmed us in some way can only come after steps 1-3.

5. Depend and Trust in God

After we have worked through our emotions, realized how much God has forgiven us, prayed for ourselves, prayed for those who hurt us, we finally arrive at the natural final step that is a result from putting into practice each step previously mentioned.

As we forgive others and rely on God to do so, we need to depend on and trust in God daily. He is the only one that will never let us down in this life and He is the only true provider for peace, joy, and love. Giving your heart, your concerns and everything you have to the Lord. He is trustworthy and He is perfect (read more about trusting God here).

Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.

Psalm 55:22

Relying on God isn’t simply a pretty saying we tell ourselves is true, but an action we must take every single day of our life.

It’s only through a relationship with God and allowing Him to sustain us that we can truly forgive others.

Would you like to read a story about this type of Biblical forgiveness? Check out my best-selling Christian romance “One Faithful Prayer.” It’s about a woman who lied about a GIANT secret for ten years to someone very important in her life. I had a blast writing it and I learned so much about Biblical forgiveness through telling the story. Learn more about by reading below.

Biblical Forgiveness Story - One Faithful Prayer by T.K. Chapin - book cover

A Story About Biblical Forgiveness…

One Faithful Prayer is an inspirational Christian romance about past hurts, healing, and the power of God in a Christian’s life. Inspiring and uplifting, this story encourages faithful Christians who seek to grow in their relationship and understanding of Jesus Christ.

“Features well-developed characters that you become vested in, and care about the outcome of their lives.” – Jen & John

“ I couldn’t stop reading this book and I would give it a higher rating than a five star review if I could!” – Debbie Jamieson

Will pull on your heartstrings!” – Ann Ferri

View on Amazon