Will God Stop Forgiving Me?

Gil Mertz
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Short answer from Bible to Life: No, God never stops forgiving the person who asks for forgiveness.

God is love, and the greatest demonstration of His love comes to us in the expression of forgiveness. This is also the highest expression of our love today. The two are inseparable. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power of love.”

Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” We often interpret this Scripture to mean that we should forgive because God forgave us. However, when this verse says to forgive “just as in Christ God forgave you,” could it also mean to forgive the way God does it? While God’s forgiveness may seem like an impossible standard, we can strive to imitate the ways He forgives. Let me illustrate four ways God forgives us to help us better understand how we can seek to forgive others.

God Forgives Immediately

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever” (Ps. 103:8–9). Though it takes time to work through the emotional process of forgiveness, committing to forgive someone should be immediate. God doesn’t hold grudges, and He forgives immediately. If we want to forgive the way God forgives, we must do the same. If we don’t, we will languish indefinitely in our grudges, which only keeps us from freedom.

“The same God who forgives us like this can give us the power to forgive others in the same way.”

God Extends Forgiveness Unconditionally

Some may ask, “Don’t I have to ask for forgiveness before God forgives?” To receive His forgiveness requires repentance, but He extends forgiveness without condition. Let me highlight an important part of the Bible verse I shared earlier from Romans 5:8, that Jesus died for our sins “while we were still sinners.” God didn’t say, “Repent and then I’ll have Jesus die for your sins.” Unconditional forgiveness was already in place; we just have to accept it through repentance. If I die in my sins, it means I didn’t accept the forgiveness God was offering me. In the same way, we must extend forgiveness unconditionally even if they never say they’re sorry.

God Forgives Completely

“You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea” (Mic. 7:19). Have you ever been on a boat in the ocean? It could be on a cruise, deep-sea fishing, or in the military. Imagine tossing a coin overboard and watching it drop down into the ocean. In doing so, you’ve not only lost it to the depths, you’ve put it where it can never be recovered. This is the picture the Bible gives of how God forgives our sins. The psalmist David said that “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103:12). As we forgive, we do not harbor resentment. We forgive and then let it go completely.

God Forgives Repeatedly

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times’” (Matt. 18:21–22). A man once asked, “How many times do I need to forgive others?” The answer came, “As often as God forgives you.”

How often has God forgiven us? I’m guessing probably a lot more than seventy-seven times, as He told Peter. God forgives repeatedly, and He expects the same from us. He wants forgiveness to be much more than a onetime event in our lives. God wants forgiveness to be a lifestyle. Sometimes we need to forgive several people only once, while at other times we may need to repeatedly forgive the same person.

I know that forgiving others immediately, unconditionally, completely, and repeatedly sounds impossible. Keep in mind that this takes time, so we all need a lot of grace in the process. Also remember that the same God who forgives us like this can give us the power to forgive others in the same way. For now, let’s start slow and begin the process toward forgiving your way to freedom.

For Further Reading:

Forgive Your Way to Freedom

by Gil Mertz

Have you ever been hurt by someone else that you needed to forgive? Have you ever hurt someone else and needed to ask their forgiveness? Do you...

book cover for Forgive Your Way to Freedom