How to Forgive Someone

It’s natural to feel bitter or develop a grudge when you are hurt by someone. As bitterness builds inside of you, it’s usually followed by a swarm of other emotions—feelings of anger, resentment and rejection accompanied by a desire for revenge.

Toxic emotions don’t change your situation or the person that hurt you. As you let them take over, they do change you, hurting you far more than the other person. And it doesn’t stop there. When bitterness and resentment take control, they can spill over and infect others who aren’t even involved.

This is why the Bible refers to bitterness as poison. “Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many” (Hebrews 12:15). If you aren’t careful, it can hurt you and those close to you. Ask yourself: Do you like being around someone who is bitter or angry?

The Bible goes a step further and explains why it’s important to forgive, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior” (Ephesians 4:31).

So, how do we forgive others? There are many paths to forgiveness but nearly all of them include these three steps.

  1. Recognize the importance Jesus put on forgiveness. When He was teaching the disciples how to talk to God, He mentioned it in His model prayer, “Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (Matthew 6:12).
  2. Reject the Devil. Let go of your anger. Don’t give Satan a chance to use your bitterness, “And ‘don’t sin by letting anger control you.’ Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27).
  3. Remember God has forgiven you. “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13).

Lastly, have you acknowledged God’s forgiveness? Do you understand the sacrifice Jesus made so you could be forgiven? If not, don’t delay.

Discover God’s ultimate forgiveness and why it was so costly.

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Step 1 – God’s Purpose: Peace and Life

God loves you and wants you to experience peace and eternal life.

The Bible says:

"We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Romans 5:1

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
John 3:16

"I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."
John 10:10

What keeps us from having the life God planned for us?

Step 2 – The Problem: Our Separation from God

God created us in His image. He gave us a will and the freedom of choice; we choose to disobey Him and go our own way—which is called sin. This separates us from God.

The Bible says:

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
Romans 3:23

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 6:23

Our choice to sin separates us from God. People have tried many ways to bridge this gap between themselves and God.

The Bible says:

"There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death."
Proverbs 14:12

"But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear."
Isaiah 59:2

No bridge reaches God... except one.

Step 3 – God’s Bridge: The Cross

Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the grave. When He did He paid the penalty for our sin and bridged the gap between us and God.

The Bible says:

"For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus."
1 Timothy 2:5

"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God."
1 Peter 3:18

God has provided the only way back to Him. You must make a choice.

Step 4 – Our Response: Receive Christ

We must trust and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

The Bible says:

"Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God."
John 1:12

"If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
Romans 10:9

Which side are you on? The side with Christ or without Him?

Here is how you can accept Christ into your life:

We suggest a prayer like this one:

"Dear God, I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that you raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen."


Did you pray this prayer?