• This is for You...

Benefits of Forgiveness

Updated: Jan 19

I'm going to start by saying, I know what it is to live without forgiveness... There was a time in my life when there was NO forgiveness for myself or others. I lived a pretty cynical life for a while and trust and forgiveness were foreign and unreal to me. I added trust to my last statement, because when unforgiveness has a hold of our hearts, we can't fully trust anyone, no matter how loving, kind and honest they are. Sometimes the wounds are so deep that visiting the events in our heads (just a glimpse of them), brings anxiety and fear. Our brains go into "fight or flight" mode, and instead of giving the Holy Spirit full control (fight) to lead us into battle for our healing and consolation (which will lead to forgiveness), we quickly shut down (flight).

As people that made the decision to be led by Christ and live for Him, surrender is needed in the path to forgiveness. Our flesh quickly takes over to say "no, no, no! I can't do it! I won't do it! They don't deserve it!" The wonderful thing about this is that we CAN forgive and many times they DON'T deserve it. But the great news is, this forgiving business is NOT FOR THEM, it is for YOU and ME. There are so many benefits to forgiving (in addition to biblical truths), that you can find many secular, peer-reviewed studies confirming the benefits for our mental and physical health. Now, let me take a few steps back... I said "they don't deserve" our forgiveness. Well, did we deserve God's forgiveness and salvation? Did we deserve anyone else to forgive us? But our Father is perfect, merciful, graceful, faithful, forgiving and He called us to forgive just as He forgives (Mat. 6: 14). Jesus said if we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven (Mat. 6:15). Paul told the church in Colossae the following: "For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins (Col. 1:13-14, NLT)." Since we have been transferred into Jesus' Kingdom from the kingdom of darkness, our behaviors and choices should be against the norms of the latter. Forgiveness is a choice we all make - it isn't an emotion or feeling. Thanks to Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit to help us in this difficult yet freeing choice.

What is forgiveness?

As I mentioned previously, forgiveness is a choice we make. We make this choice for our benefit and well being - mentally, physically, and spiritually. In Matthew 5:48 we are told to be perfect as our Father which is in heaven is perfect. Thus, we can add that forgiveness is a trait we receive from our Father.

Merriam Webster defines forgiveness as:

  • to cease to feel resentment against (an offender)

  • to give up resentment of or claim to requital

  • to grant relief from payment of

  • to cease to have feelings of anger or bitterness toward

Who is forgiveness for?

Forgiveness is for everyone. We cannot pick and choose who we are going to forgive.

"And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you for your offenses (Mark 11:25, NASB)." Jesus did not exclude certain offenses or people from forgiveness.

God's forgiveness is for everyone:

Jesus took our place on the cross and made God's grace inexhaustible for us. Forgiveness is always available through Jesus for those that want it (all day, everyday).

  • "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8)."

  • 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, NIV)."

  • "The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him (Daniel 9:9, NIV)."

  • "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19, KJV)."

Benefits of God's forgiveness

Being children of God

  • "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust (Mat. 5:44-45, KJV)."

  • "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him (Romans 8:14-17)."

Experience His loving peace

  • "Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory (Ro. 5:1-2)."

  • "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you (Is. 26:3, ESV)."

Work of the Holy Spirit in us

  • "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth (John 16:13, NLT)."

  • "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Gal. 5:22-24, NIV)."

Benefits of forgiving ourselves

Allows hope, joy and love

  • "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love (Ro. 5:3‭-‬5, NLT)."

Love ourselves in a healthy way

  • "And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these (Mark 12:30‭-‬31, NLT).”

Accept healthy relationships in our lives

  • "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 (1 Cor. 13:4-7, ESV)."

  • "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing (1 Thes. 5:11, ESV)."

Benefits of forgiving others

We receive God's forgiveness

  • "But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins (Mat. 6:15, NLT)."

Experience healing and consolation

  • "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort (2 Cor. 1:3-7)."

Physical, mental and emotional health benefits


Forgiving does not equal forgetting

The famous saying "forgive and forget" brings the terrible misconception that for us to forgive, we somehow have to forget the offense. This is a false statement and it is very damaging for someone attempting to choose forgiveness. As humans, we don't have the capability to automatically erase an event from our minds. Forgiveness is a choice, but the healing and change in us can take time. It's a process that involves being intentional daily. We are blessed with the Holy Spirit's comfort and guidance through it.

Forgiving does not mean continuing in volatile situations (Boundaries are important)

Another skewed perception is that forgiving means continuing in relationships where the offender has the chance to reoffend. We can still forgive even if we don't trust the person. Trust and forgiveness are two totally different things. Forgiveness is literally releasing the desire to hold the offender accountable for their actions. Removing yourself from the risk of being wounded again is very important for your well-being. Proverbs 4:21-27 says: "My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body. Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech. Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil (NLT)."

Feeling certain emotions does not mean you haven't forgiven

I've heard many people say that if you still feel hurt, you haven't forgiven. This can keep us in a cycle of guilt and hopelessness. With prayer/fasting, Holy Spirit, Scripture and even counseling therapy, we can achieve complete restoration.

Jesus prayed: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34, KJV)." - we should also pray for those who've offended us and ask for God's mercy over them. Throughout Jesus' ministry, He showed a forgiving heart to all. Even to the very end at the cross - after being spat on, whipped, pushed, punched, kicked, mocked, and hung on the cross. Even then, He prayed for His Father to forgive all who had assaulted Him. Although He was penalized with death for those He loved, He continued walking to the cross and allowed to be hung for those very people. For them and us. So dear sister and brother, why wouldn't we consider this testimony as the very answer to why we should make the choice to forgive?

I love you and I'm praying for you!

This is for You!