Forgiveness in the Bible and How It Heals Us

June 13, 2022

forgiveness in the bible

Digestive upset, brain fog, cancer, anxiety, skin breakouts, heat attacks, unable to read, think, or even breathe, trouble praying or reading the Bible, …….

What do all these have in common? Bitterness! Unforgiveness! 

  • Is there anyone that has harmed you or your family and you still remember every detail?

  • Do you wish you could make people see their evil ways?

  • Does your stomach knot up when you reflect on a past incidence? 

These feelings of unforgiveness, revenge, and bitterness are a killer!  

Therefore we need to learn and apply what the Bible says about forgiveness, which is how this post will help you.

As you read, I will share what the Bible says about forgiveness and how it is the key to experiencing true health that begins from the inside out. As well as, the three steps to take to walk in forgiveness.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. The power of forgiveness is important. The release that comes with forgiveness is so much more amazing than I ever thought possible.

And yes, there is hope available to you!

Let’s dive in.

My Quick Story

Annette Reeder

At one point in my life, bitterness affected my physical, mental and spiritual view of life.

Bitterness is like a murky swamp, blocking us from the treasure of true spiritual and physical health. I didn’t realize the power of hope that was available. In fact, I often tried to pull others down into the swamp with me by transferring blame. I was miserable and decided I wanted happiness.

So one day, I shifted focus. I made a list of the people I needed to forgive. The list stared back at me and revealed how out of control this area of my life had become. It was time to change. I was ready to be set free. I needed to be set free.

The decision to get relief from the murky waters was mine all along. And it’s yours, too. 

Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”  2 Corinthians 2:10-11

The point we need to understand is that unforgiveness only kills the person who is bitter, not the person who harmed.

You deserve to be set free physically, spiritually and mentally and forgiveness will help you to experience these freedoms.

Here’s how:

Why Forgiveness Is So Powerful

why forgiveness is so powerful

What is the meaning of forgiveness biblically, and why is it so powerful? The answer might surprise you.

Throughout the Bible, sins and offenses are burdens or weights. The Hebrew term used in the Old Testament for “forgive” is rooted in the concept of “lifting up” the weight, taking it off the shoulders of yourself and the one who has wronged you. 

Thus you shall say to Joseph: ‘I beg you, please forgive [lift up] the trespass of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you’” (Gen. 50:17 NKJV).

In the Greek background of the New Testament, the basic meaning of the word translated “forgive” is “to send away.” 

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us [send away] our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NKJV).

Perhaps you have attempted to forgive others or forgive yourself, but you weren’t able to

totally throw off the weight. You’re trying, but the offense won’t budge. The problem is that there is a lock on the yoke. Something in the situation is binding the debt to you. 

That lock comes from a sense of unworthiness. 

For example, you may endeavor to forgive someone else, but deep down, you don’t genuinely believe that he or she is really worthy of your forgiveness. We have devalued them. And if you’re trying to forgive yourself, you don’t feel worthy of being released from the debt.

Does this sound familiar?

Relational Sins

relational sins

In his book The Healing Power of Forgiveness, Ray Pritchard, pastor of Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Illinois, explains that how we treat others directly affects our relationship with God.

As long as we harbor relational sins and wrong attitudes, we will never grow spiritually,” he writes. “These relational sins are like the junk food of the soul. They choke off our craving for the Word so that instead of growing, we stay just as we are.”

He goes on to say: “When your horizontal relationships with others are messed up, your vertical relationship with God will never be right. God has wired us up so that the horizontal and the vertical go together. John says it ‌plainly: “If anyone says ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20 NIV).”

Once we understand the impact of unforgiveness in our life, we will understand why forgiveness is so powerful – and why Jesus wants us to walk in it.

Why Forgiveness Is Important

why forgiveness is important

So what happens when we let our lives be characterized by regularly forgiving others (and yourself)? 

Here are some ways your health may change:

  • lower blood pressure

  • reduction of stress

  • lower heart rate

  • fewer symptoms of depression

  • fewer symptoms of anxiety

  • reduction in chronic pain

  • improved psychological well-being

  • Your Smile Returns - I can prove it!

Unforgiveness is a weight. And when we carry unforgiveness around, it is akin to lugging around a physical load. It will literally wear you down. 

The stress of dealing with this burden promises only anxiety. This is precisely what occurs when you cling to unforgiveness. You clutch to your heart and drag around a massive weight that is dangerous for your health.

Right now, is a weight weighing down your mind, crippling your feelings, or even adversely affecting your body? 

I encourage you to spend a little time reflecting on some of the symptoms you experience on a daily basis that could be attributed to an unresolved grudge.

Revealing The Bounty Of Forgiveness

bounty of forgiveness

C. S. Lewis wrote: “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive.” 

Isn’t it true that forgiveness doesn’t really become a problem as long as they have not hurt us? The real issue comes when someone crosses one of our invisible lines – that line called “too far.” 

A coworker disrespects you, a criminal kills someone you love, a thief takes some of your possessions... Whether friend or foe, that person has stepped over the line where you’re not able or willing to forgive. 

The reason forgiveness is such a challenge for our hearts and minds – whether you need to forgive someone else or yourself – is that there exists a genuine debt. If a person has wronged you, he has taken something precious from you. He has stolen a person, an object, or your reputation. 

The result is an outstanding balance, a debt that the person owes you. And this debt is not just in your mind. It is real. 

And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us” (Luke 11:4, NKJV).

Make no mistake. Forgiveness is not a synonym for repression. You can’t just ignore these debts, because they truly exist. 

From a biblical standpoint, every sinner’s offenses are ultimately against God and His righteousness. And, at the end of time, every person will still have to pay for his wrongdoing.

The only exception to this rule is if the person repents before God and trusts Jesus Christ to have paid that debt in full at the cross at Calvary. 

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us [send away] our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NKJV). 

Think of the surrounding people. Has anyone taken something from you? Are you aware of a debt (wrong done), or multiple debts existing in your heart? Write down those debts, along with the name of the person who owes them to you. 

This is the first step to realizing the weights you are carrying.

What Is Forgiveness In The Bible

forgiveness in the bible

Are you seeing how great of an issue forgiveness, and the lack of it, is in your life? 

Let’s continue to dig deep into the truth about forgiveness in the Bible in order to get a clearer picture.

In Numbers 12, Miriam sins against Moses and ultimately against God. She sullied Moses’ reputation and questioned his authority. Suddenly, she was stricken with leprosy. Aaron was also a part of this mutiny, but when he realized his error, he asked for forgiveness. 

Moses considered Miriam worthy of forgiveness, for she was his sister. So he asked God to remove that burden of guilt from her. True to His character, God forgave her, but she still had to pay the price for her act of rebellion and make the required sacrifices.

More Key Bible Verses On Forgiveness

key bible verses on forgiveness

Over and over, Jesus showed ‌we cannot hold anything against anyone. Just as God forgave us, we need to forgive others. 

Mark 11:25-26 says, “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses” (KJV). 

Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Col. 3:13 (ESV).

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you…” Matthew 6:14 (ESV).

In order to experience renewed health–both physically and spiritually–you need to forgive those who are indebted to you. 

But how do you do this?

How To Forgive

Learning how to forgive is a process, AND it leads to abundant freedom, health, grace, and spiritual growth.

In order to forgive anyone—a friend, a family member, an enemy, even yourself—there are three steps necessary to successfully remove the burden.

Learning how to forgive is a process, AND it leads to abundant freedom, health, grace, and spiritual growth.

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3 steps to forgive:

  1. Identify the debt or wrongdoing. Make sure you know all that has been taken from you. (If you need to forgive yourself, acknowledge what your sins or mistakes have cost you or others.)

  2. Acknowledge the worthiness of the person you are to forgive. You may not feel that he or she is worthy, but God’s Word tells us he or she is. (Recognize that Jesus paid the price for you and deemed you worthy. Spend some time meditating on Psalm 103:10-14.)

Ask God to help you lift the weight and send it away. If the burden is especially heavy, you don’t possess the strength to hoist it up and off your shoulders. Invite the Lord to assist you.


In the end, forgiveness is not about us or about those who have hurt us. Forgiveness is all about God. Until we grasp this, unforgiveness will remain a terrible burden we cannot bear. The treasure of health that is found in forgiveness comes from the One who gave us abundant life. 

To take this treasure to heart, I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on what steps you can make to work toward forgiveness. Also, what commitment are you going to make to improve your health? 

Forgiveness is setting a prisoner free and then realizing the prisoner was you.” —Lewis Smedes
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