Home > Islam > Some Verses About Forgiving Others

Some Verses About Forgiving Others

Today in our Church it is Forgiveness Sunday. We begin Lent tomorrow. (I am Eastern Orthodox.)  I decided that I will post some verses from the Bible and the Koran about forgiving others.

In both the Old and New Testaments as well as in the Koran, it is taught that  we continue to receive forgiveness from God as we continue to forgive others.

Forgive thy neighbour the hurt that he hath done unto thee, so shall thy sins also be forgiven when thou prayest. (Sirach 28:2, KJV)

For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14,15, NKJV)

And let not those who possess dignity and ease among you swear not to give to the near of kin and to the needy, and to fugitives for the cause of Allah. Let them forgive and show indulgence. Yearn ye not that Allah may forgive you? Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Koran 24:22, Pickthall)

Jesus told St. Peter to forgive those who sin against him 70 times 7 times. Seven is a symbolic number for completion or totality. Jesus was telling him to always forgive those who offend him.

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21,22, NKJV)

Then Jesus told this parable about the importance of forgiving others.

“Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” (Matthew 18:23-35, NKJV)

Failure to forgive others results in God not forgiving us. That is the point of the parable.

The Koran says that believers should forgive those who do not hope for the days of Allah, that is, those who do not look forward to the blessed afterlife promised by God to those who faithfully serve Him.

Tell those who believe to forgive those who hope not for the days of Allah; in order that He may requite folk what they used to earn. (Koran 45:14, Pickthall)

It says:

Kind speech and forgiveness is better than charity followed by injury; and Allah is Self-sufficient, Forbearing. (Koran 2:263, Shakir)

It also says:

Keep to forgiveness (O Muhammad), and enjoin kindness, and turn away from the ignorant. (Koran 7:199, Pickthall)

People who forgive others when they are angry are the kind of people who will enter Paradise.

So whatever thing you are given, that is only a provision of this world’s life, and what is with Allah is better and more lasting for those who believe and rely on their Lord. And those who shun the great sins and indecencies, and whenever they are angry they forgive. (Koran 42:36,37, Shakir)

The Koran also says that those who forgive others and change their way of life will be rewarded by God in the afterlife.

And the recompense of evil is punishment like it, but whoever forgives and amends, he shall have his reward from Allah; surely He does not love the unjust. (Koran 42:40, Shakir)

I was really touched by this video I found on Youtube. Someone smashed a beer can on this Muslim woman’s face. In court she forgave her attacker.

St. Stephen the Protomartyr forgave the Jews who were throwing stones at him before he died. (Acts 7:55-60)

Jesus prayed that the men who crucified Him would be forgiven. (Luke 23:34)

Although we are supposed to forgive others, we still should not passively allow injustices to be perpetrated against others. The Muslim woman in the video forgave her attacker, but it is not all right to allow people like him to continue to perpetrate such crimes against others.

How long will ye judge unrighteously, and accept the persons of sinners? Pause.  Judge the orphan and poor: do justice to the low and needy. Rescue the needy, and deliver the poor out of the hand of the sinner. (Psalm 81:2-4, LXX; Psalm 82:2-4, Hebrew)

Justice in society is important to God, too.

On a personal level we need to forgive others. On a societal level we should not allow injustices to flourish. Here is an example to think about. If someone kidnapped your daughter and taught her to be a prostitute, would that be all right? Of course not. For your daughter’s sake you should demand justice.

One mistake that many modern thinkers make is to think that Jesus had some sort of philosophical system that he used to determine right and wrong. That is not true. Jesus taught a way of life, not an ethical philosophy. There is mercy which we should all show. There is also justice that needs to be administered to curb immorality and injustice.

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