By Charles Towne

Forgiveness is an embrace across all barriers, against all odds, involving all races, all creeds, all religions, all men, in defiance of all that is petty, mean, cruel and vindictive in this life.

Forgiveness enables us to overcome our own sins, flaws, and weaknesses and ignore those of others.

Forgiveness is truly a blessed and perfect gift from God.

Christianity extolls the value and virtue of forgiveness, it reveals the magnificent and extraordinary character trait of being forgiving as a primary feature of Jesus’ character and therefore of God’s very person.

When we withhold forgiveness from another, no matter how real or imagined the wrongly perceived, we are placing ourselves above HIM, above our Holy God! How could we even begin to dream of doing such a thing?

We must remember that forgiveness blesses more than the one being forgiven, for we, in the very act of forgiving, are blessed, and with that blessing, we are healed.

Forgiveness is taking seriously the awfulness of what has transpired, and it opens the door for the other person to begin again, to be healed and to know true love.  In that light how could we withhold such a life-saving gift from another?

So often we imagine the forgiveness that we offer to another is our gift to the one forgiven, but in reality, it is more God’s blessed gift to us because it is an absolute truth that we can never forgive without God first touching us with His gift of love and mercy and grace.

Without our forgiveness resentment builds in us, a resentment that turns into hostility and anger, even hatred, and this eats away at our well being and leaves us empty, a mere husk of what God intends, unable to realize the joy of a peaceful heart.

Jesus chose to die for us while we were yet sinners and His enemies, and what does He do as they are nailing Him to the cross?  He calls out to God, “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing!”

You and I have a much heavier debt of sin before God than we could ever have against one another.  If we don’t forgive a brother or sister, anyone who has wronged us, we should pray in terror every time we ask our Holy God to forgive us.

If we refuse to forgive those who have offended us, by that very act of being unforgiving we are asking God to hold our sins to our account and condemn us to be eternally separated from Him.  Please dear one, think of that for a moment and let it sink in.

Forgiveness serves our spiritual interest by preventing bitterness from clouding our ability to love.  Three little words, “I forgive you” mean so very, very much, almost as much as, “please Father, forgive me.”

“O God, dear Father, mighty one, healer, comforter, provider, please forgive me as I forgive others.”  Oh, what a terrible prayer that is, for if by chance I have not forgiven my brother than I am asking God not to forgive me!

If on the other hand, I forgive, and that forgiveness is based on genuine brotherly love, I have every right to expect to be forgiven by Him from whom genuine forgiveness originates and radiates, and that my dear friend is really what Christianity is all about


Father, right now, at this moment in time please help me to be like my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who came to this old sin-ridden earth and who lived and died a terrible death that I may have life more abundantly, and who rose again to glory everlasting, for only in this will I ever know true and lasting peace and happiness.  Thank you O Mighty God!  Thanks for loving me, for teaching me, yes, and yes, for forgiving me, and lastly, for giving me peace.  In Jesus’ most wonderful name I pray this, Amen

Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.


  1. Thanks Chuck, for a dose of reality. Forgiveness is not an easy thing sometimes, yet it is a command from God. He knows it’s what’s best for us and that is why He requires it. We all want to be forgiven, so therefore we must forgive. Lord, we ask for your strength and wisdom so we may be obedient, even though it is difficult at times. We thank you for your forgiveness and for loving us.
    God bless you, Chuck.

  2. I agree. It is a heavy burden we carry. Once we forgive…it feels as if a weight has been lifted off our backs. Now…my question is, how can we forgive those that are not sorry for their actions? I often struggle with this. Words of Wisdom please!!

  3. Dear CSG. yes, the scriptures have a lot to say about forgiveness, in fact forgiveness is a prerequisite for salvation. I am struck by God’s statement that He will cast our sins into the sea,(beyond recall), in other words He will forget the things we have done. That is what He desires for us, “forget the wrongs that have been done to you.” Could it be that only in the forgiving can we be forgiven? Wow! Please forgive all of us Papa God! Thank you dear one for taking us deeper in thought. I wonder, can true purity of character, a Christlike character be discovered in forgiveness? Thanks CSG, BLESS YOU, Chaz

  4. Oh dear NH, NOW YOU HAVE HIT AT THE VERY HEART OF THE ISSUE! Are we better than God, wiser than God? “Forgive them for they know not what they do!” Remember, I do not know what is going on in your mind! ARE YOU GOD? AM I GOD? Yes, it is a hard thing that is required but if we make it an issue of prayer and see it as necessary, then perhaps we can attain that which is required. Perhaps only in the loving can we be loved and hence forgiven! Thank you Father for forgiving us and for loving us. Blessings on you NH, Chaz

  5. Forgiveness is such a hard thing to grasp at times but I believe it (forgiveness) is a gift from God because it offers a alternative to carrying around the anger or resentment you carry for another.


  6. Maybe my understanding is flawed but I do not think the act of forgiving is to benefit the wrongdoer but rather for the person wronged. Imagine someone steals your identity or hacks your bank account, you may never know who the person is, yet to forgive them will heal you! Anger, resentment, these all fester in your soul if you do not release them! If we can do that for our fellow man we can in a very small way understand God’s love as He has promised to forgive us!

  7. Don, when we forgive others something beautiful happens to us, a beginning of all healing takes place, a beginning of happiness that without forgiveness could never happen. Nobody said forgiving another was easy, but if you are looking for easy… well, swim to Cuba during the hammerhead shark migration! But then, if forgiving was not possible Papa God wouldn’t have asked us to, “forgive one another as I have forgiven you.” I have come to the conclusion that forgiveness is something we withhold from another because by the withholding we feel in control, powerful, supreme. God, help me to be like Jesus in all thing and in all ways. Thank you Papa, in Jesus magnificent name I ask this, Amen

  8. Richard, yeah, I see your point and I agree. But, and this is a larger issue, isn’t it wonderful that Jesus forgave those that crucified Him, not for His sake but for theirs? That is for our benefit as well and I praise God it is so as I am sure you do also. Thanks pal, Chaz

  9. Charles, as I read these words I am reminded that forgiveness is a choice and an on-going action. Each day when I wake up I choose to forgive just as I choose to love, honor and respect our heavenly Father, His Son Jesus, and the sweet Holy Spirit that leads us forward. It is a conscious choice that leads to actions. As you said above, it is God’s gift to us, why would we want to hold it back from otbers? Thank you Charles

  10. Ah Mark, yes my friend, forgiveness is a choice and a fulfillment of God’s miracle working healing power in each of us that chooses to forgive, and beyond that it opens doors for the one forgiven to realize God’s great transforming love, mercy and grace! Forgiveness impacts us mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually and gives us new beginnings, yes, the ability to begin again, new lives and a chance at restoration that could not be without it. How could we even imagine holding such a gift from one that Christ died for? Thanks so much and may you and yours be greatly blessed this day. Chaz

  11. EJ, VERY INTERESTING! Why then are we so often unforgiving. Could it be that while being christians we are yet carnal? Could it be that even though we know better our humanity gets in our way? Paul’s statement, “That which I want to do I don’t do, and that which I don’t want to do I do… O wretched man that I am…” Sounds to me that Paul suffered the same weaknesses I suffer. Don’t misunderstand me, I agree with you, but, man that I am I fear I fall so far short of the ideal. I think Paul suffered from the same shortcomings that have plagued me so I have to fall back on my source of strength the same way Paul did, and Jesus never fails, JESUS NEVER FAILS! Thanks pal, Chaz

  12. Wow, what a deep and wonderful conversation about forgiveness. Loving all the interaction between you and your readers. It is amazing how something so simple in concept can be so difficult (at times) for us humans. Like you say, we have the consummate teacher and example in Lord Jesus. I have often pondered that (to me) some of his most profound words may very well be those you reference above, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.” That about sums it up! It was true then and it is true now. I’m so glad God loves us!

  13. Oh Kristin He loves us beyond our wildest most fantastical imaginings! If you want a real conversation how about this. I can almost hear the Father and Jesus discussing it. “Well Jesus, what do you think. How far are we willing to go to save them from destruction?” Jesus is silent for a bit as He gazes into infinity, and then, with a beautiful smile He whispers, “O Papa, I am willing to do whatever it takes.” The Father has tears in His eyes as He shakes his head. “Yes, Oh yes. They are that special aren’t they?” He pauses before continuing. “We love them so much! But, if we do what we are thinking about we risk all.” Jesus nods His head and then exclaims, “I know, but if even one of them accepts the sacrifice we are willing to make… well, all of them could be saved.” There is silence in heaven as they smile in agreement, and then, together they whisper, “Let’s do it!”

  14. Yes, you hit on the heart of the issue:
    When we withhold forgiveness from another, no matter how real or imagined the wrongly perceived, we are placing ourselves above HIM, above our Holy God! How could we even begin to dream of doing such a thing?

  15. Judith, my constant prayer is this; “Father, O Holy God, merciful friend, source of all that is good, praise you. Thanks for your mercy and your forgiveness. Yes, thank you for your gift of everlasting life through Jesus. Help me to be like Him in all things, forgiving, merciful, patient, loving and kind beyond what is normal to man. Let me feel your presence and hear your voice. Thank you for Jesus’ perfect example of love. Amen

  16. Sometimes accepting people for the way they are is a form of forgiveness. We won’t always agree with everyone but to hold a grudge against a person because we do not like what they say or how they chose to do something is wrong and we need to ask for forgiveness. As a Christian I do believe in forgiveness but have to draw the line when it comes to the pure evil that appears to be more and more prevalent in society today. Does that make me a bad Christian?

  17. This article on forgiveness is so potent and vital to all of us. I know for myself that sometimes it takes me longer than I would like to forgive people, even over relatively minor things. Nevermind the big huges ones as the reader in the preceding column mentions. It is a tall order. Self-forgiveness can also be very difficult for some of us, but that is important, as well. Thanks for a great article.

  18. Michael, praise be to god no, it doesn’t make you bad my friend, just human and I suppose all the more in need of a savior. The danger I fear lies in my placing myself in the position of judge and jury, and hangman. I am very glad that I am not God, but when we say someone deserves whatever extreme punishment we think is deserved aren’t we placing ourselves in the position of arbiter? Thanks pal, Chaz

  19. Ahh, Nicole, now you have taken the subject of forgiveness to another level haven’t you. The issue of self forgiveness brings up those ugly twins, guilt and self condemnation. I wonder if much of what we accuse others of could in reality be the very thing we find repugnant and thus condemn in ourselves? Ouch! Just saying. Chaz

  20. George – Thanks, Chuck, forgiveness is at the heart of all that God is doing for mankind. it was the center of Christ’s mission when Jesus took our sins to Himself. God’s forgiveness is amazing.

  21. Yes George, God’s forgiveness is truly amazing, but then, because genuine forgiveness is a gift from a loving God it is all incredibly amazing to the nth. degree. I believe the only way forgiveness is humanly possible is we must miraculously be kissed by a loving and forgiving God. Wow! And He does that for us little humans! Double WOW! Chaz

  22. Yes, Chuck, forgiving others makes a difference in us as well as the other person! I would not want to be unforgiven because of not forgiving someone else. I remember when I was in school, that when the bell rang, and it was time to go back to class, you only had another minute until the bell would ring again and you should be in your seat. After playing everyone would be thirsty and run for the drinking fountain for a last sip. You had to be there quickly or you wouldn’t have time. One day I was there on time to get my sip and a bigger classmate pushed me out of line and I pushed him back, got my sip and he didn’t. He told me he would “get me” after class! And, he did! For a long time I really hated that fellow! One day, after we had grown up, I still resented him and would see him around town. One day I looked at him and realized he was looking old before his time, and had never seemed to have found a job. He had become the town bum! I started realizing that my resentment had been wasted on someone that needed my prayers, and forgiveness! That was when I began praying for him and also forgiving him for something a long time ago! I would not want to be judged by that moment in time.

  23. Don, after reading your comment I was struck by the similarity of our lives. There were bullies dalore, sometimes they ran in packs like rabid, mindless, ravenous wolves relentlessly seeking out the weak and the sick. What makes your story particularly sad is the loneliness that pursued your friend through his life like a deadly disease. Without Jesus each of us lacks something necessary to bring true happiness and joy into our miserable lives. One of the critical issues surrounding bullies is so often their victims become bullies and so on, ad infinitum. Papa God, please let us be like Jesus, please help us to be like jesus, Amen


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