“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.”
“if anyone has a complaint against another”
A “complaint” is a grievance against someone else. An occasion of complaint implies blame, and the objection may be justified on our part. A “complaint” is an idiom meaning accepting an allegation against someone for a legal review; it is to bring an accusation against someone for a personal wrong. This idiom carries the idea of accepting in accordance with a charge, receiving a complaint in court, or admitting a complaint to judgment. “Complaint” also includes a complaint against another about an imaginary wrong. The biblical norm is forgiving a complaint we might have against others even though we are in the right.
Forgiveness is freedom from grievances against others.
Can you let a complaint you have against someone drop? Can you forgive an outrageous fault against you? Do you persistently hold a grudge? Can you let the offense against you go without retaliation? If Christ forgave faults against Him, so should we.
Forgiveness means not punishing others for what they did to us. A mature believer is not bitter toward those who wrong them. They are not hostile or implacable. Their mind is completely free and relaxed toward other people. They do not retaliate through gossip and maligning. They do not use revenge tactics.
Forgiving forbearance does not mean complaining until someone asks for forgiveness from us. Once we are satisfied with their admission of failure, then we will condescend to forgive them. That is how many Christians operate, but not how Christ exonerates others.
When we forbear, we hold everything back; when we forgive, we hold nothing against others. What a beautiful balance of attitude! Forbearance refuses to demand what is deserving. Forgiveness gives more than what is deserving.