How Do We Practice Forgiveness as Christians

TITLE: How Do We Practice Forgiveness as Christians

SUBJECT: Salvation

PROPOSITION: In this lesson, we will look at some attitudes and actions that are involved in practicing forgiveness.

OBJECTIVE: Each person should be able to understand the proper attitude to have toward someone who is need of and seeks forgiveness.

AIM: That each soberly contemplates their need for forgiveness from God in relation to another’s need for forgiveness from them.


1. Read: Hebrews 10:1-4, 16-18

2. About the Text:

1) Under the Old Law, there was a remembrance of sin.

2) This was so because the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin.

3) We are now under a new covenant.

4) Under this covenant, sins are not remembered.

5) Under this covenant sins are forgiven.

6) To live under this new covenant of forgiveness, we as well must practice forgiveness.

7) Sometimes it is harder to forgive someone than to ask for forgiveness.

8) Let’s talk a few moments about practicing forgiveness.

9) Repentance must precede forgiveness.

10) Not our purpose to talk about the conditions of forgiveness in this lesson.

3. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.

DISCUSSION: In order to practice forgiveness we must . . .

I.   Practice Forgiveness: Recognize that God’s forgiveness of us is dependent upon our forgiveness of others.

1. Genesis 50:15-21 — Joseph’s forgiveness of his brothers — “Am I God?”

2. Matthew 6:14, 15 “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

3. Matthew 18:23-35 (read).

II.  Practice Forgiveness: Respect the value of the one who needs forgiveness, as God respects that value.

1. Chief Maskepetoon upon confronting his father’s murderer, “You have killed my father, so now you must be my father. You shall ride my best horse and wear my best clothes.”

2. Romans 5:6-10. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

3. Matthew 18:11-13 “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.”

III. Practice Forgiveness: Act toward the one forgiven as we would want God to act toward us.

1. Illustration about man and wife trying to solve marriage problems with “criticism” box. Hers had criticisms. His had “I love yous.”

2. “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Eph.4:32).

3. “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” (Col.3:12, 13).

IV.  We should make every effort to forgive as God forgives, by forgetting the trespass.

1. The story of the man who allegedly could talk to God. As a test, a friend wanted to know if God could tell him his sins. Answer was, “He forgot.”

2. Psalm 103:10-12 “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”

3. Hebrews 10:16-18.

CONCLUSION: How do we practice forgiveness as Christians?

1. Are you practicing forgiveness in your life?

1) Recognize that God’s forgiveness of us depends upon our forgiveness of others.

2) Respect the value of those who need forgiveness as God respected us.

3) Act toward the one forgiven as God would act toward us.

4) Forgive as God forgives, forget.

5) Robert E. Lee regarding an oak tree in Kentucky damaged by Federal troops during the civil war: “Cut it down, my dear madam, and forget it!”

2. Invitation