“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. 

Most people are comfortable with the idea of forgiveness. That is until someone offends or hurts them and then the concept of forgiveness is not all that appealing. Suddenly the idea of forgiving someone seems to compound the unfairness of being wronged. We want to focus on everyone else’s wrongs and rally those who agree with me to join in the fight for justice. Is that too much to ask?

The Bible says we can’t let that happen. Because we are not perfect, even people who love us are going to hurt us. The question is, “How will we respond when we get hurt?”The first part of Colossians 3:13 says, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you” We need to remember that even the most mature Christians we know are not perfect. Neither are our family and friends. They do things we might not think are right. If and when that happens, we’re to be gracious and loving and forgive anyone who offends us. Colossians 3:13 is pretty straightforward; it’s not just good advice; it’s a command. God expects us to forgive each other.

Most people are thinking to themselves about now “hold on a second…I can forgive a lot of things, but I can’t forgive that. Not that.” The second half of Colossians 3:13 gives you something to think about when you find yourself in these situations: “Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Jesus died on the cross to forgive every offense you and I have ever committed against God or our fellow humans. If we’ve accepted Jesus as our Savior, God has forgiven us, without hesitation or exceptions. Whatever we’ve done and whatever our motivation was, He forgives us. And He expects us to do the same.

In Matthew 18,  Jesus then told a parable about a servant who borrowed millions of dollars from the king and couldn’t pay it back. The king forgave him and cancelled his debt, but then the servant wouldn’t forgive one of his coworkers who owed him a few thousand dollars. When the king heard what happened, he was incensed and had the servant brought in and punished for not having the same mercy in his heart that the king had demonstrated. No matter how large the offense is or how often someone hurts us, God expects us to forgive.

It is not human nature to do that. We need the Holy Spirit to take over our lives to help us to forgive like Jesus. But when we do, we see the benefits: Not only do we experience God’s forgiveness more fully, but also we enjoy relationships without being hindered by the hard feelings that come from holding a grudge.

That’s why God wants us to forgive others — not just for their benefit, but for ours as well.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is forgiveness to you?
  2. Is there power in forgiveness? Why or why not?
  3. What happens if I don’t forgive?