A person is never more noble and never more like God than when he forgives someone. That is the most godlike thing we can do. There is nothing more glorious that a person can do for another person than to forgive. A truly godly person will be known because he or she has a forgiving heart. God is a forgiving God, Christ is a forgiving Lord, and one who is like God and like Christ will be a forgiving person. Jesus certainly gave us the perfect example when hanging on the cross. Hated, mocked and unjustly being tormented to death He asked God to forgive His tormentors. Stephen being unjustly and viciously stoned to death asked God not to hold his killers guilty for their crime. This is spiritual virtue at its highest, noblest. It is the glory of a man to overlook a transgression. We, as Christians, should be known by our forgiveness. John MacArthur
RC Sproul shares in his article, “Why Forgive?” – “If we refuse to give forgiveness when repentance has been manifest, then we expose ourselves to the same fate as the unforgiving servant. We open ourselves to the wrath of God. If, indeed, I offend someone and then repent and express my apology to them, but he refuses to forgive me, then the coals of fire are on his head. Likewise, if we fail to give forgiveness, when one who has offended us repents of the offense, we expose ourselves to the coals of fire, and we are in worse shape than the one who has given the offense. In other words, it is transgression against God when we refuse to forgive those who have repented for their offenses to us. This is the teaching of Jesus. It is the mandate of Jesus. As we are united in Christ, we are to show that union by extending the same grace to others that He extends to us.”
In “The Blessings of Forgiveness – 3 Part Series,” we find there are seven blessings of forgiveness.
John MacArthur also adds:
Is the Forgiver Obligated to Forget the Offense? “Forgive and forget.” The expression has attained the status of a cliché©. When we grant forgiveness, does that entail a promise to forget the offense completely? Yes and no. There is obviously no way to purge the memory of an offense. And the more severe the offense, the more difficult it may be to keep the memory from coming to mind. I’ve heard people suggest that God forgets our sins when He forgives. They usually cite Hebrews 10:17: “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (cf. 8:12). Or Isaiah 43:25: “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” But those verses don’t say God forgets our sins. They say He will not remember them. What’s the difference? To forget something is to have no memory of it. Obviously God, who is omniscient, has not lost His memory of our transgressions. Rather, He refuses to call them to mind. He promises not to bring them up. And that is exactly what is involved in forgiveness. It is a promise not to remind the person of the offense. Jay Adams characterizes this as a threefold promise: “You promise not to remember his sin by bringing it up to him, to others, or to yourself. The sin is buried” (Jay Adams, From Forgiven to Forgiving [Amityville, NY: Calvary, 1994], 25).
Father, we do acknowledge that You have forgiven us all our sins, all our trespasses, that You loved us while we were yet sinners and enemies. And You set out to forgive us before we ever asked. Oh Lord, thank You for that grace that initiated reconciliation. Lord, help us to be like You, to be, as the apostle Paul said, true sons of the Father; as John said, if we say we abide in Christ to walk as He walked. You are a forgiving God. Christ is a forgiving Lord. Fill our hearts with forgiveness. May we be impossible to offend personally. May we carry no self-pity, no grudge, no bitterness.
Lord, that needs to happen in some marriages today, some forgiveness from the heart needs to be given and some repentance needs to take place. It needs to happen in some families between parents and children where bitterness exists because pride has been wounded and pride is wallowing in its misery. It needs to happen in some extended families where grudges are kept and held.
It needs to happen between some sisters in Christ and some brothers in Christ, and it’s wounding the church and it’s grieving You and it’s harming testimony. Lord, deliver us from the bondage of an unforgiving heart. Deliver us from wounded pride and from being unkind and without mercy who so desperately need mercy and receive it so freely. May we be known as a church of forgiving people. We will offend. The man who doesn’t offend is a perfect man, and none of us is perfect. But an offense forgiven is covered, repented of, is removed.
Father, I just ask that You make us forgiving as You have forgiven us, that we might know joy and not sorrow, that our joy might be the bliss of our own experience and the proof of our transformation to those who watch. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen. (John MacArthur’s prayer in Part 1)