Proverbs 19.11 The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.
One of the most compelling evidences of the new birth, is the ability to forgive those who have hurt you or wronged you. Forgiveness in a fallen world is vital to one’s spiritual, mental and emotional health. Apart from forgiveness, we are left to deal with the poisonous effects of the spiritual cancers of bitterness, revenge, grudges and hatred.
The powerful teaching of Jesus on forgiveness followed the questions of Peter, Matthew 18:21,22 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 seventy times seven. The phrase 70×7 is an expression of perfect and unlimited forgiveness. The kind of forgiveness that we receive from God through faith in Jesus Christ is perfect and unlimited.
Paul exhorted the church at Ephesus with these pointed words, And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Beloved, note the words “even as God has for Christ’s sake forgiven you”. When we refuse to forgive, we forfeit the peace of God because of our inability to remember the cross of Calvary and look up to the crucified Christ Who bled and died for all of my sin. Or, we refuse to forgive because we have never experienced the radical, heart transforming forgiveness of God’s grace ourselves.
A huge portion of “putting on Christ” is forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. The cross is a message of forgiveness, both vertical and horizontal. Our ability to forgive or not forgive reveals whether or not we have truly understanding and embraced the gospel ourselves.