Forgiveness is a huge subject and certainly one in which the Bible is not silent. In the Bible we can read about our amazing and loving Heavenly Father who forgives us of all trespasses. God calls sinners to seek Him and promises them forgiveness. It is because of His great mercy and grace that God rescues the believer from the dominion of darkness that began way back in the Garden. Jesus extends a loving invitation for forgiveness of sins which is only possible through His shed blood. He gave His life so that we may live. We are forgiven because He was forsaken – That is amazing love! Here are some encouraging Scripture quotes about forgiveness.
Isaiah 55:6-7 “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
God’s Character is Forgiving
Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Psalm 86:4-5 Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Psalm 103:8-12 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
Jesus Invites and Forgives
Matthew 5:22-24 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Matthew 11:28-30 “… Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Luke 7:47-48 “…Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Jesus speaking to the accusers and the woman caught in adultery)
Luke 23:43 “…Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Jesus speaking to the thief on the cross)
John 4:13-14 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (Jesus speaking to the woman at the well)
God’s Gift to All – The Only Way
Acts 4:10-12 “… let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Peter speaking to the rulers of the people and the elders at Jerusalem)
Acts 10:42-43 “…And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” (Peter speaking of what Jesus commanded the Apostles to do)
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
Ephesians 1:7-10 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
Colossians 1:13-14 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The Christian’s Attitude of Forgiveness
Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you (attitude: forgive because you love the Lord)
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (attitude: can love cover it?)
2 Corinthians 2:5-8 Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. (attitude: stand ready to forgive)
Galatians 6:1-2 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. (attitude: approach gently and stand ready to restore the relationship)
Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.(attitude: loving and forgiving just like God forgave you)
Christian Quotes About Forgiveness
“A forgiveness ought to be like a canceled note, torn in two and burned up, so that it can never be shown against the man. “ ~ Henry Ward Beecher
“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” ~ Corrie Ten Boom
“Man has two great spiritual needs. One is for forgiveness. The other is for goodness.” ~ Billy Graham
“Forgiving and being forgiven are two names for the same thing. The important thing is that a discord has been resolved.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“To err is human, to forgive, divine.” ~ Alexander Pope
Looking For Something Else? Here are some more Bible verses and pages about forgiveness that you might want to check out:
Bible stories about forgiveness David Peach shares some examples in the Bible which illustrate the forgiving character of God toward His people.
5 Bible Lessons about forgiveness also written by David Peach, in this article David shares more real life examples of how forgiving our Heavenly Father is to His creation.
Songs about forgiveness is a collection of songs that speak of forgiveness.
George Bernard Shaw is often quoted as saying that the United States and Britain are two countries separated by a common language. Watching part of the celebrated production of “The Bible” that concludes this Sunday evening, I find myself thinking that Judaism and Christianity are two faiths separated by a common Scripture.
This approach may seem counter intuitive: Surely what separates Jews from Christians must be what Christians refer to as the “New Testament” — the story of the birth of Jesus and how his life, death and resurrection form the basis for a new religion. However, as a Jew and as a rabbi, I find that many of the stories of Jesus and his followers stand alone as sources that contain wisdom and depth that can inspire people to care for one another and seek closeness to G*d. While I, like many, do not include these Scriptures as a part of my personal faith, I can learn from them as I do the sacred Scriptures of other faiths.
Where the greater challenge arises, however, is seeing my own traditions, beliefs and sacred sources interwoven with Christianity in such a way that they become the prelude and later the counterpoint to the Christian faith. The stories told by “The Bible” are animated by this perspective and the producers in their choices of excerpts, casting and pacing have fashioned a testament to their deeply held belief of the univocity and seamlessness of their account that runs as a record of G*d’s interaction in history through prophets from Noah through Jesus, each in turn occupying the same stage and playing of a variation of the same script that begins with the Creation of the Universe and moves inexorably to a Day of Judgment. I have had mixed feelings watching it.
The parts that I saw made a strong impression and caused me to think differently about stories I have studied many times. However, the clarity of the television production is a blessing and a curse. The language of the Bible is often ambiguous, opening up multiple readings and spurring commentaries from scholars of Judaism and Christianity. While “The Bible” could be seen as just one more set of interpretations, the nature of the medium of television is to come across as the definitive version taking the written word directly to the screen. Instead of encountering the mystery and ambiguity that makes the Bible the fertile ground for new interpretations, the viewer is given a whole package that can stand on its own.
One episode, titled “Hope,” began with the dark days of the destruction of the first Temple and, after spending a significant time on the story of Daniel, shifted the scene to Bethlehem and the dawn of Christianity. Part of what was skipped was the story of Ezra and Nehemiah who help create the revival of the Jewish tradition after the Babylonian exile. These sections are more than just missing pieces to the picture. The significance of the role of Ezra is that he is seen in Jewish tradition as a precursor to the leadership that eventually will become Rabbinic Judaism, the Jewish heir to the Law of Moses and the foundation of Judaism as it is known today. The sages that carry this torch forward though the same period in which Jesus preached were neither automatons, nor monolithic in their understanding of the Law. They gave the world the humility of Hillel who declared, what is hateful to your neighbor do not do; the genius of Ben Zoma, who said that one who was truly wise was the one who learned from each other person; and the piety of Rabbi Akiba, who declared his faith in G*d even as his flesh was raked with sharp combs by the Romans. These sages were among those who are also known as the Pharisees.
Ironically, even as the series comes to an end, this week brings another overlap of the Jewish and Christian traditions. Jewish communities are celebrating the Passover holiday, highlighted by the ritual retelling of the Exodus at the Seder and Christians are reaching the pinnacle of a Holy Season with the observance of Easter. This used to be a time fraught with danger for Jewish communities in Europe as a toxic mix of suspicion, fear and bigotry would often spill over into blood libels, pogroms and other assaults on the Jewish minority. Some of this danger had its source in the emphasis on just those elements of the Gospels which focus on the complicity of Jews in the crucifixion of Jesus. However, while enmity between different faiths is by no means wholly resolved, more and more the confluence of Easter and Passover has become an opportunity for celebrants of different faiths to learn from each other. At our Seder, we had guests from all different backgrounds, including friends who wanted to learn about how Jews keep alive the memory of the Exodus and its message of both peoplehood and universal values of freedom. At the same time Easter has become an opportunity to learn more about how my friends and neighbors are inspired by their understanding of the Bible, especially the stories of the Gospel.
There are many ways to be Jewish and many ways to be Christian. My experience has been that we have much to learn and little to fear from exploring each other’s tradition. While an event like “The Bible” can be a conversation starter and in that way can initiate bridge-building and meaningful interaction, I much prefer the interaction that grows from being able to learn directly from one another, drawing from what is personally inspiring for my neighbor and sharing what is most meaningful in my own encounter with Scripture and tradition.
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Article courtesy of Rabbi Michael Berstein, written for the Huffington Post