God is love and forgiveness is a manifestation of love.
God’s character and essence is love. His every intention for his creatures is their highest welfare. Even before the earth or man was created, God knew Adam would sin. And at that time, God had already planned a way to forgive our sins – through the sacrifice of his son Jesus. (Revelation 13:8)
Here was the first manifestation of forgiveness. Since man was created in God’s character image, we are also to love. Even though sinners, we must develop a character that is ready to forgive. Our very life depends on it. 1 John 4:7, 8, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
The Apostle Peter once asked Jesus how often he should forgive others. (Matthew 18:21) Peter suggested seven times. But Jesus responded, “Seventy times seven.” Peter must have been aghast to think that someone could forgive another 490 times, an endless number. But here was love in practice.
Forgiveness in the eyes of God is a very serious matter. If we are incapable or unwilling to forgive our brother, then God will be unwilling to forgive the sins we commit daily. Perhaps, if we could look in a mirror and try to see our brother standing there with his sins, we might see reflected our own sins! Then we might understand our own offenses.
The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 describes love in action: “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth. Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits.” (ESV) If we loved like this, we would not be offended. We would not even notice slights or minor infractions. There would be nothing to forgive because “love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)