Matthew Ch18 v21-22: Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.
To truly forgive someone can be hard but to continually forgive the same person(s) becomes virtually impossible and it’s only through God’s strength that we are able to continually forgive the same person(s). People need to take into consideration that Jesus doesn’t expect us to ‘forget’, or be used, exploited etc. For example, if you loan someone some money and they don’t repay you; just because you have forgiven them it does not mean that you have to loan them more money because you have forgiven them.
In the Lord’s prayer Jesus taught us that we are to forgive others as He has forgiven us through the crucifixion. By the time Jesus died on the cross for our sins He had lived a life where He had experienced the same temptations and hurts as us; people letting him down, saying spiteful thing to and about Him, persecuting Him. In a nutshell Jesus has gone through everything which we will experience in our lives (hopefully not the physical crucifixion part); but as we know He was sinless and was the only sacrifice enough for each of us and our sinful nature.
Jesus offers us forgiveness as a gift if we accept Him as our Lord and Saviour. Our acceptance of this gift is our personal choice and no one , not even God, can “make us” accept this gift as He has given us the freedom to live our lives the way we want to; and make our own choices (although the consequences of such may be out of our control). In this case if we choose to reject His gift of forgiveness the consequence will be spending eternity separated from God (aka hell).
When we involve God in the forgiveness process He will help us deal with the pain, (each of us deal with internal pain in our own ways as we are all unique). When we seek forgiveness from someone we may need God to help us with our pride in admitting we were in the wrong or that we need to accept the forgiveness on offer. In some instances when offering someone forgiveness an act of kindness on your part may help the person(s) to accept your gift of forgiveness as it can demonstrate sincerity.
Ephesians Ch4 V31-32: Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Is there someone or a group of people you need to forgive , maybe they have caused you pain, upset, sleepless nights. The longer you take to forgive them the deeper festering roots grow and the harder it will become to forgive them. Maybe you are rejecting someone’s offer of forgiveness because of pride or the feeling that you don’t deserve to be forgiven by them or God.