The Bible tells the story of God’s love and forgiveness. Genesis 3:15 is God’s first promise of a redeemer who would forgive all mankind of their sin. God has many stories in His Word that demonstrate forgiveness.
5 Bible Stories About Forgiveness
Jacob & Esau (Genesis 25, 27-32, 33, 33) – Forgiveness Bible Story
Jacob and Esau, the twins, were quite different from each other. One was a man’s man. Esau enjoyed outdoor activities such as tending sheep or hunting. Jacob preferred to learn from his mother and stay home.
Esau, famished from the field, came in one day. Jacob offered to feed him. Jacob sold a bowl of soup for his older brother’s birthright. Esau exchanged the greater portion of his inheritance for a bowl full of beans. (Genesis 25:29-34)
The lies continued. Their father, Isaac, was close to death, so he asked Esau, his handsome son, to kill a deer to make a delicious meal. Rebbecca, the mother of the twins, heard Jacob’s request and devised a clever scheme to trick Isaac into giving Jacob a larger share of the inheritance.
Jacob was forced to flee for his life. To find his mother’s relatives, he fled to another country. He returned to his family many years later. He heard his brother Esau calling him. Jacob, the deceiver, was terrified. Jacob was scared and devised a plan to ensure that Jacob’s brother could only destroy half his wealth if he were caught. (Genesis 32)
Esau ran up to Jacob, hugged and kissed him when they finally met. Esau was so forgiving of him that Esau was surprised that Jacob even thought they might have hard feelings. (Genesis 33)
Joseph (Genesis 47-50) – Forgiveness among Brothers
Joseph was Jacob’s 11th child. Joseph was a young boy when God revealed His plans for his life. Joseph was excited to talk with his brothers about God’s plans. His brothers were jealous and sold Joseph into slavery, while Jacob told Jacob that their favorite son had been killed in a wild animal attack.
A man bought Joseph and eventually recognized Joseph’s honesty. Even though Joseph was still a slave, the man bought Joseph and gave him great freedom. Joseph was eventually wrongly accused and sent to prison. Joseph’s integrity earned him favor from the jailkeepers, and he was made a guard over other prisoners. God gave Joseph great power in the kingdom over time.
Joseph was thought to be dead by the brothers. When they traveled to Egypt, they didn’t know their brother Joseph was standing before them. They were stunned to learn that Joseph was still alive when he revealed his identity. They feared for years that Joseph would seek retribution. They lived in Egypt together after the family was reunited. The brothers feared that Joseph would show hatred to them after their father died (Genesis50:15). Joseph was devastated to learn that their father had died, and they didn’t trust him. They feared for what he would do (Genesis 50,17).
This incredible story of forgiveness ends with these words spoken by Joseph to his brothers:
“And Joseph said unto them, Fear not; for I am in the place, God? You thought evil of me, but God intended it to be a blessing, to bring about, as it is today, many people alive. Fear not; I will feed you and your children. He comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” (Genesis 50,19-21).
David & Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9), Another Great Bible Story about Forgiveness
Despite King Saul‘s attempts to kill David in the book of 1 Samuel (1 Samuel), David showed kindness and forgiveness towards Saul‘s household. David sought out anyone still living in the household of Saul after he was crowned to show his love for Jonathan, Saul’s son.
David did something kind to Mephibosheth, restoring the land the former king had to his family. David paid for the land to be farmed and taken care of. David also made Mephibosheth a seat at his table so he could be accepted into the king’s family.
The Prodigal Son (Luke 15) – A Forgiving Bible Story between a Father and a Son
One man had two children. The oldest son was loyal and happy to stay with his father. The younger wanted to be free from his family and live on his terms. He went to his father and asked for his share of the inheritance when he could. He ran away to a faraway land after he received his money. Jesus said that the young man had spent his money on wild living. The economy crashed, and soon the man was without money, a job, or friends. He was open to taking any job that came his way and eventually cared for pigs as a farmer. He was so poor that he would eat the pig’s food to stay alive.
He realized that his father was a loving father and treated his servants with more respect than he did. He returned home to serve his father as a servant. He would at least have food to eat. He didn’t know that his father was waiting for the boy to return. The father ran to the boy with open arms of forgiveness as soon as he saw him.
Woman In Adultery (John 8), A Bible Story in Which Jesus Exemplifies Forgiveness
Jesus, in a display of His divinity, forgave a woman who had been caught in adultery. The spiritual leaders of the town brought her to the Lord. They wanted to know if Jesus, who claimed to be God’s Son, would follow God’s Law and have her stoned. Jesus replied that they could start the stoning as soon they felt they had no sin and were not worthy of it. They dropped their stones and walked off.
Jesus was surprised to see the woman alone in the dirt, and he didn’t even look up. Jesus asked her if anyone was still accusing her of her sin. She replied, “No, but I don’t condemn you: Go, and sin no more.”
We are taught repeatedly in the Bible that forgiveness is an attribute of God. It is something that we can also demonstrate to others.
In conclusion, forgiveness is a powerful thing. It can change lives, bring people together, and provide hope. These Bible stories about forgiveness show us that we can always be forgiven no matter what we have done. All we need to do is ask.
Bible stories about forgiveness show us that God is always there to forgive us no matter how much we may mess up. All we need to do is ask for forgiveness and have faith. These stories inspire us to be better people and forgive others, just as God has forgiven us.