Have you ever asked someone for forgiveness? Has someone ever asked you for forgiveness? Either way, asking and giving forgiveness is a profound gift from God. Once you have asked forgiveness, you have done your part. It is much more beautiful if the other person forgives you, but you have no control over that. God is pleased with your doing the difficult and right thing.
Forgiveness originates in the heart of God. “For God so love the world that He gave His only Son…” The cross is where we find forgiveness full and free for our sins, if we but confess to God our sins and that we are sinners.
While on earth, Jesus never spoke the words, “I forgive you,” but we see powerful examples of forgiveness. To the woman caught in adultery (what about the man caught in adultery?), Jesus says, “Neither do I condemn you. God and sin no more. Both grace and forgiveness as well as a call to follow God in her life.
To the ostracized woman at the well (who had had four husbands and was currently living unmarried with a man), Jesus lovingly yet firmly guides her through to the fact that He provides living water and that He is the Christ/the Messiah. How does she respond? She races to the town where she is an outcast and declares, “He knows all about me [and still loves and forgives me]. Could this be the Messiah?” The entire town goes to meet Jesus and they decide for themselves to follow Him as the Messiah.
Paul explains forgiveness in Romans 4:7. “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.”
And back to Jesus, He hits us between the eyes with the qualification for our being forgiven by God. “Forgive us our sins AS we forgives others.”
Yes, forgiveness full and free comes from the cross, but we are to keep short accounts by forgiving one another. When we do–whether asking for or receiving forgiveness–we feel like, “Wow! I feel whole, the way God intended! I AM whole. I am experiencing God’s shalom, peace.