Biblical Principle #94: God Loves Forgiveness

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God loves forgiveness.


Genesis 33 records the first human example of forgiveness in the Bible. Yes, as far as we know, GOD would eventually forgive Adam and Eve of their sin in the Garden, but that would not come right away. And it is true that Laban and Jacob made a covenant of peace as recorded in Genesis 31.

But in Genesis 33, Esau forgave Jacob, his brother who had deceived and so deeply hurt him when they were younger.

1 Now Jacob lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau his brother was coming, and four hundred men with him. So Jacob divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and the two maidservants. 2 Then he put the maidservants and their sons in front, Leah and her children behind, and Rachel and Joseph last. 3 He then crossed over before them and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

4 But Esau ran to meet him, embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him; and they wept. 5 Then he lifted his eyes and saw the women and children, and said, “Who are these with you?” He replied, “The children God mercifully gave your servant.” 6 Then the maidservants came near, they and their children, and bowed down. 7 Leah also came near with her children, and they bowed down. Afterward Rachel and Joseph came near, and they bowed down.

8 Then Esau said, “What are these things to you, all this company I met?” So he said, “That your servant might find grace in the sight of my Lord.” 9 But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.” 10 But Jacob replied, “If I have now found grace in your sight, receive the present from my hands, inasmuch as I have seen your face, as though someone might see the face of God; and you were pleased with me. 11 Receive my blessing I brought you, because God has shown me mercy; and I have enough.” Thus he urged him, and he took it.

12 Then Esau said, “Let us take our journey; let us go, and I will go before you.” 13 But Jacob said to him, “My lord knows the children are weak, and the flocks and herds with me are giving birth. If therefore the men should drive them hard one day, all the cattle would die.

14 Let my lord go on ahead before his servant. I will lead on slowly at a pace the children are able to bear, until I come to my lord in Seir.” 15 Then Esau said, “Let me leave with you some of the people with me.” But he said, “What need is there? It is enough that I found grace in my lord’s sight.” 16 So Esau returned that day on his way to Seir.

Genesis 33:1-16 OSB

GOD is pleased when we forgive each other. GOD knows we are imperfect sinners and that sometimes we wrong one another.

Jesus taught that we should forgive each other repeatedly—even when it is for the same offense.

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Matthew 6:14-15 NIV

To the Christians in Colossae, the apostle Paul wrote:

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Colossians 3:12-14 NIV

Regardless of how badly someone has wronged us—regardless of how badly we have wronged someone else—nobody has been wronged as badly as GOD. And yet He is willing to forgive and He does forgive those who ask for it.

We forgive because GOD forgives. GOD loves forgiveness because He wants what is best for us.

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