ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Is Forgiveness Always Possible?

Updated on August 20, 2020
drmiddlebrook profile image

A former university communications professor, Sallie, an independent publisher, also writes romantic fiction novels and short stories.

Does God Always Forgive?

Are there some things for which God will deny us forgiveness? The truth is, it is hard to sin beyond the grace of God. God's mercy is limitless, and His love for us is larger than the universe. Once we accept the Christ as our Savior, God forgives our sins--past, present, and future. The debt of sin (transgressions that we confess are a sin, and are in agreement with the word of God on what constitutes sin, and is, therefore, wrong for us to do) has been paid with the blood of Jesus.

Confession, repentance, and asking for forgiveness of sin brings us back into fellowship with God the Creator, who has already forgiven us. According to the gospel of Mark (3:22-30) and Matthew (12:31-32), the only unforgivable sin is committed by those who reject the Holy Spirit's message about Jesus.

But what about us? Do we always have to forgive wrongs committed against us? Do others always have to forgive wrongs we commit against them?

Rupert Murdoch's apology letter to victims of News of the World's hacking scandal, May, 2012.
Rupert Murdoch's apology letter to victims of News of the World's hacking scandal, May, 2012. | Source

Do We Always Have to Forgive?

Even though we, as Christians, understand that forgiveness can free us from the venom of bitterness, resentment, anger, mean-spirited attitudes, and rage--as flawed human beings, it can still be hard for us to forgive.

Even though our Bible teaches us we need to be able to forgive, so that we can experience the “ventilation” and the liberation that forgiveness provides, it is still not always an easy thing to do. Even though we understand that God asks us to forgive others so that we can receive forgiveness from Him when we sin, still, it is not always easy. But easy or not, God desires that we do it anyway.

God teaches us that it is right to extend forgiveness. In Luke 23:34, Jesus said, “. . . Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Apparently sometimes the ignorance of human beings can be so great, God still bestows merciful forgiveness upon them.

God also provides a way for us to deal with someone who stubbornly refuses to ask for forgiveness, or to admit his or her wrongdoing or transgressions against us. In Matthew 18:15-17, the inspired word of God says:

“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”

God's forgiveness is vast and deep, because His love for us is vast and deep. He even guides us in how He wants us to approach someone who needs to ask our forgiveness.

By telling us to “go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone,“ God is teaching us to be discreet about the matter of being denied forgiveness. He instructs us to speak in privacy with the transgressor. God says if the transgressor hears us, we will have gained a brother. The transgressor who truly hears will respect the fact that you approached him or her in private, and will ask forgiveness at that point, and will be repentant.

But the transgressor who does not hear when approached in private is a different matter. The Bible tells us when this happens, we should conduct an intervention by taking others with us to confront the person. It is a good thing to have witnesses also hear about the transgression, as well as to hear us offer the transgressor an opportunity to ask our forgiveness.

If the transgressor also refuses to hear in the presence of witnesses, then God says we should tell it to the church. Remember, wherever two or more are gathered in the name of Jesus, that is church. But, if the act of taking the matter to the church also fails to get the transgressor's attention, God says we should then think of them as we would a heathen.

What does it mean to think of someone, anyone, as we would think of a "heathen and a publican?" A heathen can be defined as someone who worships false gods, or someone who professes love for God, yet does not obey the Commandments of God. When Christ walked among men, a "publican" was considered to be a vile person, most often a common tax collector. The position was widely seen as occupied by unscrupulous men who often engaged in extortion, exacting more from people in the form of taxes than what was rightfully owed.Therefore, God wants us to work to help transgressors gain forgiveness, but if they refuse, God wants us to know we are free to disassociate from them.

Forgiveness is not always easy. But it is always a choice. We are all human, and we are all weak. For these reasons, we are all going to make mistakes in our relationships with each other. But because we've been given the power of forgiveness, we have a way to allow each other second chances. Jesus provides us with this way, for it surely is an example of His divine nature that can be reflected in our actions toward one another.

Freeing ourselves of resentment is only part of what the Christ had in mind when it comes to the power of forgiveness. Just as God forgives us for our sake, He asks us to join with Him in being part of the redemptive process for those who have asked for mercy. He asks us to do this not in our own strength, but by His grace working in us.

© 2013 Sallie B Middlebrook PhD


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)