Sin is a sad reality of life in a fallen world, and it has major consequences. Jesus Christ willingly gave His life for our sins. Our forgiveness came at an unimaginable price. The beauty of the Christian life is that we can forgive others in a way that God has forgiven us.
Matthew 18:15–20 gives us the pattern we should follow when someone has sinned against us, but what does it mean to forgive in the first place? For an answer, let us look to God the Father, the One who has perfectly modeled forgiveness for us. When God forgives us, He no longer holds our sins against us. He no longer condemns us. Our fellowship with Him is no longer disrupted. This is because Jesus Christ has suffered sin’s full penalty for all those who trust in Him.
We forgive others because God has forgiven us. Jesus taught us to pray to the Father, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matt. 6:12). Like God, to forgive someone means to no longer hold sin against the person who has sinned against you. When we forgive someone, we are once again in a positive relationship with them.