tenderhearted, forgiving one
another, even as God for Christ's
sake hath forgiven you.
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15)
If we follow this out to conclusion, the unforgiving person won't be forgiven and will die in their sins. They will stand before God, the Righteous Judge, with unrepented and unforgiven sins and will be judged according to the Word. Don't be that guy!
"If a bad man offends you, forgive him, lest there be two bad men."
By the way, God doesn't use a sliding scale when it comes to sin like we do sometimes (Adultery = 9; Lying = 7.5; White Lies = 5; Stealing = 6.8...) Sin is sin and all sin carries the same judgment: death.
He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. (Proverbs 28:13)
Forgiveness is the most God-like characteristic I can think of, but it isn't a passive characteristic. The Bible doesn't say anywhere to just “forgive and forget” and that's it. That attitude, though gracious sounding, isn't biblical and rarely brings real peace and resolve. Here's what should happen:
Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. (Luke 17:3-4)
That word rebuke means: to express sharp, stern disapproval of; reprove; reprimand.
And here's how that should take place...
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. (Matthew 18:15-17)
Shouldn't we confront others the way we'd want to be confronted if we're in the wrong? Makes sense. Ever notice how soon after we get on to someone about a fault that someone is getting on to us – often about the very same thing? I hate it when that happens!
“Lord, let my words be sweet today, for tomorrow I may have to eat them.”
Finally, let's give each other room to repent. Some offenses can be cleared away in a conversation, others may require time to work out, pay back, rebuild trust, or repair. Give a person time and opportunity to make things right – the same amount of time we hope to receive when it's our turn to seek forgiveness.
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. (Matthew 7:2)
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)