Forgiving Others

Jesus spoke often about forgiving others in the Gospels. This essential Christian teaching is one that can be very difficult for Catholics to follow because it conflicts with human thinking.

While justice dictates that a person who has been harmed or mistreated is owed something, forgiveness removes that debt without denying that the debt is owed.

In the Our Father prayer, Jesus teaches that if a Christian wants forgiveness, they have to practice forgiveness themselves, responding with love like God does, and forgiving as God has forgiven them.

When asked how often his disciples were expected to forgive a person, Jesus answered that they should forgive a person without limit, as many times as the person who harmed them asks to be forgiven.

Forgiving another person is not the same as God’s forgiveness, which absolves from sin. With the help of God’s grace, forgiving another person lets go of any bad will that is felt toward them and frees the forgiver of anger and resentment.

The decision to forgive is a choice. This act of the will may not be accompanied by good feelings but the process of forgiving leads to healing.

Forgiveness does not mean forgetting what happened or denying that the experience caused any harm. The pain of the experience and a lack of trust may remain, and forgiveness may not lead to reconciliation with the other person.

Denying forgiveness to a person who has repented and asks for forgiveness goes against Catholic teaching and may even invite demonic activity.

A person who does not repent and does not take responsibility for causing harm denies themselves of the opportunity to receive forgiveness extended to them.

Jesus speaks often of forgiveness:


One of the hardest teachings in Christianity:

Ascension Presents

An undeserved gift of mercy:

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix

“Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’ you should forgive him.”

Luke 17: 3-4

Forgiveness does not hold on to the hurt:

Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network – USA

Forgiving those who have caused hurt:

Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word

Every one of us, in fact, is “forgiven”: let us not forget this, we are forgiven, God gave his life for us, and in no way can we recompense Him for his mercy, which He never withdraws from his heart. However, by corresponding to his gratuitousness, that is, by forgiving one another, we can bear witness to Him, sowing new life around us. For outside of forgiveness there is no hope; outside of forgiveness there is no peace. Forgiveness is the oxygen that purifies the air of hatred. Forgiveness is the antidote to the poisons of resentment, it is the way to defuse anger and heal so many maladies of the heart that contaminate society.

Pope Francis, Angelus Address, 17 September 2023

Learning to love like Christ loves:

WCU Catholic Campus Ministry

Christians most resemble Jesus when they forgive:

Divine Mercy

Thus the Lord’s words on forgiveness, the love that loves to the end, become a living reality. The parable of the merciless servant, which crowns the Lord’s teaching on ecclesial communion, ends with these words: “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” It is there, in fact, “in the depths of the heart,” that everything is bound and loosed. It is not in our power not to feel or to forget an offense; but the heart that offers itself to the Holy Spirit turns injury into compassion and purifies the memory in transforming the hurt into intercession.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 2843

Receiving forgiveness requires repentance:

Catholic Answers

Unforgiveness is harmful to the spiritual life:

Augustine Institute | The Catholic Faith Explained

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Responding to God’s call:

Called To Be Franciscan

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