From a Christian perspective, do we always have to forgive people if they have wronged us?

I used to think that forgiving others was unnatural. Actually, I still think it's unnatural. It's not easy to do. I have had a few bad things happen to me before in my life, but nothing that bad. The worst thing that ever happened to me was I had a car stolen when I was a young adult. I do believe that forgiving others is very liberating, healthy, and beneficial to the self.

I am fortunate that I haven't had a family member hurt, assaulted, or murdered. Of course, if I see someone on the news who has been the victim of a capital crime (or had a loved one that was the victim), and they have the magnanimity to forgive the perpetrator, I think that's wonderful. But should we look down on people if they have had a child, brother, or sister killed, but they haven't forgiven the killer, even if it's many years later? You see, I don't think I could possibly forgive someone if they took the life of someone that I love. Could you?

So are there limits to our forgiveness, or do we all have to forgive others, even if they have done something horrible to us or a loved one?

14 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    God's word plainly tells us that if we don't forgive others who hurt us, God won't forgive our sins. Sometimes forgiveness is difficult. God is there to help as long as you are willing to forgive. I struggled with forgiving my abuser, and God engineered it so that I could not only have compassion on her but was able to pray her into His arms at the end of her life.

    It needs to be said that forgiving someone does not necessarily mean continuing a relationship. We can set appropriate boundaries with that person and anyone else so that we don't get hurt like that any more.

    @Kathleen and MidNight: Whether or not a person is repentant has no bearing on God wanting us to forgive. Forgiveness is about us releasing the person and not expecting compensation or behavior change. It's about us giving the situation into God's hands for Him to determine the consequences of their actions. If you don't forgive, there remains a root of bitterness, and that's spiritually cancerous. Many people think that it's up to them to make or hold the one who hurt you accountable. Not so. It is God who holds them accountable and metes out judgment, consequences and, yes, vengeance. The important thing is that we are free to move forward to be and do what God has for us to be and do when exercising this very vital spiritual tool of forgiveness.

  • 9 years ago

    a big thumbs up for Kathleen on this one, you don't need to forgive anyone who is not penitent. Penance when you are talking about a sever crime involves paying restitution to the victim, in the case of murder, no restitution is adequate short of the perpetrator offering up their life.

    @ PastorsRus I appreciate your input and I can understand having that interpretation, I am not sure if I entirely agree but you make a good point.

    Source(s): my opinion.
  • 9 years ago

    Yes you have to forgive to be forgiven

    Mark 11:25-26 And when you stand praying ,forgive, if you have something against any: that your Father also which is in Heaven may forgive your sins. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in Heaven forgive your sins

    Luke 6:37 Judge not, and you shall not be judged: condemn not and you shall not be condemned: forgive, and you shall be forgiven

    Matthew 6: 12 And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those that sin against us (sins, debts, trespasses etc. should be forgiven)

    Source(s): the Bible
  • 9 years ago

    A disciple asked Jesus "How many times should we forgive someone?" Jesus answered, " IF that person comes to you, REPENTS and asks for your forgiveness, then you should forgive them seventy times seven." Jesus never said to forgive someone who has not repented and asked for your forgiveness. We must hold people accountable. On the other hand, sometimes there is nothing we can do about the situation. It hurts us to dwell on the offense and become bitter and angry. In these situations, I think we must turn the offender over to God and have faith that He will deal with the situation.

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  • Bruce
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    We forgive people when they repent, as Jesus taught (Luke 17):

       “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. 4 If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”

    It would not be appropriate to forgive those who do not repent of harming others.

    The other case is when "they know not what they do."



  • 9 years ago

    Not if forgiveness gives them free reign to keep doing it. However in other cases I can see where pity would be liberating.

  • 9 years ago

    Mark 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

    26But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    To forget is human to forgive is divine

  • ?
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    almost 11 years ago.. Those who died because of hatred of the free.. Why dont you ask one of the remaining family members their opinion???

    Source(s): personal experence
  • It's rarely easy, but it's always the right thing to do.

    Revenge/hatred only leads to more revenge/hatred.

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