RE:QUESTA space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith
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Christian Teachings About Forgiveness
The Bible teaches that it is important to resolve conflict, restore peace and forgive whenever possible, so Christians strive to work hard on relationships, forgiving people on a daily basis. Christians are human and can struggle to forgive, but they can ask God to help them.
There is a famous case of a Christian lady called Corrie ten Boom, who upon release from a Nazi concentration camp where she had been imprisoned, began preaching around Europe. In 1947 at one of these services, she encountered a man who had been a guard at the camp. He reached to shake her hand, and of course, she struggled to accept it. But she asked God to help her overcome her lack of forgiveness and found the strength to shake his hand. You can read more about this story here.
- Jesus, the most important person in Christianity, died on the cross to bring forgiveness, redemption, and reconciliation between God and humanity. Forgiveness is at the heart of the gospel!
- When Jesus was dying on the cross, he asked God to forgive the people who had executed him: 'Jesus said, “Forgive them, Father! They don't know what they are doing."' Luke 23:34
- Jesus taught the importance of forgiveness in some of his most famous parables. For example, the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant and the Parable of the Lost Son both have forgiveness central to their stories. Indeed, the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant teaches that if Christians don't forgive others, then God won't forgive them.
- In response to a question from Peter about how many times he should forgive someone, 'Jesus said, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven."' Matthew 18:22
- The Lord's Prayer contains the words, 'Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.' This prayer was said by Jesus, who was teaching the disciples how to pray.
- The Golden Rule teaches Christians to treat others the way they wish to be treated, therefore, as Christians wish to receive forgiveness themselves they understand they should also forgive others.