Americans who read the Bible regularly and say it impacts their daily lives are better able to forgive others than Americans who rarely read the Bible, according to a new study.
The study by the American Bible Society found that 94 percent of what it termed “Scripture-engaged” Americans said they agreed with the statement, “I am able to sincerely forgive whatever someone else has done to me, regardless of whether they ever ask for forgiveness or not.” Only 6 percent of Americans in this category said they disagreed with the statement.
The “Scripture engaged” category includes only those Americans who: 1) say the Bible impacts their daily lives, 2) say it helps guide their relationships with God and others, and 3) say they regularly read/listen to the Bible.
Meanwhile, 59 percent of “Bible disengaged” Americans said they agreed with the statement about forgiveness, with 40 percent disagreeing. This category includes Americans who infrequently interact with the Bible and say it has minimal influence in their lives.
The contrast between the “Scripture engaged” and “Bible disengaged” categories was even more prominent when comparing those who “strongly” agreed with the statement. Nearly half (47 percent) of Scripture-engaged Americans strongly agreed with the statement, while 11 percent of Bible-disengaged Americans did.
“Those who engage with Scripture certainly know how much it urges us to forgive others,” an American Bible Society analysis said. “It’s even part of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:12). Still, forgiving is a difficult business. Those who ‘strongly agree’ that they’re able to forgive may have experienced a God-powered transformation. Those who ‘somewhat’ agree might be saying they’re still working on it. You might think of Simon Peter, fully engaged with Jesus, but still assuming that seven pardons were plenty (Matthew 18:21).”
The survey was part of the latest release from the American Bible Society’s State of the Bible: USA 2022 report.
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.