Forgiving Others: 10 Powerful Bible Verses & Prayers

Forgiving Others: 10 Powerful Bible Verses & Prayers May 18, 2024

Woman with dark hair sitting at table with book open and Bible with a coffee cup. 10 Bible verses and short prayers on forgiveness.
Are you feeling stuck in life and relationships? Forgiveness is key to spiritual growth and healing. Here are 10 Bible verses and short prayers on forgiveness. Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Mother Teresa once said, “If we want to love, we must learn how to forgive.” Forgiveness and unfailing love are at the very core of God’s being. God’s love knows no bounds, and He has gone to great lengths to forgive us.

Forgiveness is not easy, and the wounds of some offenses are deep and hard to let go of. The offenses can often be reciprocated, and the offense only worsens and festers because it is too painful to let go of the pain. But we need to practice forgiveness because forgiving others is about loving others. In this article, I will share prayers for forgiveness based on Bible verses.

Start By Forgiving Your Enemies

I have had to forgive many enemies over my lifetime. There have been periods of bullying and flat-out rejection from people in my life. This is not something that I deny. Experiencing these moments has helped me grow spiritually. However, I have learned if you are not careful, these moments can keep you in a dark place of spiritual bondage, and you will feel stuck in your life.

So, while I embrace the lessons learned from these experiences, I cannot deny the pain of the deep wounds that came from being bullied in elementary school or the disappointment I feel when someone rejects me based on the assumptions they make about me. But holding onto the pain prevents me from walking in forgiveness.

However, forgiving someone from my childhood whom I don’t even speak with anymore or someone who doesn’t want to speak to me in the first place is a lot different than forgiving someone I am supposed to be close to.

Forgiveness over a repeat offender or someone who does not even see the error of their own ways feels impossible sometimes. It is painful to think they might feel like they have done nothing wrong and refuse to repent and say they are sorry when I am experiencing pain in my heart.

“Forgiveness is a strange thing. It can sometimes be easier to forgive our enemies than our friends. It can be hardest of all to forgive people we love.” – Fred Rogers

When someone you love is not sorry for the wrong they have committed in your life, or if they betrayed you, that is the hardest offense to understand and to forgive. If you forgive your enemies, you probably have no intention of ever seeing them again. But when someone repeatedly offends you and hurts you without ever apologizing, they are not someone who has your best interest at heart.

Being able to forgive and ask for forgiveness is a sign of spiritual maturity and will create the true connections you crave. If you want to see a relationship grow and become stronger, then saying sorry and repenting is key. It is not fair to be the one who always apologizes and forgives. However, it is the only thing you can control, and knowing this is also a sign of spiritual and emotional maturity.

God Is Our Example Of What It Looks Like To Forgive Without Receiving An Apology First

The Bible says Christ died for us while we were still sinners. I don’t know if God was waiting for our apology and gave up because He knew our hearts would be too prideful. But anyone can only be reconciled to Him if we have a Savior. God knew what had to be done, and He did it.

Our sin has grieved God in so many ways. Making the sacrifice He had to make also grieved God’s heart. But the Bible says God’s kindness is meant to lead us to repentance. I believe that trusting in God and working towards forgiveness with anyone will require goodness and the ability to be the “bigger person.” Moving forward in our faith journey and leaning into God’s grace will require us to forgive those closest to us who will not apologize for their actions.

When you forgive others who will not apologize, you forgive them for their pride, arrogance, and controlling behavior. Doing this will help you grow—it may or may not help them grow—but their growth is not your responsibility. Forgiveness requires trusting and leaning into your relationships with Jesus and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit to be able to forgive another person.

Self-awareness Is Key To Forgiveness

I’m sure you have done many things you cannot change or even reconcile in your past. This is why forgiveness is so important in your life. Forgiveness is the only way you will ever find redemption for the sins and painful moments of your past. Forgiveness of yourself and forgiveness from God.

Andy Stanley says we don’t want to forgive because it feels like we give them a gift after they have taken something from us. But he also points out that is exactly what God modeled for us. In this video, he quotes Philip Yancey, saying,

“God took a great risk by announcing forgiveness in advance.”

Forgiveness is essential in your walk, not only in your relationships but also in your spiritual growth. In his book, Forgive: Why Should I, and How Can I?, Timothy Keller states,

“The human need for forgiveness appears to be indelible. It won’t go away by denouncing it or trying to deconstruct it. The need I’m referring to is both a profound need to grant forgiveness and to receive forgiveness.”

You can’t walk away from the fact that every painful moment in your life, whether done by you or someone else, needs forgiveness.

But forgiveness is hard when you are resentful and angry and have been mistreated. However, you are a Christian; forgiveness is just what Christians do. Faith and forgiveness are the foundation of your relationship with God! Jesus died for your sins, and you have faith in His ability and willingness to do so. The result is that you are forgiven.

10 Short Prayers And Bible Verses On Forgiveness

In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus mentions forgiveness of our trespasses:

Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. – Matthew 6:12 (WEB)

God gave us the gift of forgiveness, and He calls us to forgive others in the same manner He has forgiven us.

The following forgiveness scriptures center around these spiritual lessons:

  • God’s great love.
  • The glory of God.
  • The need for a repentant heart.
  • The fact that we serve a merciful God.
  • The gift of salvation.
  • The gift of eternal life.
  • The riches of His grace.

I pray the forgiveness prayer will help you find peace and a stronger relationship with God, yourself, and those around you.

1. “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you don’t forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. – Matthew 6:14-15 (WEB)

The Issue: Christians quickly forget the forgiveness God has given them. The greatest gift you have received is the gift of salvation, and this comes through forgiveness. The theme of forgiveness in the Bible is to forgive others because God has forgiven you. Our unforgiveness is not justified since God has given us full forgiveness of our sins. Walking around with unforgiveness in your heart is not something to take lightly.

Prayer: Father God, please help me to forgive _______ for _________. I want to be a light for You and walk in Your ways, always. I know forgiveness is important to You, and it is important to me, too. If it weren’t for your forgiveness, I wouldn’t be able to ask you for help right now, and for that, I am grateful. In Jesus’ name. Amen

2. And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32 (WEB)

The Issue: It takes a pure heart to want to do good to your enemy; such forgiveness is not easy for anyone. The offenses you face today are real, and I know it is not easy to have a soft heart toward those who have hurt you. But the reality is it was the kindness of God that brought you to a place of repentance. Does that mean this person who has hurt you will repent if you are kind to them? I don’t think that is something you can rely on as a guarantee, but you can lean into God’s promises on this subject and obediently follow God’s Word. In this verse, He is instructing us to keep our hearts soft and to forgive, and I believe He has a purpose for telling us to do this—and that’s because Christ was tender-hearted and forgave you.

Prayer: Dear God, please soften my heart towards those who may not know better. Help me see the true intentions of those offending me so I can pray for them. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

3. bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, if any man has a complaint against any; even as Christ forgave you, so you also do. – Colossians 3:13 (WEB)

The Issue: The theme here is to forgive because Jesus forgave you. Why is God’s Word so repetitive with this instruction? I believe it’s because, as humans, we so quickly forget our faulty hearts, which are truly bent on pride, not humility. It takes humility to move towards forgiveness, and remembering what Jesus did for you will help you remain humble even in offensive circumstances.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, may my heart and mind never forget what You have done for me through Jesus. May I always remember the grace and mercy You’ve shown me in the past and continue to show me to this day. I pray that through remembrance, I will have a humble heart. Lord, show me where my pride makes me stumble in my walk with You and the relationships in my life. Give me the courage and strength to forgive where my heart held onto pride. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

4. Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. – Matthew 18:21-22 (ESV)

The Issue: This verse is from the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. Forgiveness is not a one-and-done event. While you may choose to forgive, it is nearly impossible to forget. But you can pray for God to help you forget, and every time you feel offended by something you have chosen to forgive, you can always take a moment to forgive again.

Prayer: Father God, I am having a hard time forgiving _________ for ________ because I keep remembering what they did to me. Please heal and renew my mind where the offense lives so I can forgive and move on. I do not want to be a victim and let this offense control me any longer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

5. Don’t judge, and you won’t be judged. Don’t condemn, and you won’t be condemned. Set free, and you will be set free. – Luke 6:37 (WEB)

The Issue: It is really easy to make assumptions about someone. Judging and condemnation can be rooted in assuming things about other people. You do not know the whole story or see the faith journey someone took to get where they are today. So judging and condemning is leaving people stuck in a pit of never being good enough, and they are never given the chance to be the person God created them to be.

Prayer: Dear God, I have been caught in the loop of making assumptions about those around me. Lord, please forgive me for not giving grace and mercy to others. Help me to be more compassionate and ask more questions. Help me to be vulnerable and learn more about people and their struggles instead of just assuming, judging, and condemning them. In Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.

6. Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father, who is in heaven, may also forgive you your transgressions. – Mark 11:25 (WEB)

The Issue: Forgiveness is key to a fruitful prayer life. If you are stuck in life, you may struggle to forgive others. Prayer is the best place to ask for God’s help with forgiveness. Wanting to forgive is the first step and will direct your steps in the right direction. No one is justified in holding a grudge because God does not hold a grudge against you or me.

Prayer: Father God, you know what impedes my prayers and makes them less effective. God help me to forgive ________ for ________. I know Your grace and mercy for them abounds like it does for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

7. Confess your offenses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective. – James 5:16 (WEB)

The Issue: Confession, repentance, and forgiveness make prayers more effective and bring healing. Our powerful prayers come when we have a repentant heart. While healing is built on the foundation of faith, it is difficult to receive any healing when our hearts are hardened with pride and unforgiveness.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I come to you today with a heavy heart. I confess _______ and ask for your grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Holy Spirit, please help me to turn from _________ and build a new life without this offense in my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

8. The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger. It is his glory to overlook an offense. – Proverbs 19:11 (WEB)

The Issue: Some days, it is just harder to overcome the offenses of others. I struggle with this—if someone acts funny, looks at me weird, or doesn’t live up to some unspoken expectation I have of them, I might get offended. But I know it is not OK to hold a grudge against someone or keep a record of their wrongs. This verse encourages us not to be easily offended and to move on when someone has asked for forgiveness.

Prayer: Dear God, help me to assume and expect the best about people. I know I cannot control what they think about me by how I act or perform. If they are hurt and offended by something I have said or done, I pray they will forgive me and talk to me instead of rejecting me. Please give me confidence and the ability to be who I am without trying to walk the perfect walk to be a people pleaser. Please strengthen my relationships and help me improve at building them up instead of tearing them down by being easily offended. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

9. Don’t seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God’s wrath. For it is written, “Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.” Deuteronomy 32:35 – Romans 12:19 (WEB)

The Issue: God is the only One capable of judging fairly. I know they hurt you, and I don’t want to use this scripture to diminish that fact. But there is some peace in leaving the battle to God alone so that there is no offense within you.

Prayer: Lord, you are the perfect judge with perfect knowledge of a specific situation. I surrender _________ to you, and I trust that you will always have my back in a world that seems very hostile at the moment. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

10. not rendering evil for evil, or insult for insult; but instead blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. – 1 Peter 3:9 (WEB)

The Issue: Few people think of blessing those who have hurt them. While it may seem counterintuitive, it is Biblical to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. God blessed all humanity when He forgave us and provided an opportunity for us to live in heaven with Him for all eternity through Jesus.

Prayer: Lord, I want Your blessings in my life. I don’t know what ___________ is going through right now, but I pray that you would bless them with __________. Lord, draw them closer to You and help them become the man/woman of God You created them to be. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

God’s Forgiveness of Our Sins Is Our Motivation To Forgive Others

Forgiveness of your sins came freely through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He died for the sins of the whole world, and Christ’s steadfast love is evident in the daily mercy and grace you receive. So today when you are going through these verses and saying a prayer, just know you are drawing nearer to God and walking the narrow path most people don’t even consider taking.

About Heather Bixler
Heather is a mom of three young adults, has been married to her husband for 22 years, and is a proud fur mom to her dog, Iris, and two cats, Picasso and Esther. Heather has her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and is pursuing her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. You can read more about the author here.
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