Article: The Forgiven Can Forgive

“This bitterness in me is eating me alive like a cancer. I don’t know how to forgive. What should I do?”

This question was asked by a lady after describing a tragic series of events in which she felt that she had been wronged by family members. As she told her story, I prayed for wisdom and asked God for some way to transition this conversation to what she really needed – the gospel of Jesus Christ. As she looked to me for an answer, the Holy Spirit impressed upon my mind:

  • (Eph 4:31-32) “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: {32} And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

I told her, “You cannot fully understand forgiveness until you understand and experience God’s forgiveness for yourself. God was willing to forgive us despite all our sins, for Jesus Christ’s sake, and we must be willing to forgive others as He has forgiven us. People that have been forgiven can forgive.”

I then began to teach her the gospel, placing great emphasis on the forgiveness that is available in Christ. Romans 3:10 and 23 tell us that “there is none righteous, no, not one” and “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 5:8 gives us the blessed truth that “God commendeth (proved) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet SINNERS, Christ died for us.”

I told her that even as the Roman soldiers were nailing Jesus to the cross, He prayed, “Father, forgive them.” Christ was dying for them as well. On the cross, He proved the Father’s love for sinners and His willingness to forgive them and save them from the judgment they deserved.

I showed her Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” God’s forgiveness has no price tag for us. He paid the price and offers salvation to us as a free gift. This gift is received through Jesus Christ when we receive Him as our personal Saviour. I then showed her:

  • (Rom 10:9-10,13) “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. {10} For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation…For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

This dear lady bowed her head and called upon the name of the Lord to save her, and in that prayer forgave the family members she was bitter towards, and asked God to help her to have the same forgiveness towards them as God had shown her.

The forgiven can forgive. Have you experienced God’s forgiveness? Perhaps the reason you have a list of grudges and broken relationships as long as a giraffe’s neck is because you claim to be a Christian, but you have never truly been born again. You have not experienced God’s forgiveness for your sins.

Jesus Christ prayed for and loved the men who were pounding spikes through His hands and feet. Can’t we forgive the little – or big – wrongs that people have done to us? You may say, “They don’t deserve it!” Neither did you. Neither did I. “Well,” you may say, “I’m going to make them pay.” Aren’t you glad that God did not make us pay? He offered forgiveness to us freely through Jesus Christ. And even if they don’t want forgiveness – the Roman soldiers driving the nails probably were not interested in the forgiveness of their condemned “criminal” – we can forgive them for our sakes.

The forgiven can forgive – “…forgiving one another, EVEN AS God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” If you have never been saved, consider that God loves you and gave His Son for your sins. Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, lived a perfect, sinless life, and died as your Substitute. Three days later, He rose victorious from the grave and then ascended back to the right hand of God the Father. He is willing to save you today. Are you willing to trust Him with all your heart? If so, why not pray from your heart something like this, trusting God’s promise that “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved:”

“Dear God, I confess that I am a guilty sinner. I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and rose again from the dead, and the best I know how, I receive Him today as my personal Saviour, trusting Him alone as my salvation. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me. Amen.”

About James Rasbeary

I am the pastor of the Lighthouse Baptist Church in Wylie, Texas. Check out my blog at
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