Forgiveness and Pardon

for·give·ness /ˌfərˈɡivnəs/


1. to stop feeling angry or resentful towards someone for an offence, flaw, or mistake 2. to no longer feel angry about or wish to punish an offence, flaw, or mistake par·don /ˈpärdn/


1. to cancel the legal consequence of an offence or conviction

For the next few weeks I’m going to try to write about the difference between forgiving and pardoning. Take a look again at the definitions of forgiveness and pardon above. So many people struggle to forgive because they think that they will be pardoning sin, but no one has the authority to pardon sin except for GOD. It is very key that we understand the difference between the two. Take some time to reflect on the following passage:

Matthew 18:21-35 NASB 21 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23 For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. 26 So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’ 27 And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’ 30 But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. 31 So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. 32 Then summoning him, his lord *said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ 34 And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. 35 My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”

What do you think? Are forgiving and pardoning the same? As you’ve read this scripture, I pray that God reveals to you the difference.


Damalie Namale, M.A.

Lead Counselor

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