Matthew 6:12-15- In order for God to forgive you, you must be willing to forgive others.
Matthew 18:21-35- there is no limit to how many times God forgives us so there is no limit to how many times we forgive our brother.
Luke 17:3-4- The guilty party should ask or repent to receive forgiveness and each time we are to forgive.
Ephesians 4:32 – Forgiveness and mercy is to teach us something.
Colossians 3:13 this is repeated
John 20:23 – We are to become like Jesus who had power on Earth to forgive sins. See Matthew 9:6 and 1 John 4:17 and Matthew 18:15-35.
God is willing to forgive if we ask and repent of our sins and we must accept that forgiveness putting the sin behind us and move forward. Mercy and forgiveness are a function of Gods love extended to us. Just as God will not forgive the unrepentant we cannot either, in this case their sins are retained.
In order to be forgiven, we also have to be willing to forgive others. Sometimes we will have to be willing to forgive repeatedly. There is no limit to the times we may have to forgive, we are in the world but not of the world and this is unfortunately they way things are. We always pray for forgiveness from the Lord, but we as individuals must be able to forgive others as well.
On a personal level, as a converted person, when someone does wrong to you they must ask for your forgiveness, but if they do not ask you for your forgiveness, then we need to forgive them anyway because we are converted and wishing to be more like Christ. For instance when on the cross, Jesus said, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do”. We all do things and think things we need to ask the Lord forgiveness for and we need to forgive others whether they are converted or not. If we as individuals are truly trying to be more like God and Christ, we must behave like Christ, and forgive and forget the sins our transgressors.
Like Jesus, we have the power to forgive sins of others who ask for forgiveness. Being able to forgive is a learned trait for us; it takes practice and is always a work in progress, a development of character so to speak. We will need this character trait in the millennium, so we need to be willing to practice what we believe so that it becomes first nature to us. Even now, we partake of the divine nature of God and of His son Jesus. 2 Peter 1:4 – “by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
God is creating us after His image and likeness and forgiveness is part of this process.