Choosing to free others from the 'debt' they may owe you for a wrong they committed against you and to not feel resentment toward them.


It is impossible to live on this fallen planet without getting hurt, offended, misunderstood, lied to, and rejected. The word “forgive” means to wipe the slate clean, to pardon, to cancel a debt. It is important to remember that forgiveness is not granted because a person deserves to be forgiven.

And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.Mark 11:25

Skilled Characteristics

  • Aware

    Is aware of one’s own sinfulness and need for forgiveness

  • Humble

    Sees oneself as an imperfect person who is also in need of forgiveness

  • Empathy

    Can put oneself in the shoes of the other person and try to understand what they are thinking and feeling

  • Gratefulness

    Is grateful for God’s forgiveness of oneself

  • Prayerful

    Seeks God’s heart and help to forgive others – prays for those who have wronged them

  • Releases

    Is willing to release others from their hurtful actions and choose to forgive them

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.”

– Matthew 6:14

Unskilled Characteristics

  • Avoids

    Tries to avoid certain people

  • Blames

    Frequently blames a person or says negative things about them

  • Dislike

    Holds a strong dislike (or even a hatred) for someone

  • Re-Tells

    Frequently brings up a negative situation from the past where someone did something wrong

  • Can't Rejoice

    Can not share in rejoicing with someone even when something wonderful happens to them

“Until we have seen someone’s darkness, we don’t really know who they are. Until we have forgiven someone’s darkness, we don’t really know what love is.”

– Marianne Williamson

Causes of Weakness

  • Needs Forgiveness

    Has a strong feeling that one needs forgiveness of oneself and can’t forgive others until one has received that forgiveness

  • Lacks Empathy

    Has a hard time understanding the other person, putting oneself in his/her shoes, or seeing him/her as a regular person

  • Needs Time

    Needs more time before one is willing and able to totally forgive someone else

  • Need for Payback

    Incorrectly believes that the person first must pay for their sin before they can be forgiven

“Without forgiveness life is governed by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.”

– Roberto Assagioli


Review the simple application steps below and choose 1 or 2 things you can do to spur yourself on to further growth.

  • Name It

    NAME IT: Write down the name of the person you have chosen to forgive. Then write down what you need to forgive them for. Also write down some of the things that you have done in your life that has needed forgiveness. This will help you to show mercy to the other person.

  • Give it to God

    GIVE IT TO GOD: Remember that forgiving someone is a mental, emotional and spiritual exercise. In fact, it is impossible to truly forgive others without God’s help. God has forgiven billions of people, and He can help you to forgive, as well. Admit your need for God in these situations and ask for His help.

  • Grasp the Extent

    GRASP THE EXTENT: It is important that you have recognized the full scope and impact of what another person has done to you in order to fully forgive. You may need to seek the assistance of a pastor, counselor, or other trusted professional or friend to help you to fully understand what happened to you when you were hurt and why it hurts so much.

  • Surrender

    SURRENDER: You must get to a place where you are ready and willing to surrender to God what the other person has done to you. You must be able to let go of your desire to get even with the person. Pray to God and surrender your rights to get even, and release that person and the situation into God’s hands.

  • Have Compassion

    HAVE COMPASSION: Choose to have compassion on the other person. Remember that they are suffering, too. Pray for them and ask God to bless them.

  • Move On

    MOVE ON: Allow yourself to move on with life without thoughts about this person or situation holding you captive. If you need to go through this process again, then do so. That is normal, as forgiveness is often a process that takes time.