Biblical Forgiveness (what they neglect to tell you)

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Does True Forgiveness Require Your Death?

What is Biblical forgiveness? How do we find it?


If we are in Messiah, daily dying to our old self, living in the promise of our new life should be our focus- right? It may not come with ease, but let us strive in that direction daily.

According to Paul, baptism is training to die – dying to sin and our old self – being raised into Messiah.

My late cousin, Gary Linden often spoke about “TP” (torture practice). Any injuries, of which he suffered many; he embraced joyfully, as TP. This is a great way to embrace emotional injuries also. It may at times feel torturous practicing Biblical forgiveness.

Tortured For ChristTortured For ChristTortured For Christ

Biblical Forgiveness and Grace

Biblical forgiveness and grace from the Messiah should encourage us to a new perspective on such experiences as betrayal, rejection, unkindness, hurts, etc.

Most of us have been

what is true forgiveness blessed reject scriptures on

-both a victim and a victimizer

-both a betrayer and the betrayed

Messiah’s true forgiveness and grace give us a fresh and grace-filled perspective.

How? Hope! for a new future in Him!

What is Biblical forgiveness?

  • is it primarily an absolution from guilt?
  • or is it primarily for the restoration and reconciliation of communion and brokenness?

Is Biblical forgiveness confined to:

-a word spoken

-a feeling felt

-an action to be completed


-a way of life to be lived faithfully in YHVH’s kingdom?

We are called to Biblical forgiveness and that includes unlearning patterns of sinful behavior. AND striving for reconciliation wherever there is brokenness in our life.

And, Friends, if that is the kind of true forgiveness Yeshua/Jesus is asking of us, then, without a doubt, this does require our death.

Embodying Forgiveness: A Theological AnalysisEmbodying Forgiveness: A Theological AnalysisEmbodying Forgiveness: A Theological Analysis

Dietriech Bonhoeffer and Cheap Grace

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian who eventually died at the hands of the Nazis, daily walked, studied and embodied true forgiveness. The Biblical Scriptures on forgiveness were his life.

“The petition for the kingdom is not the begging of the anxious soul for its’ own salvation. It is not Christian trimmings to be used by those who would reform the world. It is rather the petition of the battling and suffering congregation in the world on behalf of the human race, asking that God fully manifest His glory in it” Bonhoeffer, Thy Kingdom Come..

Bonhoeffer spoke against ‘cheap grace’. 

And he admonished the following as cheap grace:

-forgiveness without requiring repentance.

-baptism without discipline.

-communion without confession.

-absolution without personal confession.

Cheap grace isn’t really about the deliverance for the sinner. It asks nothing of the sinner – no change in the way of living, no need to die or rise with the Messiah.

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, SpyBonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, SpyBonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

The Cost of DiscipleshipThe Cost of DiscipleshipThe Cost of DiscipleshipLetters and Papers from PrisonLetters and Papers from PrisonLetters and Papers from Prison


Bonhoeffer concludes “cheap grace, therefore, amounts to a denial of the living Word of God, in fact, a denial of the Incarnation of the Word of God.”

He was quite aware that the church in his day, had, for the most part, been unable to resist Hitler. Many of his thoughts and writings are in consideration of this dilemma. He sought to reach other believers with the scriptures on forgiveness he studied in His Bible. The Word of God.

Bonhoeffer knew forgiveness to be costly.
He believed that forgiveness in a Bible-based Christian community included:


choose to overcome with biblical forgiveness



-love for enemies

-and that sin could not be overlooked or swept under the rug but was to be confronted and dealt within the context of the Bible’s scriptures on forgiveness.

True Biblical Forgiveness

Forgiveness – We’ve been sold a weak, impotent and without value version of forgiveness. Our culture, be it secular, Christian or Messianic consistently preaches that forgiving is for the forgiver’s benefit. It is about what I get in return for forgiving – the rewards.

The benefits, without a doubt, are significant and real. Forgiveness removes bitterness and strife. And allows one to move on past the offense.

What injured party doesn’t want these rewards? Yet, in reality, to truly reap this recompense, our motivation to forgive must be motivated by more than what I get out of the deal.

It’s a long, hard process to work through and embrace. Even more difficult to live out forgiveness and to abide in it.

Total ForgivenessTotal ForgivenessTotal Forgiveness

We have to choose it and work hard to overcome our misconceptions in regards to forgiveness. 

My Log – Bible Scriptures on Forgiveness

 We must be willing to first look hard in the mirror and take that log out of our own eyes before we can even consider forgiving our brother for the splinter in his.

Forgiveness is or should be a deep work of humility, a death to the pride that so enslaves us.

In reality, forgiveness is one of the hardest and yet, most fruitful endeavors you can undertake.

Our relationships with YHVH and others should motivate us to seek more profound and meaningful relationships. Forgiveness can transform, not just acquit! As we seek to practice forgiveness, we should endeavor to unlearn what divides and destroys. Learn to see and live as forgiven and forgiving.

Biblical forgiveness and repentance are worth talking through and about. It is wholly worthy to confess, one to another and repents of our wayward ways. Whether they be accidental, intentional, thoughtless or premeditated. To be free, we must repent, confess and wholly humble ourselves before God and man.

they sinned against me -scriptures on forgiveness

Wait! There is no way I need to repent – they sinned against me!

Without argument, there are many situations where this is true. Humans routinely enact evil, violent and otherwise horrific pain on innocents.

Dig deep and search your heart and Scriptures on Biblical Forgiveness

Relational betrayals and disputations are mostly two-sided. Unique is the person that does not in some way contribute to an issue/altercation in which they are involved in. 

It is rarely simple and in most cases, repentance from all parties is in order, though, some will hold greater responsibility than others. But for true reconciliation, all parties must go after their own logs with vigor and deep humility.

Pretending that pain and trauma did not happen is not forgiveness. Scriptures on forgiveness make that clear. It’s just pretending. Refusing to hear one another out or consider your part precludes any hope of restoration.

The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal ConflictThe Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal ConflictThe Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict

The Transparency that allows Confession

Relationships – full of potential, never perfection.

Being real, authentic and willing to listen and consider one another’s perspective is love. Refusing to do so is self-love. It is defensiveness and outright refusal to allow the circumstances to grow and mature you.

This behavior reeks of pride – in that it is, in essence, stating “I have nothing to learn from my fellow man.”

choose to address the issue

Choose to address the issue, not attack the person.

If there is any hope of living in a like-hearted community, living as part of the same body (Messiah’s), we must take the Scriptures with utmost sincerity. Biblical forgiveness needs to be lived out daily.

We must choose to live in Spirit and Truth.

Not just the truth that I like, not just my perspective. Truth, without defensiveness. Embracing Truth as a way of life, without exclusion.

Facing disagreements with honesty may feel painful, but it is the path to healing.

If we choose to avoid the pain our own sin creates in us we are refusing His desire to mold us into His image.

honesty can be painful

My Confession

Many places of brokenness remain in my life. Many wounds The Messiah has or is healing. The rejection of my family faced was overwhelming and life-changing. Yet now we see it as a huge blessing and protection. Thank you, Abba! Yet, we are still learning and growing through the pain. Most heartbreakingly, we have not reached a place of true reconciliation or restoration with those that rejected us.

Waiting for Restoration

That is to say, we have done our utmost to apologize and repent for the areas we know we were wrong. Where we caused pain. There may be more our rejectors are wanting or believing we owe them. Sadly, they are unwilling to communicate with us. But, Abba is a good, good Father and has made this an amazing journey. And in Him, we maintain HOPE.

As I wrote about in my review of Embodying Forgiveness “we are enabled by Jesus’ forgiving love to forgive others because we learn to understand ourselves as sinners who have been forgiven.” Embodying Forgiveness (p.148)

Can Biblical Forgiveness Motivate Us?

In his book Resurrection, Rowan Williams teaches that forgiveness is so much more than the good news that we are forgiven. He expounds on the truth that it is about our relationship with God and our fellow man. Should not forgiveness motivate us to seek deeper and more meaningful interactions and ties?

“Once we grasp that forgiveness occurs not by a word of acquittal but by a transformation of the world of persons, we are not likely to regard it as something which merely refers backward.”

Rowan Williams, Resurrection p.52

Should you try to reconcile?

Yes, if. If there is a willingness on both sides. because, In reality, one party cannot force reconciliation.

Rarely, does one party rarely holds all the blame.

Forgive? Yes, without a doubt, forgiveness that flows through you, from our Creator is life-giving water. But, forgiveness and reconciliation are not the same. Our reconciliation requires forgiveness, however, one can forgive and never be reconciled.

Likewise, personally, in our walk, we are waiting. We are waiting for hearts to be changed by Messiah. Waiting to see what else Abba will show us in regards to our own hearts and actions. Waiting, yet, filled with the Shalom that can only come from Him and is committed to abiding in Him, come what may.

Boundaries are a Blessing

As Alisa Nicaud states in her post What Does the Bible Say about Forgiveness;

“We are called to forgive. This doesn’t mean; however, that we cannot set healthy boundaries. When you are repeatedly violated, we aren’t called to continually endure it. We can physically and emotionally set boundaries to protect ourselves. The key here is to keep our spirit right by forgiving the offense.”

Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend is an incredibly helpful book for learning how to live out forgiveness without allowing others to violate us repeatedly. Biblical forgiveness includes being wise. And separating oneself from those that remain unrepentant and/or dangerous is an important aspect of true forgiveness. You don’t have to allow your heart, mind or body to be subject to betrayal or any other peril in order to embody forgiveness. Boundaries are truly a Biblical principle, not sure about that? I highly recommend reading Boundaries.

Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your LifeBoundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your LifeBoundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life

Biblical Forgiveness, Retaliation or Restoration?

Indeed, I am deeply flawed and human and admit that at times I consider ways to make them see how wrong their choices are. A hard area for me to forgive is the pain caused to my Hubby and children.

Of course, if one is choosing to abide in Messiah, one understands that she(he) also is a messed up sinner. Scriptures on forgiveness in the Bible give clarity to the need to look inward.

And, living, from moment to moment, the best you can, in His shalom, is the most gracious and life-affirming way to get past these sorts of negative thoughts. Abiding and learning and growing. Really, you win right there.

Moreover, proactively seek Him out, and spend time with your Abba. Increase that time until you abide constantly. Amen, this is my prayer.

Restoration will only come from YHVH.

Likewise, there is no path a human can concoct that will lead hurt people to restoration. Cheap grace gets us nowhere.

BUT! Hope!

Therefore, be long-suffering and do not forsake HOPE! Continue in love and faith. Keep forgiving, over and over. Accept His forgiveness and live in it. You can do all things through Him who strengthens you.

Above all, pursue a clean heart and be ready and willing to make any reparations He shows you to. Pay attention to His leading moment by moment.

Welcome His presence and rest in it, allow Him to engulf you.

Look for and listen for Him everywhere – all the time!

In conclusion, reconciling Biblical forgiveness needs a healthy setting or environment that purposes to live in and through confession, repentance, and reconciliation.

May we learn to delight in true forgiveness. And make it a habit.

Allowing His gracious love to flow one to another.


wheat field with scriptures on forgiveness
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woman leaning over in prayer about biblical forgiveness
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23 thoughts on “Biblical Forgiveness (what they neglect to tell you)”

    • Forgiveness is an ongoing practice. So very difficult to “arrive” at forgiveness. Maybe it isn’t a destination, but a path for our growth?

  1. I struggle with biblical forgiveness every day. I just find it so hard to forgive myself when I don’t know if He actually forgives me. How can I overcome this fear of not knowing for sure?

    • That’s a deep question for sure. My belief and understandings are that knowing confidently in our heart only comes through spending more time with God. Quiet times of prayer and reading His word. Drawing close to Him throughout your day through silent prayer during the midst of the chaos of life. He created you and adores you just how and where you are. Think of it like this, He is the Potter that created you. He is going to forgive you for any perceived flaw in you – because He is a perfect potter and you are made to His exact specifications!

  2. Love love love this post. I struggle with forgiving others. It tends to bottle up inside me, almost eating away at my soul. I never realized how much this probably affected me- so thank you for this.

    • I’m so glad it helped. I think our culture takes such a shallow view of forgiveness when it is really a very profound subject.

  3. Forgiveness is elusive on so many levels. I am quick to forgive someone for offending me, but then I may feel bitterness begin to arise in me and I have to forgive them again. Am I not truly forgiving in the first place? Any thoughts on that?

    • Wow, nicely articulated. Me too! I feel like I know that I have reached true forgiveness when only sadness wells up from time to time, as opposed to bitterness.

      I have asked that same question, why is the bitterness coming up if I have forgiven? I think forgiveness many times, especially over traumatically painful situations needs to be chosen over and over again. Maybe that is a part of what Jesus was talking about, forgiving seventy times seven times – some of that may be repeated!

      In addition, if Bitterness is a root that we have to dig out – perhaps that is an indicator that it is not easy and may take repetitive tries?

  4. I learned to forgive someone who did awful things to me. It’s a very freeing feeling, I could literally feel the weight lifting. I also learned to forgive myself for getting in that whole situation.

    • Thanks.

      For sure an issue to some degree for all of us perhaps. I used to think I didn’t really have a problem with pride. Mine is not the braggart, obvious sort. Instead, I was judgemental and at times, lacking Grace for others. Ugh. So far to go, so much to learn. Sigh.

    • Thank you Casper. It has really helped me a lot to go deep into the Scriptures on this subject.

  5. I’ve seen some people on television saying they forgive their attacker or someone who robbed them, I always shook my head at them. But this article has helped me see forgiveness in a different light, so I thank you for that!

  6. It’s hard for me not to “attack the person” and instead the issue… I feel like I just automatically blow up on someone… this is something I need to work on. Great points!

    • Oh, I really struggle with that same thing. These situations are so personal it is hard to not see them as a person to person thing.

  7. I’m not very religious, but I am hoping to be more. I never thought of the correlation of forgiveness and how it’s mentioned in the Bible. This is very informative for me. πŸ™‚ I will now read more. Maybe there are books out there that I can read. This is fascinating to me πŸ™‚

    • Happy to hear this! Check out my book reviews under resources for more life-changing books (well, at least they are for me)!!


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