First, let’s visit what forgiveness is NOT.

Forgiveness is NOT FORBEARANCE. 

Forbearance is patiently enduring a provocation, overlook a slight, or maintain self-control in the face of frustration.

Forbearance causes us to weight someone’s sinful action or attitude with love, wisdom, and discernment and choose not to respond.  

Forgiveness is also NOT FORGETTING.

Forgiveness is also NOT ELIMINATING CONSEQUENCES.        

Even though we are forgiven already, there are consequences for our behaviors

Forgiveness is NOT SELFISH

Forgiveness is NOT A FEELING



God’s Forgiveness: A commitment by the one True God to pardon graciously those who repent and believe so that they are reconciled to Him – this is done already on the cross

Human Forgiveness: A commitment by the offended to pardon graciously the offender from moral liability and to be reconciled, if possible, to that person – no longer holding the other person accountable for their sins – no longer holding yourself in bondage for their sin against you.  Although not all consequences are necessarily eliminated.


So… if forgiveness is NOT FOREBEARANCE, what about 70 times 7?

Matthew 18:21-22 21 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

NEED TO READ IN CONTEXT: Matthew 18:15-35 15 “If your brother sins[a], go and [b]show him his fault [c]in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every [d]fact may be confirmed. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as [e]a Gentile and [f]a tax collector. 18 Truly I say to you, whatever you [g]bind on earth [h]shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you [i]loose on earth [j]shall be loosed in heaven.19 “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them [k]by My Father who is in heaven. 20 For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”21 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.23 “For this reason the kingdom of heaven [l]may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him [m]ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 But since he [n]did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. 26 So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’ 27 And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the [o]debt. 28 But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred [p]denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’ 30 But he was unwilling [q]and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. 31 So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. 32 Then summoning him, his lord *said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ 34 And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. 35 My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from [r]your heart.”

Peter is basing his question on Amos 1:3-13 (lists out God’s wrath against pagan nations):  Where he’s asking at what time should he be free to bring the hammer down?  When will it be appropriate to cast judgement and wrath?




Acts 13:38 36 For David, after he had [a]served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and [b]underwent decay; 37 but He whom God raised did not [c]undergo decay. 38 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through [d]Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you 

Romans 5:1-2Therefore, having been justified by faith, [a]we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and [b]we exult in hope of the glory of God. 

Romans 8:1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 

2 Corinthians 5:18-2118 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and [a]He has [b]committed to us the word of reconciliation.20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him 

Ephesians 1:7-10In [a]Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He [b]lavished on [c]us. In all wisdom and insight He [d]made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His [e]kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration [f]suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things [g]in the heavens and things on the earth. 

Ephesians 4:3232 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven [a]you.

Colossians 1:12-1412 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us [a]to share in the inheritance of the [b]saints in Light.13 [c]For He rescued us from the [d]domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of [e]His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 

Colossians 2:13-1513 When you were dead [a]in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 When He had [b]disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through [c]Him.

You are already forgiven!

Jesus didn’t’ only deal with your past sins – at the cross, He paid for all of your past, present, and even future sin.

Hebrews 9:11-28

Jesus preached a crucial message about forgiving our brothers, as God forgave us. We stand in grace, and He expects us to keep our hearts pure toward others, not holding grudges or harboring a spirit of unforgiveness, especially after He gave us such undeserved love and forgiveness at such a high personal cost to Himself! Jesus said those who have been forgiven much, love much (Luke 7:47). He expects us to forgive others 70 times 7 times (Matthew 18:22). We are also told that if we are praying but hold something against anyone, we are to forgive that person so our relationship with God is right and righteous!Does that mean that God’s relationship with us is not good?  NO!  But our relationship with Him may be – because of the bondage we hold ourselves in, we are blocking ourselves from the freedom He offers us. Colossians 3:13 says, “Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”


Forgiveness involves not holding a sin against a person any longer, but forgiveness is different from trust.  

It is wise to take precautions, and sometimes the dynamics of a relationship will have to change.  

Proverbs 22:3 “The prudent sees danger (evil) and takes refuge (hides himself), / but the simple (the naïve) keep going (or go on) and pay the penalty (and are punished for it)”  

Matthew 10:16 Jesus told His followers to “be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” In the context of keeping company with unrepentant, or repeat, offenders, we must be “innocent” (willing to forgive) yet at the same time “shrewd” (being cautious). 

Forgiveness means that you sincerely, from the heart, cancel the other person’s debt against you personally. It involves repenting of any sinful anger and refusing to harbor bitterness against the person who has sinned against you. Forgiving means you promise to let go of the personal aspect of the offense and refuse to obsess over it. 

To be clear, forgiving another person does not mean you release them from boundaries, discipline or criminal penalties. In some cases, faithfulness means that you have to personally forgive those who have sinned against you, even while filing charges against them for church discipline and seeking a legal penalty. If you’ve forgiven someone, then pursuing discipline and justice isn’t vindictive or vengeful. It’s done from a heart of love to Christ, love to the sinner, and love for others. 

The Bible does require us to forgive those who have harmed us, and it requires us to reconcile as brothers and sisters in Christ, if the sinning party repents. But the Bible does not tell us to trust people, and receive them into close companionship, if they have utterly destroyed our trust. We must love them (Matt 5:44 – but I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you), but we are not required to trust them (Jn 2:24 – But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men).  

What is the penalty for sin????  DEATH

Therefore, anything short of death is grace. 

We are to extend that same grace to others.  But that does not mean that their actions are excused, or they have permission to do it again or that we are to continually take it. 

We are to be gracious AND shrewd.



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