We normally expect forgiveness and are happy that another person overlooks our flaws. However, "forgiving" is much more. It's having complete confidence in another! "Complete" would infer that there are no reservations about it and the confidence in the other is in perpetuity. "Confidence" is trust. By forgiving we are making a commitment that we have confidence that we can trust another. It's a pledge to no longer hold the grudge... ever! As one who seeks forgiveness it's just as it never happened. The slate is wiped clean and the memory erased. That's what God does for us!
Isaiah 44:22 "I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee."
We're not God. He has the capacity to totally clean his memory of all the bad that we've done against him. That's because he's God. He chooses to do that because he loves us and he has the power to do so! God's forgiveness is "complete" and he "trusts" that we won't rebel against him, although he knows that we probably will because of our sinful nature. Since we're not God we can't "completely" clean the slate as God can, so he's there to help us!
Ephesians 4:32 "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
The Holy Spirit reminds us that "God hath forgiven you", but not just to help you out, but because of what Christ did for you "for Christ's sake"! By being aware of Christ's forgiveness for our own disobedience we can more easily forgive another. That's empathy. That's mercy which God has laid on the hearts of his children. By forgiving, that kindness!
If one doesn't forgive, they blame and condemn. That's evil. That's unkind and unloving. How many times should we forgive? One time? Twice? Thrice? It's hard for a person to even forgive one time!
Matthew 18:21 "Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven."
Jesus was not limiting how many times that you should forgive, but a person is to forgive enumerable times. He set the example! How many times has Jesus forgiven you? Enumerable... and he keeps on forgiving!
We all have had our ego trampled and our feelings hurt. It's human nature to bear a grudge. However, if we do we cut off communication with God and damn ourselves for our unloving heart.
Matthew 6:14 "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:15 but if ye forgive not men their trespasses (sins) , neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (sins)."
We pray in vain if we pray with an unkind non-forgiving nature:
Matthew 5:22 " But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment... 23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift."
This passage starts out with your own anger. You have a sinful heart because someone else holds a grudge against you. Because someone hasn't forgiven you, has made you angry in response! You see, you're not only responsible for your own unforgiving heart, but also you're responsible for those who fail to forgive you! Without regard to fault, a Christian makes it right. A Christian gets forgiveness by forgiving others!
We are to be "reconciled" to our brother (friend, neigbor, relative, etc.). We're to resolve the issue between us. Reconciliation is when without regard to fault, and without blame, we go to another and put our differences aside. That's what God wants! No, that's what God commands.
On a personal level, I had two people at work who made it known to me that I was a despise person. It was probably my personality, but it could have been anything. I went to the one first with whom my relationship was the worst and without discussing any issue, I made amends. I let that person know that I have no animosity and was seeking only friendship. She accepted my concealed apology and we became close friends.
I felt so good with her response that on the same day I approached the second person and used the same sincere approach. He shook hands and we became friends! I sure felt good! Maybe it's because I was rewarded for what God told me to do!
"Try it! You'll like it!" We all are human and we all have the same faults. Take a sincere approach to reconcile and God can heal! There may be some who're reading this who may dislike me or things I've done. I may be unaware of my offenses and sometimes I may have forgotten my offense. Understand that I start each day anew and once I have a friend, they are always a friend! My desire is to love and be loved and time is too short to live without reconciling.
Pray for reconciliation for me. I have a close relative with whom I just can't get across my love and concern. I'm burdened daily with that! I'm sure others need the same prayer as I do.