The Lord calls us to both forgive and to lead others to forgive. We must be ministers of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18). The following fourteen questions can be used as a tool by which we can call others to forgive everyone immediately for every sin committed against them.
1. What is forgiveness?
Forgiveness is our decision to accept God's grace to let go of resentments due to sins committed against us and to express this by acts of mercy and love toward the offender (see Lk 15:20-24).
2. How often must I forgive?
70 x 7, that is, indefinitely, always (see Mt 18:22).
3. Are there any sins which I don't have to forgive?
No, the Lord calls us to forgive all sins — even rape, murder, abuse, adultery, etc.
4. When I forgive, am I condoning sin?
No, the Lord forgives all our sins and condones none of them (see Jn 8:11).
5. Must I forgive if the person offending me isn't sorry?
Yes, for-giveness is before-giveness — to give pardon before you are asked forgiveness or even if never asked forgiveness.
6. Must I forgive if a person continues to hurt me?
Yes, while hanging on the cross Jesus forgave His enemies while they continued to spit at Him and blaspheme Him (see Lk 23:34-35).
7. If I forgive a person, do I stay in an abusive situation?
No, you free yourself to obey God and remove yourself from an abusive situation until it is changed.
8. How do I forgive?
None of us can forgive by our own power. "To err is human, to forgive divine," and we are not divine. However, the Lord promised us His divine power to forgive. Therefore, forgiveness is our decision to accept God's grace to forgive.
9. What if I don't want to forgive?
We should pray to realize how much the Lord has forgiven us. Then by God's grace we must decide to accept the grace to pass on to others the forgiveness given to us.
10. How fast must I forgive?
Immediately (Mt 5:25). We're in a self-made jail and at a stand-still in our relationship with God until we forgive.
11. What if I forgive and not forget?
Forgetting sins committed against us is not to have amnesia. Rather, to forget sins means that there is no special sting in us when we remember sins committed against us. If it hurts us to remember these sins, either we need healing or have not truly forgiven.
12. How do I forgive myself?
Not forgiving ourselves is a symptom which will take care of itself if we truly forgive others and receive prayers for healing.
13. What if I don't forgive?
a. We "give the devil a chance to work on" us (see Eph 4:27).
b. We are handed over to the torturers (Mt 18:34). These torturers are such things as fear, loneliness, depression, frustration, anxiety, and self-hatred.
c. We cut ourselves off from receiving forgiveness (Mt 6:12, 15), healing (Sir 28:3), prayer (Mk 11:25), and worship (Mt 5:23-24).
d. If we persist in unforgiveness, we cut ourselves off from God forever and thereby damn ourselves.
14. How do I know if I have forgiven?
Forgiveness is not a feeling but a decision. Moreover, forgiveness is not only praying for those who have hurt us or treating them politely. We know that we have made the decision to forgive when we show it in acts of love and mercy to those who have sinned against us. For example, the father of the prodigal son threw his arms around his son, kissed him, gave him gifts, honored him, and celebrated his return (Lk 15:20-24). By God's grace, we must go and do likewise.