“Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”
The second characteristic that demonstrates social virtue is “forgiving one another.”
This is the seventh garment with which the Christian is to clothe himself.
Forgiveness means to bestow favor unconditionally (divine forgiveness–Eph. 4:32; Col 2:13; 3:13; human forgiveness–Lk. 7:42,43 (debt); 2 Cor 2:7,10;12:13; Eph. 4:32. “Forgive” means to give graciously, unconditionally, without strings. To forgive is to show grace to someone.
The mature believer forgives on the basis of his own forgiveness. God forgave us at the point of salvation and we are in the process of being forgiven. So when we forgive it is not forgiveness based on strain. “I am not going to hit this guy in the nose, I am not, I am not!” That is a strain. There is no strain when we forgive on the basis of grace.
This is forgiveness on the basis of one’s gracious attitude toward an individual (2 Cor 12:13). It carries the idea of goodwill on the part of the giver — to give, grant, or bestow generously (Gal. 3:18; Rom. 8:32).
“One another” is a reciprocal pronoun. We perform this gracious act in the interest of another. This has to do with grace toward the household of faith.
The ability to forgive is God-given.
One of the most difficult things a Christian is called upon to do is to forgive freely and unconditionally. The more we understand the grace God gave to us the better we will be able to forgive.