He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass if he would ever reach heaven; for everyone has need to be forgiven.
– George Herbert
God forgives only the penitent, and one of the chief evidences of true penitence is a forgiving spirit. – John Stott
The only way we can find ourselves is to deny ourselves. That’s Christ’s teaching. If you try to cling to yourself, you will lose yourself. And of course, the unwillingness to forgive is the ultimate act of not wanting to let yourself go. You want to defend yourself, assert yourself, protect yourself, and so on. – Thomas Hopko, quoted by Jim Forest in The Ladder of the Beatitudes
Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hate. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.
– Corrie ten Boom
There is a risk involved in your heartfelt forgiveness. Your offender may continue their disrespectful, potentially harmful behavior. They may take advantage of your goodwill. Your forgiveness is no guarantee they will change, but you will change. Christ will conform you into His work of grace, mercy and love. God will deal with the unruly ones in His timing. Their conscience is the Holy Spirit’s auditor who will bring them into account. Your heartfelt forgiveness reveals God’s heart. – Boyd Bailey
Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting it to kill the other person.
–JD Walt, Vice President for Community Life, Asbury Theological Seminary
To forgive is to set a prisoner free, and discover that the prisoner is you.
– Lewis Smedes
I would never say to someone ‘you must forgive’. I would not dare. Who am I to tell a woman whose father abused her or a mother whose daughter has been raped that she must forgive? I can only say: ‘However much we have been wronged, however justified our hatred, if we cherish it, it will poison us……We must pray for the power to forgive, for it is in forgiving that we are healed.’ -Sheila Cassidy
Accepting forgiveness is the liberating key to the debtor’s prison of resentment where you sit in the self-imposed, fetid debris of your life.- Suzanne Guthrie
Once a woman has forgiven a man, she must not re-heat his sins for breakfast.
The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you.
–John E. Southard
A man cannot forgive up to four hundred and ninety times without forgiveness becoming a part of the habit structure of his being. Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude. -Martin Luther King, Jr.
Our forgiveness begins as a response to our being forgiven. It is not so much an act of generosity toward our fellow offending human beings as an act of gratitude toward our forgiving God. – Willimon and Hauerwas, Lord Teach Us
In commanding us to forgive, Jesus is inviting us to take charge, to turn the world around, to throw a monkey wrench in the eternal wheel of retribution and vengeance. We don’t have silently to suffer the hurt, to lick our wounds, lying in wait for the day when we shall at last be able to return the blow that was dealt to us. We can take charge, turn things around, be victors rather than victims. We can forgive.
– Willimon and Hauerwas, Lord Teach Us
1 John 1:8-9 (NRSV)
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Psalm 32:1-5 (NLT)
Oh, what joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
Click here for an incredible powerful reflection by Steve Garnaas-Holmes entitled A Dozen Eggs of Forgiveness.
For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.