• Michael Haldas

Forgiveness

“If we are to be forgiven by God, He requires of us that we also forgive one another. For many of us, this is the hardest part of repentance and confession. But we say it each time we pray the Lord's Prayer, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We are not offered salvation on any other terms.” (George W. Grube)


“…Matthew, 6:14 states “If you forgive others for their trespasses, our heavenly Father will also forgive yours.” This is a commandment and not a suggestion…Love has everything to do with forgiveness, with respect, with loyalty, and commitment through times of sadness and happiness. Therefore, this kind of love is more than a feeling. The love of Christ is unconditional and when we love one another in an unconditional fashion, we are emulating Christ. It is easy to be in love when things are good, but the real test is to be loving when you are down and out.” (Fr. George Shalhoub)


“We are all part of many different kinds of families: biological families, nuclear families, extended families, parish families, school families, sports team families, etc. All families are simply a bunch of imperfect people in relationships together, and when we have a bunch of imperfect people, we have a lot of sin, which gives us lots of opportunities for forgiveness! As Christians we should constantly be striving to perfect those relationships by loving one another and continuously asking for—and giving others—forgiveness. This can be challenging because we often offend or hurt those closest to us, as they also offend and hurt us. Thus, families provide us countless opportunities to practice forgiveness. When we truly forgive, we let go of negative feelings and attain the freedom to love. Through forgiveness we as individuals and as families can grow closer to Christ by living a life that is pleasing to Him.” (Chris Shadid)


“We should take this in a literal and mystical sense. Its literal sense is that we should serve each other in charity, not only by washing our brothers’ feet, but also by aiding them in any of their needs. The mystical sense is that, just as the Lord is wont to forgive the sins of those who repent, so also should we hasten to forgive our brothers when they sent against us.” (St. Bede)


“Sins, even blasphemy, can be forgiven. Even the slurs that the Pharisees aim at Jesus are forgivable (Matthew 12:31). God is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn 1:9). However, forgiveness from God comes with conditions. First we must forgive others, then confess our own sins to the Lord. We must make every effort to turn away from our deep-seated passions as we struggle to speak and live in a manner worthy of Christ. These conditions constitute repentance, which is a fundamental “turning around” in life, an existential re-direction.” (Dynamis 8/1/2020)


“If we are to be forgiven by God, He requires of us that we also forgive one another. For many of us, this is the hardest part of repentance and confession. But we say it each time we pray the Lord's Prayer, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We are not offered salvation on any other terms…Forgiveness is truly a “breakthrough” of the Kingdom into this sinful and fallen world.” (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese)

“ ‘Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8)…Love is the barometer by which Christ will judge our lives. Sin is not only doing wrong. Sin is failure to do right. Sin, on the most basic level, is failure to love. The root cause of all sin is failure to love.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“I often think of relationships that are centered on God like a triangle. Imagine you are point A, the other person is point B, and God is point C. When A moves closer to B, it also moves closer to C. Similarly, when A moves closer to C, it also moves closer to B. The point is, the closer we move toward God, the closer we move toward each other; and the closer we move toward each other, the closer we move toward God. We do this by keeping God as the center of our relationships, which is only accomplished through love and forgiveness. The more we forgive, the more we are able to love and grow closer to each other.” (Chris Shadid)

“Unconditional forgiveness means that we don’t require anything of the person we are forgiving. We can’t say, “I’ll forgive him as soon as he pays the money back.” Or “I will forgive her as soon as she apologizes.” Forgiveness is about love—loving others as ourselves. Even if the other person isn’t ready to accept our forgiveness or to forgive us—because oftentimes responsibility lies on both ends—we still should seek it. We can only accept responsibility for ourselves and humbly pray for reconciliation.” (George & Melissa Tsongranis)

“In a large sense saying to someone “I love you” or saying to someone “I forgive you” are the same thing.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“Pride, too, has its levels, just like humility. Outward pride is easier to cure, but pride of the mind is almost impossible to eradicate.” (Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)

“Forgiveness is so terribly hard. On a psychological level, it feels dangerous. The shame engendered by any insult or injury is our experience of vulnerability, and we instinctively react to protect ourselves.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“God’s forgiveness of us and our sins against Him is unconditional and absolute. God does not reject us, objectify us, or bear anger or resentment against us. These are, I think, our projections onto God of our own issues and judgments against ourselves when we sin. God does not punish us. Rather, by alienating ourselves from God, we punish ourselves and ascribe this punishment to Him. We turn in on ourselves in anger and self-hatred, and thus shatter our personhood, cutting ourselves off from His love.” (Hieromonk Jonah)

“In fact, we—not God—are the ones who cannot forgive ourselves. We cannot forgive ourselves because of our pride…The only obstacle to the energy of God’s grace, is our pride, our lack of humility.” (Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica, St. Paisios the Athonite)

“Humble yourself before all; try to be a servant to others; do not accuse, judge or reproach anyone. Make peace with everybody, forgive them, all, or you yourself will not receive the Lord’s forgiveness.” (Abbot Nikon Vorobiev)

“ ‘Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’ (Matthew 18:21-22). “Some translations say “seventy-seven times.” Whichever number is used, the point is the same: be ready to forgive over and over again, past counting. This verse does not only apply to forgiveness for seventy times seven different sins. Sometimes, we may have to consciously decide to forgive and let go of an old hurt again and again, “seventy times seven.” (Foundation Study Bible, Matthew 18:22)

“Remember that forgiving another person is not primarily an emotion. It is a decision of the will. First you must make a firm decision…Forgiveness is not a feeling; it’s a decision. When you forgive someone, you’re not saying they are right. You’re not even saying they should not be punished by civil authorities. You’re simply saying that you recognize that because you also sin against God and others, you have no right to hold a grudge against anyone.” (Derek Prince, Eric M. Hill)

“The worst thing is not forgiving and not loving, and to have enmity in your heart…Among your religious duties is that of loving your fellow men and always forgiving them. If you do this, you will be filled with joy, and with health both of the soul and of the body.” (Elder Sampson the Russian, St. Raphael of Lesvos)

“We want to be safe. When we see that another person is sorry for what they have done to us, we begin to think that they will now become safe. We fear forgiving those who show no sorrow or who have not clearly repented of their actions towards us. And we do well to fear it. That is a completely rational, even “hard-wired,” instinctive response. But that tells us what forgiveness actually entails and what it is that Christ asks of us…I think the recurring problem of forgiveness is our effort to find a way around the danger of vulnerability. Is there a way to forgive and remain safe? In short, the answer is, “No.” Forgiveness is a voluntary self-emptying that embraces the vulnerability entailed in that action. Enemies have a way of crucifying you. The disciple is not above his master. If they crucified Him, there is no promise they will not crucify you. Forgiveness is not a safe thing.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Much of the spiritual life is dedicated to one goal: complete self-mastery, especially in relation to control over one’s reactions. The more mature we are, spiritually, the greater control we have over our reactions. In other words, we have to be watchful over our thoughts, and maintain a spirit of love and compassion. When our thoughts accuse others, and we begin to be upset, then we need to cut off the thoughts and recognize that they are temptations. They are more about me than about the other person. The more we let our thoughts against the other fester, the harder it will be to rid ourselves of them, and resentments will develop. The basic principle of non-reaction, not only in deed, but in thought and feeling, and maintaining a spirit of peace, is the key. With this underlying attitude, it becomes difficult to get us to take offense, and thus, there is seldom a need for forgiveness or reconciliation. This, however, is a mark of very great maturity, and few there are that possess it.” (Hieromonk Jonah)

“Forgiveness in the Christian sense is properly an act of self-emptying. It is a voluntary act of foolishness in which we act in a manner contrary to the shame that has been cast upon us. Understood in this manner, forgiveness is of a piece with bearing the Cross itself.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Jesus’ first words on the Cross are of forgiveness. The people chanted ‘Crucify Him!’ and He was mocked, scourged, tortured, and nailed to the Cross…Even so, He asked that God forgive them, because even as they looked upon an innocent man and attacked Him, He knew that humans lack understanding. We know this too, and we are called to forgive as He does, even in the very moment when we are being attacked.” (Elissa Bjeletich)

“Forgetting offences is a sign of sincere repentance. If you keep the memory of them, you may believe you have repented but you are like someone running in his sleep. Let no one consider it a minor defect, this darkness often clouds the eyes even of spiritual people.” (St. John Climacus)

“We all sin, and we all sin every day. Thus, we are all in need of forgiveness on a daily basis, from the Lord and from one another. If we do not learn how to forgive as we go along, we will build walls and grudges and our relationships will quickly break down on a fundamental level. If we learn how to forgive one another, we will be able to create long and lasting relationships.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“To be a Christian means to love one another...Can we truly say that the members of any given Parish love another? How many people sit in the same pew at the same church, at the same service and yet will not speak to one another at the conclusion of the church service. To be a Christian means to forgive...One cannot exercise forgiveness, without first loving. One must love in order to forgive.” (Bishop John of Amorion)

“Forgiving faults or covering the offenses of others is necessary to any relationship. It is tempting, especially in an argument, to bring up all the mistakes the other person has ever made. Love, however, keeps its mouth shut—difficult though that may be....As we grow to be like Christ, we will acquire God’s ability to forget the confessed sins of the past.” (Life Application Study Bible, Proverbs 17:9)

"While some Christians like to take so many passages of Scripture literally and use such passages against others when it suits them, when it comes to the things they are not so keen on doing themselves, such as forgiving enemies, they come up with a list of excuses as long as your arm. It is therefore essential that we have the humility to acknowledge that we keep falling short of God’s commandments, and that we need to repent." (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

“Counselors will tell you that the only character flaws that can really destroy you are the ones you won’t admit. Crucial to true prayer, then, is confession and repentance. Again, prayer both requires and produces this humility. Prayer brings you into God’s presence, where our shortcomings are exposed. Then the new awareness of insufficiency drives us to seek God even more intensely for forgiveness and help.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“Much of our struggle with forgiveness lies in the trap of psychology and law. We hear the commandment as a legal requirement – “You must do this in order to have that.” But we experience the practice as a psychological failure. “I try to forgive them, but I still feel the same way.” Neither law nor psychology reveal the truth about forgiveness nor explain its essential role in the spiritual life. Our failure in these terms, however, should tell us more about the inadequacy of the terms themselves rather than the true nature of forgiveness. To tell someone what they ought to do (law) is sometimes effective. To tell someone how they ought to feel (law + psychology) almost never works. Our popular contemporary conception of forgiveness belongs to this latter category. We will never get it right.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“ ‘While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ (Luke 24:36)… So this is the first thing He says to those who had just abandoned Him, to those who were not there even for His burial: “Peace be with you.” How humble, how Self-giving is my Lord in His triumph.” (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

"Christianity doesn't advocate excusing wrong; it insists on forgiving wrong." (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“The decision to forgive another person for a wrong done to us begins when we let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. Forgiving someone does not mean we forget what they did to us, for that may be impossible. The memory of the hurt may always remain with you, but when you decide to forgive the person who wronged you, the grip of resentment is put aside. When you forgive someone, it is even possible to find yourself filled with compassion and empathy for the person, for an act of forgiveness opens a heart to God’s grace.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“Think of someone who has wronged you, did something grossly unfair to you or even verbally or physically abused you. Perhaps you’ve forgiven that person. If so I am sure it wasn’t easy and you remember how much hard work it was. Or perhaps there is someone right now you despise for what they’ve done to you. If you try for a moment to sincerely forgive him or her and you’ll see … It truly is like “dying to self” as Christ says we must yet it is the only way to heal a wrong.” (Sacramental Living)

“We tend to downgrade our concept of God’s forgiving love to match our small and inadequate ability to forgive others, or even ourselves, for what we have done. The truth is that this attitude comes from our arrogance. It is arrogant for us to think God’s ability to forgive sin is no greater than our own ability to forgive the sin of others. Instead of reminding ourselves that we were made in God’s image, we make God into our image with our limitations.” (Father David L. Fontes, PsyD)

“When others are caught in sin, are you quick to pass judgment? To do so is to act as though you have never sinned. It is God’s role to judge, not ours. Our role is to show forgiveness and compassion.” (Life Application Study Bible, John 8:7)

“Every true act of forgiveness…is an act of self-offering, an act of pure vulnerability. It risks saying to the other (or it may feel that we are saying), “You were right. I am who your action says I am. I will make no effort to correct you.” Every instinct to protect ourselves, especially from the frightening wounds of shame, screams out to us that this is something we must not do! We look for some small shred of dignity and protection. We will forgive…if. The “if” sets the condition for forgiveness, and keeps our protective identity in place.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

"We see someone sinning and think we have seen the whole person, when in fact we have only caught a glimpse of him at his worst or at his weakest. We do not know whether that person has then shed tears in prayer and begged God for forgiveness. Unfortunately, we are keen to note people’s visible iniquities, but we are not so quick to consider their unseen repentance." (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

“…forgiveness is perhaps the most difficult spiritual undertaking.” (Father Stephan Freeman)

“...only those who realize the depth of their sin can appreciate the complete forgiveness that God offers them.” (Life Application Study Bible, Luke 7:47)

“ …the love of God is ‘the origin of everything that brings about our salvation.’ Life in Christ requires us every day, at every hour, in every circumstance and relationship, to love in the same manner that Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us (Galatians 2:20). Once we recognize this, we understand our need to rely on God’s forgiveness. (Father Paul Tarazi, OCPM 10/25/2015)

"Forgiveness is both the response to God’s love and, at the same time, the ultimate precondition for receiving God’s forgiveness for our own sins:"If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:15). Thus forgiveness is both the beginning of repentance and its end..." (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

“Forgive people quickly regardless of whether or not they ask for it because unforgiveness is poisonous to you, not to them!...Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship."(Bruce Van Horn, Johann Christoph Arnold)

“Forgiveness seems like a great idea until we actually have to do it. Then it’s just hard...even if we have not forgiven with our heart, we should at least humble ourselves and be the first to say sorry. Then, realizing our own hypocrisy, we may be moved to strive all the more to make the forgiveness sincere." (NIV Men's Devotional Bible, Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

“When it comes to forgiveness, one of our problems is that most of us have better memories than God has…The hardest person to forgive is yourself. If it seems impossible to do, remember that God forgives everyone, over and over, so for you to refuse yourself forgiveness is to set yourself above God." (H. Norman Wright, Barbara Bartocci)

“God forgives us, not because we forgive others, but solely because of His great mercy. As we come to understand His mercy, however, we will want to be like Him. Having received forgiveness, we will pass it on to others. Those who are unwilling to forgive have not become one with Christ, who was willing to forgive even those who crucified Him." (Life Application Study Bible, Ephesians 4:32)

“God forgives us, not because we forgive others, but solely because of His great mercy. As we come to understand His mercy, however, we will want to be like Him. Having received forgiveness, we will pass it on to others. Those who are unwilling to forgive have not become one with Christ, who was willing to forgive even those who crucified Him." (Life Application Study Bible, Ephesians 4:32)

“No sin remains beyond the pale of God’s forgiveness, not even blasphemy against God Himself. No one is unforgivable…God does not remove the consequences of our wrongs, but He assures us of His forgiveness.” (Dynamis 9/4/2014)

"To refrain from judgment is the surest path to forgiveness. There is a famous story about a lazy, sinful, and disobedient monk. As he lay on his deathbed, an angel appeared to him holding a large scroll. When he unfolded it, the monk saw that it was extremely long. The angel said,"This is the record of your sins.” The monk replied,"Among all those sins, is there written the sin that I ever judged anyone?” The angel tore up the scroll, and the monk left the world in peace to meet his Maker." (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

“Forgiveness is both an event and a process….It is not enough to forgive others. We must also learn to forgive ourselves—and to accept the gift of God’s forgiveness… Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves and others…” (Ken Sande, Steve Stephens and Alice Gray , David Stoop)

“When we forgive people, we are not denying their responsibility for hurting or offending us, nor are we justifying their act. We can forgive them without approving or excusing their transgression against us. The act of forgiving another opens our hearts to the peace that brings closure to hurt and pain..." (Abbot Tryphon)

“I find that when I think I am asking God to forgive me I am often in reality....asking Him...to excuse me. But there is all the difference in the world between forgiving and excusing. Forgiveness says"Yes, you have done this thing, but I accept your apology; I will never hold it against you and everything between us two will be exactly as it was before.” But excusing says"I see that you couldn’t help it or didn’t mean it; you weren’t really to blame.” If one was not really to blame then there is nothing to forgive. In that sense forgiveness and excusing are almost opposites. . . .” (C. S. Lewis)

“Forgiving is love’s revolution against love’s unfairness. When we forgive, we ignore the normal laws that strap us to the natural law of getting even and, by the alchemy of love, we release ourselves from our own painful pasts. We fly over a dues-paying morality in order to create a new future out of the past’s unfairness. We free ourselves from the wrong that is locked into our private histories; we unshackle our spirits from malice; and, maybe, if we are lucky, we also restore a relationship that would otherwise be lost forever.” (Lewis B. Smedes)

“Many people are afraid to forgive because they feel they must remember the wrong or they will not learn from it. The opposite is true. Through forgiveness, the wrong is released from its emotional stranglehold on us so that we can learn from it. Through the power and intelligence of the heart, the release of forgiveness brings expanded intelligence to work with the situation more effectively.” (David McArthur & Bruce McArthur)

“I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive. Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note--torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one.” (Henry Ward Beecher)

"If God forgives us we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him." (C.S. Lewis)

"Forgiveness involves both attitudes and actions... Many times you will discover that right actions lead to right feelings.” (Life Application Study Bible, Romans 12:19-21)

"Forgiveness is not an emotion, it’s a decision.” (Randall Worley)

“More than an emotion, love is a decision. We decide to act with kindness. We decide to not hold grudges when wronged. We decide to forgive, and to accept forgiveness.” (Fr. Joseph Irvin)"It is made perfectly clear that if we do not forgive we shall not be forgiven.” (C. S. Lewis)

“Refusing to forgive is like drinking gasoline and expecting to stay healthy.” (Michael Minot)

"Much of what you must forgive others for, and especially yourself, is the ignorance that damages. People don’t only hurt willfully. More often because they simply don’t know anything else.” (William Paul Young)

“Because God forgives us even when we have ignored or rejected Him, we should graciously forgive others.” (Life Application Study Bible, Genesis 50:24)

“When we don’t forgive others, we are setting ourselves above Christ’s law of love.” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 18:35)

"We think forgiveness is a beautiful idea until we have to practice it." (C.S. Lewis)

“God forgives us through Christ so our work is to forgive others.” This work is not easy. Think of someone who has wronged you, did something grossly unfair to you or even verbally abused you. Perhaps you’ve forgiven that person. If so I am sure it wasn’t easy and you remember how much hard work it was. Or perhaps there is someone right now you despise for what they’ve done to you. If you try for a moment to sincerely forgive him or her and you’ll see why something such as this is termed work. It truly is like"dying to self” as Christ says we must yet it is the only way to heal a wrong. We must absorb it into ourselves through forgiveness, like Christ absorbed our sins on the cross, which is often painful.” (Sacramental Living)

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