It is clear from Scripture that the believer is called to a lifestyle of forgiveness. (Matt 18:21-22, etc.) The born-again Christian, who is being sanctified by the Spirit through the Word, straps on the very attitude of Christ by embodying an attitude of forgiveness. Its not a partial forgiveness, a obligatory forgiveness, or a conditional forgiveness. Its freely given to all without reservation, and it’s motivated by love. Forgiveness is not an option for the believer. This is not to ignore the fact that cuts hurt and wounds go deep. We all know that, and we have all experienced times when we have be wounded, hurt, rejected, injured, or affected, by another (maybe even someone extremely close to us). However, the believer must consider the following questions when it comes to forgiveness. Did Christ go halfway on the cross? Did he die for his friends and forget his enemies? Was his offered forgiveness conditional, obligatory, or partial? Absolutely not. Did he not freely offer forgiveness to all? Does not his substitutionary death have the power to cleanse even the worst offenses; the most vile behaviors? Did he not reach out to the very thief next to him on the cross? And, pray for those who spat on him and nailed him to the cross? Did he not forgive all of your sin towards him? Set you free from death and offer you eternal life? He did all of these. Let us follow the Master’s example and heed the wisdom of Solomon, “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11).
What does this attitude of forgiveness look like? I have found this definition very helpful and biblical:
“When we strive against all thoughts of revenge; when we will not do our enemies mischief, but wish well to them, grieve at their calamities, pray for them, seek reconciliation with them, and show ourselves ready on all occasions to relieve them.” -Thomas Watson (“Body of Divinity” pg. 581)