Q. I know there are many scriptures telling us to forgive others. However, can you tell me where we are instructed to ask forgiveness from others. The NT says that if we go to the altar, yet have something against our brother we are to go “and be reconciled,” before we return to the altar. But is there a specific command for us to ask forgiveness from others? (Not saying, “I’m sorry,” but saying, “Will you forgive me?”)
A. The Biblical pattern seems to be that we seek forgiveness from God and extend forgiveness to others. After King David had committed adultery with Bathsheba and arranged to have her husband killed in battle so he could marry her, He confessed to God saying, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight” (Psalm 51:4). In the Lord’s prayer (Matt. 6:12) we ask the Lord to forgive us our debts (sins) as we forgive our debtors (those who sin against us). Obviously when we mistreat another person we should apologize and seek reconciliation, but we should also understand that we’ve sinned against God and require His forgiveness.