Christianity has to do with redemption and redemption has to do with forgiveness. The whole redemption history revolves around God’s forgiveness. It consists of God redeeming us from sin, by compensating for our sins (we committed against Him) by His sacrifice. Furthermore, it consists of healing, where God gives us His sacrificial body and blood as real food (John 6:55), so that we may eat it, and be healed (John 6:33). It also consists of union with God (John 6:56) by us receiving His flesh and blood and by us being part of His body, His Church. Forgiveness also has to do with, returning home, to God’s home and to accepting God’s Fatherhood over us (Luke 15: 11-32). By His sacrificial act Jesus brings us into the household of God. Forgiveness, therefore, is an act of compassion, mercy and true love. God offers us forgiveness, which we receive through baptism. It is up to us to accept it or refuse it. We can accept it by making His forgiveness our way of life. If we reject it we are rejecting God’s forgiveness. This leads to eternal death.
The scriptures are very clear about forgiveness and mercy. In James 2:13 we are told that mercy is above law. In Matt. 6:14-15 we are told that we would not be forgiven if we do not forgive others. In the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 6:12) we ask God to forgive us the way we forgive others. In Luke 17:4 Jesus tells us that we must forgive others repeatedly. In Luke 6:27-36 Jesus tells us to love our enemy, pray for them, do good for them, if someone takes our coat, give them our shirt as well, offer the other cheek if someone slaps us on one, lend and do not expect it back and be merciful like our heavenly Father. In Romans 12: 17-21 Paul tells us to not pay evil with evil, never take revenge, feed our enemy, not allow evil to defeat us and to over come evil with good. He further tells us in 1Cor. 6:7 that a legal dispute is a sign of our complete failure; and that it is better to be wronged or robbed than to wrong others or rob them.