If there’s one thing that the bible talks about over and over again, it’s forgiveness. It particularly emphasizes the importance of forgiveness and the role it plays in the Christian life. So in today’s post, we’re going to share a few bible stories of forgiveness.
Bible stories about forgiveness in the old testament
The story of David committing murder and the act of adultery (2 Samuel chapters 11-12)
In 2 Samuel chapter 11, King David sees Bathsheba for the first time and sleeps with her, even though she is Uriah’s wife. When she eventually gets pregnant and notifies him of this, he takes things a step further – he kills Uriah.
For these two sins, God is angry with David and even sends Nathan to confront him (2 Samuel chapter 12).
Eventually, David confesses to his sins and repents. While God still punishes him by killing the child that Bathsheba gives birth to, he eventually forgives him. After a while, He even blesses Bathsheba and David with a son called Solomon whom He loves and blessed abundantly in his lifetime.
That’s why King David praises God in Psalm 86:12-13 and thanks him for saving his soul from eternal damnation.
Life application: God’s forgiveness can cover a multitude of sins – we are never too far gone to be saved and welcomed into eternal life. As long as we repent and are sincere, He will listen to us and restore us. However, this doesn’t mean that we won’t be punished for our sins.
The story of Jacob and Esau (Genesis chapters 25-32)
In chapter 25 of the book of Genesis, we are introduced to twins Jacob and Esau – Isaac’s sons. The older twin, Esau grew up to be what we would call a man’s man today. Not only was he hairier than Jacob, but he was also a better hunter – he simply loved all outdoor activities.
Because of this, his father Isaac loved him more while his mother was more fond of Jacob. Interestingly though, Jacob’s brother Esau didn’t value his birthright as much as he did. So one day when he came home hungry and was in great need of a bowl of soup from Jacob, he agreed to forfeit his birthright in exchange for it.
Years later, Jacob with the help of his mother tricked his father into believing that he was his manly son Esau and received his blessings in his stead. Understandably, this enrages Esau and he swears to kill his brother. However, the next time they meet years later, the older twin forgives the younger one, and the two reconcile.
Life application: While it always hurts when we are betrayed by a family member, we should always forgive them. We should remember that we too make mistakes and that no human being is perfect. After all, even our heavenly father forgives us of all
The story of Joseph and his brothers (Genesis chapters 37-50)
Joseph’s story is one of the most powerful examples of forgiveness in the Old Testament. Found in the book of Genesis, it’s about how Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him because their father Jacob loved him more.
Things particularly got worse when he started sharing with them his dreams that indicated that they would serve him in the future. Eventually, they decided to sell their brother Joseph and take his bloody robe to his father Jacob.
However, after many years, they faced a severe famine and went to look for food in Egypt, only to find that Joseph was a leader there. In a radical display of great love, Joseph greets his brothers with open arms and provides for them.
Life application: While it can be tempting to take revenge on those that have betrayed and hurt you, it won’t take your pain away. The only way you can rid yourself of the pain is to forgive, let go, and treat those who’ve betrayed you with kindness. It makes no sense to lose who you are because of what a family member or even a stranger has done to you in the past.
Bible stories about forgiveness in the new testament
The story of Saul’s salvation (Acts 9)
Chapter 9 of the book of Acts of how Saul came to be known as the apostle Paul. It reminds us that he used to persecute followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. The chapter starts by telling us that Saul was full of spite for the disciples and wanted to take them as prisoners.
However, something divine happened to him on his way to Damascus to put his plan into action – he was hit by a light from heaven and made blind. Beyond that, he heard the voice of Jesus asking him why he was persecuting him.
This was not the end of things though – God later on sent Ananias to heal Saul and lead him to Christ Jesus.
Ultimately, Saul received Christ’s forgiveness and was filled with the holy spirit. He eventually became one of the most powerful apostles and many started to refer to him as Paul.
Life application: One of the most painful things to accept is that our enemies are also beloved children of God. So in as much as they persecute us, God will also try to save their souls. Sometimes he may even send other believers to convert and heal them.
While this doesn’t mean that they get a free pass for what they’ve done to us, it does mean that we need to find a way to forgive them and welcome them into the kingdom of heaven.
The story of Jesus’ death and resurrection (Matthew chapter 27-28)
This is undoubtedly the greatest example of forgiveness in the bible. It tells the story of how Jesus was betrayed by one of his disciples and was eventually executed, only to resurrect after 3 days. Even though he knew that this would happen and would rather have not died, he didn’t fight his fate because he knew it was part of God’s grand scheme.
Beyond that, he knew that this was the only way to ensure the full forgiveness of our sins. The fact that he was the son of God yet was willing to die for the sins of the whole world is a clear sign of the love of Jesus (John 15:13). He even went as far as asking God to forgive his persecutors.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the act of God sending him to take on the identity of sin and die was a beautiful picture of his redemptive love as well. After all, this event is what introduced the concept of God’s grace and that we are justified by faith. In many ways, it’s God’s greatest gift to us.
Life application: As Christians, God expects us to follow Jesus’ example, especially when it comes to forgiving others. While it is difficult to forgive those that betray and persecute us, it is the only way to keep yourself from getting bitter and resentful (Ephesians 4:31-32). Ultimately, forgiveness usually goes hand in hand with patience, kindness, and unconditional love.
The parable of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:21-35)
Jesus narrates this parable to his disciples after Peter asks him how many times they should forgive others and he says seventy-seven times. It talks of a king who was settling debts with his servants.
The first servant who was brought to him couldn’t afford to pay back and begged his master to give him more time and not sell him and his family off.
Fortunately, the master was merciful and forgave his debt. But when the forgiven man met a fellow servant who owed him money outside, he didn’t forgive him and even threw him in prison. When the servant’s master heard about this, he was angry.
As such, he summoned him, called him a wicked servant, and sent him to jail. Jesus finished off this parable by saying that this is the way God will treat any one of us who doesn’t forgive others.
Life application: This parable reminds us of God’s forgiveness of our sins and the fact that he expects us to do the same for others. After all, God has been forgiving us since we were born and has even granted us righteousness and eternal life despite our flaws.
So if you’re upset about having to forgive others seventy-seven times, remember that your heavenly father has already done more than this for you.
The parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32)
The story of the prodigal son talks about a man and his two sons. One day, the younger son asked the man for his inheritance. After his father granted his wish, he set off for a distant country and squandered all his money on wild living.
So when a severe famine hit the area, he had nothing to his name and ended up feeding pigs. Eventually, he decided to go back to his father and beg for him to take him in as one of his servants. But when his father saw him in the distance, he ran to him with open arms and welcomed him back as a son.
He not only gave the prodigal son new clothes and jewelry, but he also held a feast for him. This made the ever-loyal older brother jealous.
Life application: When a fellow believer strays and then comes back to God and is seemingly getting more blessings than you, it’s not the time to get jealous. Instead, you should be happy that their eternal soul has been redeemed. Remember, heaven rejoices whenever one sinner repents rather than over the many who are already saved.
When it comes down to it, the bible is full of various stories about the great power of forgiveness.