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Questions Answered On Forgiveness


When Peter asked Jesus how many times he needed to forgive someone, he was raising a question that has often since been repeated in the minds of believers, and hints at a category of questions that would arise. The questions are still asked in our day. If forgiveness is necessary, how should one forgive? How often should forgiveness be extended to the same person? What if the person does not want to be forgiven? What should be one's attitude when seeking to forgive? Is forgiveness always necessary? Should there be a time of probation? There are many questions that come with the subject of forgiveness. We will seek to address these questions on this page. More questions and answers will be added over time. Click on the underlined link to find a more complete answer.—Dan

Unless indicated otherwise, quotations come from the writings of Mrs. E. G. White.


Is anger with another person okay?

Anger often accompanies forgiveness issues. Is it okay to be angry with a person? Does this anger affect us? How does God view this anger? Read more about anger by clicking on the link above.


Is there a righteous indignation that isn't sinful?

Yes. Both Moses and Christ demonstrated that kind of anger. 


How should we respond to the attacks and offenses of others?

Kindly; like Jesus responded in His day.


What if we attack and injure another person?

Confess and make things right with that person.


What does it mean to seek reconciliation with others?

It means seeking them out and doing whatever we can to make things right with them. That often includes forgiving or asking forgiveness.


What does it mean to confess? 

Note the following:

"My brethren and sisters, prepare the way, that you may come to God and be forgiven. Act your part in the work of confession. It is not your brother’s sin that you are to confess, but your own. In doing this, you are making straight paths for your feet and for his—paths that will lead him to Christ." {SW January 1, 1903, par. 8


Are Public Meetings For Confession And Humiliation Appropriate? 

Apparently. It is suggested that every church try to have such meetings before the end of the year.


Is forgiveness always necessary?



What do we learn from Jesus and other Bible characters about offering forgiveness?

Be generous in offering forgiveness!


What if the person does not want to be forgiven?

We need to still forgive them.


Must we forgive the person who ignorantly offends and wants to be forgiven?

Yes if we want to follow what Jesus taught?


What if the person is unwilling to confess?

Yes. Jesus told us to!


What if the person does not seem repentant?

Their level of repentance does not determine if we should forgive them. We forgive because we have been told to forgive them. Only God knows what is in their hearts.


Should we forgive before the person changes?

Yes. Read the complete answer.


How often should we forgive them?

70 times 7 times. As often as God forgives us!


What should be our attitude in seeking to forgive?

Read the answer! Here is a preview: "If you have committed one wrong and they twenty, confess that one as though you were the chief offender."


Should we talk about the problem with others?

No. Go to the person as we are instructed in Matt. 18.


What does it mean to restore the person who has asked forgiveness?

It means really restoring them. But do so carefully with accountability measures if appropriate.


What should we teach children about forgiveness?

Tell them how much Christ forgives them and continues to forgive.


What if a person's dignity makes it impossible to confess?

Dignity is never an acceptable reason for not making things right with others.