One of the biggest lessons God taught me in my 9 months of Bible College (which isn’t a subject in school) is about forgiveness particularly as it applies to Christians but also more widely.
I think one of the first things He opened my eyes to is the fact any Christian who withholds forgiveness doesn’t understand it. By virtue of being a Christian we give up our right to withhold forgiveness from anyone who wrongs us as our lives were saved by One who laid down everything so that forgiveness could become available to us. As living perfection Jesus had every right to both judge and condemn us but instead He chose to lay His life down so that we could have the Father’s forgiveness.
Think about a time when you’ve come to knock on a door and someone opens it before you manage to. I think that forgiveness should be like that. Forgiveness is not a response to an apology but a change of heart in the name of love that occurs following an offense.
The death of Jesus has made the forgiveness of God the Father available to the those who turn from their own ways to His and so as soon as someone repents (raises their hands to knock on the door) the forgiveness of God bursts out over them in a flood of love and grace washing away the offense (the door swings open and a warm embrace waits on the other side).
What would happen if we saw forgiveness that way? Why don’t we?