Colossians 3:13 says we are to forgive as the Lord forgave you. How do we live that out? How do we forgive as God has forgiven us?
When we forgive someone, we are choosing to see the offender through the cross, the way the Father sees you and me. It means accepting that God saw your hurt, no matter how small or how great, passed judgment on it, and laid His just and holy anger in full on Christ against it. We can let go of our hurt, anger, even hate because God does not let that sin go unpunished. Their offense was not ignored, forgotten, or swept under the rug. It was dragged out in the open, judged, and paid for on the cross.
When we forgive, that is what we are doing, going to the cross and experiencing the justice and grace of God. Through forgiveness we experience the justice of God in seeing God’s seriously and fiercely respond to our hurt through His judgment against it at the cross. Through forgiveness we experience the love and grace of God in receiving healing and release from the poison and pain of our hurt, making it possible for the relationship with the person who offended us to heal and move forward.
In accepting forgiveness we experience the justice and grace of God in seeing that Christ paid for our sins and took away our guilt before God and from the person we hurt.