THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SEASON
One of the most effective and powerful blessings is the act of forgiving. All human beings are sinful, and we do things that hurt each other, even if the hurt is unintentional. Sometimes we just do not understand or recognize how our actions, non-actions, words, tone of voice, and nonverbal communications affect others. It is difficult to “walk in someone's shoes” when we are NOT that someone. Communication is essential to relationships, and it is not easy to effectively communicate with empathy, sympathy, compassion, and understanding. That is why we all need forgiveness throughout our lives and in our closest relationships.
Forgiveness allows us to start over, to let go of past mistakes and the heartaches that go with them. Real forgiveness acknowledges our human inadequacies and failures and covers them over with a blanket of love. The perfect example of this is God's love for us. God requires repentance (recognition and sorrow for our sins and shortcomings) to have his forgiveness and fellowship. The Bible is clear, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the FORGIVENESS of sins” (Acts 2:38, emphasis mine). The forgiveness and love God gives us is complete and total, without reservations. He remembers our sins no more (Hebrews 10:17). God's love and fellowship with us are maintained and unbroken as long as we continue to follow him with a spirit of repentance for our sins and forgiveness for others' sins (1 John 1:7).
This profoundly affects our human relationships. If we do not recognize our own sins and weaknesses, it is hard, in fact nearly impossible, to forgive others. This is one of the reasons God says that we MUST forgive others AS he has forgiven US (Ephesians 4:32). In fact, we MUST forgive others if we want to receive God's forgiveness (Matthew 6:14 – 15). Forgiveness requires humility on our part. We must first recognize how much God has forgiven us in order to give forgiveness to others. True forgiveness reconciles and repairs relationships. It allows us to love each other again and to start anew (Colossians 3:12 – 14).
— Cynthia Clayton