The love that God showed to us should show in our relationship to others. We need to stand ready to forgive even as God has forgiven us.
Jesus taught this while on the earth. Notice the following parable taught by Jesus: “Then came Peter to him and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until 70 times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him 10,000 talents.
“But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion and loosed him and forgave him the debt.
“But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, which owed him 100 pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellow servant fell down at his feet and besought him, saying, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
“Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses” (Matt. 18:21-35).
What a marvelous lesson on forgiveness taught by the Lord.
The attitude of the forgiven servant was that forgiveness was just for him, not for him to show to others. His attitude in no way conveyed the mercy he had received from his master.
This great lesson is one some find hard to put into practice. It is contrary to the world’s idea of how men should interact. Holding a grudge is a way of life with some, never forgetting a wrong, always ready to bring up old “hatchets” at a moment’s notice.
Patience and understanding go hand in hand with learning to forgive others. They may not always live up to our expectations. But our expectations may be higher than God’s may.
Paul in the Ephesian letter expressed the character and temperament that Christians should use with each other.
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.
“And grieve not the holy spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4:1,2,30-32).
He also told the Galatians to “restore in a spirit of meekness; considering thyself…” (Gal. 6:1).
Forgiveness is for everyone.