We have been forgiven. God, in Christ, has forgiven the sins of the Christian (Eph. 4:32). As Christ has forgiven him, he is to forgive others (Col. 3:13). One who is unwilling to forgive after he has been forgiven is viewed disdainfully by the God of heaven (Matt. 18:21-35).
In order to have future forgiveness (Matthew 6:14-15).
What It Means To Forgive
Forgiveness is more than just speaking the words. It must be sincere and from the heart. It must be patterned after the forgiveness God has granted to us. It must be accompanied by actions which befit true forgiveness.
Forgiveness involves a kind attitude—abandoning all animosity and hatred. All bitterness, anger, wrath, clamor and evil speaking should be put away (Eph. 4:31). We can hold no grudges. One must deny the impulse to get even and seek to do the forgiven one good.
Forgiveness involves forgetting (Heb. 8:12), but what does it mean to forget? It is impossible for a person to completely obliterate the wrong from his mind. Rather it means to not hold the person accountable for it anymore. When forgiveness is granted that should end the matter. It should never again be dredged up or held against the one who has been forgiven.
Forgiveness should be given by the "golden rule" (Matt. 7:12).
One should always be willing to forgive—even at repeated offenses. Matthew 18:21-22 has the apostle Peter asking, '"Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?' Jesus said to him, 'l do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven."
Jesus was willing to forgive those who crucified Him, but they were not forgiven until they acknowledged their wrong and repented of it (Luke 23:34; Acts 2:36-39). When one refuses to repent, he is to be regarded as a "heathen and a tax collector to you" (Matt. 18:15-17).