Why We Should Forgive Others

Do you think you need to forgive anyone?

Think about it. Sometimes there are situations where forgiveness might be an obvious goal, like when a significant other or close friend forgets your birthday or your co-workers neglect to tell you that they’re going out to lunch together. Those situations that call for forgiveness may have happened yesterday or last week, or they may have occurred long ago, like when you’re upset about what a parent did to you when you were a child.

But are there situations where you can forgive others when they might not even be aware that they’ve wronged you? Those situations can happen every day, like when someone cuts you off on the highway or jumps ahead in line at the drug store. They might be situations where you feel helpless or angered, such as when friends and others deride you or make fun of your political or moral beliefs on social media.

According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, forgiving someone means to cease or feel resentment against a person. The Bible defines forgiveness as offering grace to those who have offended you because you have been given grace to God through Christ Jesus. Colossians 3:13 says, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others (NLT).”

Letting go of grudges against someone doesn’t mean that you excuse them for what they did or let them run over you. It does mean that instead of having resentment fester in you, you give that resentment to God. And in so doing, you open yourself up to his peace and to a greater understanding of his mercy. That person or group of people may never admit their wrongdoings towards you, but because you’ve forgiven them, they no longer have any power over you.

So, do you think you need to forgive anyone?

One way to find out is to pray. Ask God to reveal to you whether you’ve been harboring any grudges and resentment. If he does bring about someone to mind, don’t be ashamed; rather, be grateful that God has given you the opportunity to be free from being resentful.

Continue to pray for yourself and for whoever has wronged you. Speak Bible verses over them and yourself, such as, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).” Sometimes you might not want to forgive; if that happens, ask for God’s grace and help in leading you to forgive. Other times, you might be led to constantly forgive a person, or you might need to communicate with that person or with a trusted friend about what’s bothering you.

In the end, what’s great about forgiving others and remembering God’s mercy towards you and them is that it enables and equips you to pray for them. In that way, you can “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44 NIV),” not because you know that you’re right and they’re wrong but because you realize how all of us need God’s grace and mercy.