Godly forgiveness is the work of God in our heart. His Spirit enables and empowers us to forgive. He also provides motivation.

The graciousness of God towards us motivates us to be a forgiving people. "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32) It's those two words "just as" that require our attention. How we have been forgiven is the model for our forgiveness of others.

How did God ensure our forgiveness? By providing His Son to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Nothing less than unconditional, sacrificial love is at the heart of God's forgiveness.

Through forgiveness, we are brought into a new relationship with God and treated as sinless people. The blessing of the new covenant is this: "I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." (Hebrews 8:12) Because of the atoning death of Jesus, God's Lamb, he does not remember our sins. He no longer holds our sins against us.

The extent of our forgiveness is captured in the words of the psalmist: "He does not treat us as our sins deserve, or repay us according to our iniquities… as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:10-12)

Since God's forgiveness results in our being treated in a loving, gracious and accepting manner by God, we in turn are to forgive those who have sinned against us in a similar manner. Nothing less that this is acceptable to God.

The church would be transformed beyond recognition if we took seriously God's teaching on forgiveness. Too many conflicts in the church and in families have remained unresolved because of our unwillingness to forgive as we have been forgiven. The Christian landscape is littered with fragmented parts of the body of Christ because of the absence of forgiveness. And the wounds and scars will continue to fester and never be healed until the balm of forgiveness is applied.

If you truly comprehend the blessing of God's forgiveness, you will find the forgiving of others easy and compelling.