Reasons You Cannot Forgive

When a parent, a spouse, a child, a co-worker, or a fellow Christian does something that is contrary to what the Bible teaches, they need to be forgiven. Our ability to forgive demonstrates love for the person we are forgiving, just as God’s forgiveness demonstrates His love for us.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:9-12(NIV)

The real reason(s) you cannot forgive:

  1. You choose not to forgive
  2. You will not be able to throw it back in their face every time you want to participate in your sin of preference.
  3. You need the divorce, or difficult relationship to look like it was their fault
  4. People may perceive you as being weak
  5. You have a great way to get revenge
  6. You may have to help them deal with their sin or addiction
  7. You can no longer use their sin to control them?
  8. You can no longer make them squirm by reminding them of their faults
  9. You want to control their remorse rather than letting the Holy Spirit convict them
  10. Your gossip may not be as juicy as that of your friends.
  11. They do not deserve to be forgiven
  12. You will not have a good reason to have a “pity party”

In Acts 8:9-25, Paul tells of the event that occurred in Samaria, where Simon the Sorcerer had been practicing sorcery in the city. He had been boasting about how great he was. But when he saw Philip proclaiming the good news about Jesus Christ, he began to listen to Philip as did many of the people; they believed the good news and were baptized. Simon the Sorcerer then began following Philip.

God sent Peter and John to Samaria where Philip had been proclaiming the good news. When Peter and John got to Samaria, they asked the people if they had received the Holy Spirit. The people said that they had only been baptized. So Peter and John laid their hands on the people and they received the Holy Spirit.

When Simon the Sorcerer saw what happened, he wanted the same power Peter and John had so he could benefit from laying his hands on people. Peter replied:

“May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” Acts 8:20-23(NIV)

When we as Christians fail to forgive, we are actually using God’s forgiveness for our benefit. When we hang onto the sin that someone has committed against us, we become full of bitterness and captive to sin”.

When you accepted Christ as your Savior, God gave you the Holy Spirit to become your source of power to forgive others. God wants you to allow the power of the Holy Spirit to forgive those who sin against us. When we fail to trust the Holy Spirit to forgive, we are in essence saying God is not strong enough to forgive the sin committed against you. As a result, we will become bitter and yield to sin’s temptations.

Both Matthew and Mark record Jesus as saying:

And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. Matthew 12:31-32(NIV)

When Jesus gave the disciples the model prayer he included forgiveness of others. (Matthew 6:9-13) At the end of the model prayer, Jesus gave these instructions to His followers:

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15(NIV)

Forgiving a person who has sinned against you, is not an option, it is a requirement! There are several different scripture references that indicate the importance of forgiving others.

James 5:15-16(NIV)

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

2 Corinthians 2:10-11(NIV)

Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.  

Colossians 3:12-14(NIV)

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

Often when someone sins against us, we want to take revenge. We frequently want them to pay for what they have done to us; we are determined to ‘even the score’. However, we are actually instructed not to take revenges.

 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”        Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:17-21(NIV)

NOTE: All scripture in this blog was downloaded from