What Does the Bible Say About Unforgiveness?
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What Does the Bible Say About Unforgiveness?


Forgiveness is a fundamental tenet of Christianity, and it is a key component of living a spiritually fulfilled life. However, the act of forgiving someone who has wronged us can be difficult, especially if the offense is severe or if we have deep emotional wounds as a result. In some cases, we may struggle with unforgiveness, choosing to hold onto bitterness and resentment instead of extending grace and compassion. Yet, as Christians, it is crucial that we understand the biblical perspective on unforgiveness and its consequences.

In this blog post, we will explore the topic of unforgiveness and what the Bible says about it. We will discuss the spiritual, relational, and even mental consequences of holding onto unforgiveness and the power that choosing forgiveness can have on our lives. We will examine what the Bible says about forgiveness, its importance in the Christian faith, and the process of forgiveness. Finally, we will discuss practical strategies for overcoming barriers to forgiveness and how to apply these principles to our daily lives.

Video on Forgiveness

Whether you are struggling with unforgiveness towards someone who has wronged you, or simply seeking to deepen your understanding of forgiveness in the Christian faith, this blog post will provide a comprehensive overview of what the Bible says about unforgiveness, its consequences, and how to overcome it in our lives.

unforgiveness in the Bible

The Consequences of Unforgiveness

Unforgiveness can have serious consequences, both spiritually, relationally, and mentally. Here are some examples:

Spiritual Consequences

Jesus taught that if we don’t forgive others, we won’t be forgiven by God (Matthew 6:14-15). Holding onto unforgiveness can also hinder our prayer life (Mark 11:25-26) and our ability to receive God’s blessings (Proverbs 28:13). It can also lead to spiritual pride, which can be damaging to our relationship with God (1 Corinthians 8:1).

Relational Consequences

Unforgiveness can damage our relationships with others, causing bitterness, resentment, and division (Proverbs 18:19, Hebrews 12:15). It can also lead to unforgiveness on their part, creating a cycle of hurt and brokenness. Choosing to forgive, however, can lead to healing and restoration in our relationships.

Mental Consequences

Unforgiveness can also torment our hearts and minds, causing anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. When we hold onto bitterness and resentment, it can become a heavy burden that we carry with us everywhere we go. It can also lead to a negative outlook on life and difficulty finding joy in our daily experiences.

What the Bible Says About Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a key component of the Christian faith, and it’s essential when dealing with unforgiveness. Here are some biblical principles to keep in mind:

God’s Forgiveness

The Bible teaches that God is a forgiving God (Nehemiah 9:17), and that He has forgiven us of our sins through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:7). As Christians, we are called to extend this same forgiveness to others, even when it’s difficult (Colossians 3:13).

The Power of Forgiveness

Forgiveness has the power to bring healing and restoration to our relationships (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). It can also free us from the burden of bitterness and resentment, allowing us to move forward in our spiritual lives and mental health.

Forgiveness is a Command

Jesus commands us to forgive others (Matthew 6:14-15), and He models forgiveness for us in His own life (Luke 23:34). As Christians, we are called to obey this command and choose forgiveness, even when it’s not easy.

The Process of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is not always easy, and it’s not always a one-time event. Sometimes it’s a process that takes time and effort (Matthew 18:21-22). Here are some steps involved in the process of forgiveness:

Acknowledge the Pain

It’s important to acknowledge the pain and hurt that we’ve experienced as a result of the offense. This means recognizing the impact that the offense has had on our lives, emotions, and mental health.

Seek Help

We don’t have to go through the process of forgiveness alone. Seeking help from a trusted friend, counselor, or pastor can provide us with the support and guidance we need to navigate the process.

Choose to Forgive

Forgiveness is ultimately a choice that we must make. It involves choosing to let go of bitterness and resentment and instead extending grace and compassion to those who have wronged us.

Overcoming Barriers to Forgiveness

There are many barriers that can prevent us from choosing forgiveness. Here are some common barriers and practical strategies for overcoming them:


Anger can be a major barrier to forgiveness. To overcome anger, we can focus on expressing our feelings in a healthy way, such as through journaling or talking to a trusted friend. We can also practice self-care techniques like exercise, meditation, and deep breathing to help manage our emotions.


When we’ve been hurt by someone, it can be difficult to let go of the offense. To overcome hurt, we can focus on forgiveness as a process rather than a one-time event. We can also remind ourselves that forgiveness is a choice that we make for our own well-being, not just for the sake of the person who wronged us.


Sometimes we may fear that if we forgive someone, we are condoning their actions or setting ourselves up to be hurt again. To overcome fear, we can remind ourselves that forgiveness does not mean we have to trust the person or have a relationship with them. It simply means we are choosing to let go of bitterness and resentment and allowing God to heal our hearts.


In conclusion, forgiveness is a fundamental aspect of the Christian faith, and it is essential for our spiritual growth and well-being. Holding onto unforgiveness can have severe consequences, not only for our spiritual lives but also for our relationships and mental health. We must remember that forgiveness is not always easy, and it may require seeking help from others, acknowledging our pain, and choosing to let go of bitterness and resentment.

By following the biblical principles of forgiveness and applying them to our daily lives, we can experience healing and restoration in all areas of our lives. We can choose to extend grace and compassion to those who have wronged us, even when it’s difficult, and trust in God’s power to heal our hearts and minds. As Christians, we are called to obey the command to forgive others, just as God has forgiven us through Jesus Christ.

Let us all choose forgiveness and experience the freedom and healing it brings, both spiritually, relationally, and mentally. May we always remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:14-15, “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.” May we all extend grace and compassion to others, just as God has done for us.

Pastor Duke Taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.