Ephesians 4:32 - The Grace of Forgiveness.

Ephesians 4:32 - The Grace of Forgiveness.

Ephesians 4:32 (NIV) Be kind and compassionate to one another, 
forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  

Kindness and tenderheartedness profit little unless they are 
given expression in the forgiving spirit. Kindness may be merely a 
kind of courtesy or politeness if it is not willing to take the step 
of forgiveness. The forgiving spirit is more than an ideal or even 
a virtue; it is a certain attitude of heart and soul.  The Lord 
Himself is the only model we should attempt to follow (Matt. 6:12; Luke 
6:36). Forgiveness for men was purchased at infinite cost, whereas it 
costs men nothing, except the sacrifice of some personal pride, to 
forgive others. Our forgiveness is to be measured against the divine 
forgiveness (cf. Matt. 18:32, 33), a fact that becomes the more startling 
the more it is pondered. [SDA Bible Commentary] 

This is Christ's law of forgiveness as taught in the Gospels 
(Matthew 6:14, 15; 18:35; Mark 11:25). We also see it in the Lord's 
Prayer--"Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us" (Luke 
11:4). God forgives us, not because we forgive others, but solely 
because of his great mercy. As we come to understand his mercy, however, 
we will want to be like him. Having received forgiveness, we will 
pass it on to others. Those who are unwilling to forgive have not 
become one with Christ, who was willing to forgive even those who 
crucified him (Luke 23:34). [Life Application SB] 

  Most of the ground that Satan gains in the lives of Christians 
is due to unforgiveness. We are warned to forgive others so that 
Satan cannot take advantage of us (2 Corinthians 2:10, 11). God 
requires us to forgive others from our hearts or He will turn us over to 
the tormentors (Matthew 18:34, 35). Why is forgiveness so critical 
to our freedom? Because of the cross. God didn't give us what we 
deserve; He gave us what we needed according to His mercy. We are to be 
merciful just as our heavenly Father is merciful (Luke 6:36). We are to 
forgive as we have been forgiven (Ephesians 4:31, 32).  
  Forgiveness is not forgetting. People who try to forget find 
that they cannot. God says He will "remember no more" our sins 
(Hebrews 10:17), but God, being omniscient, cannot forget. "Remember no 
more" means that God will never use the past against us (Psalm 
103:12). Forgetting may be a result of forgiveness, but it is never the 
means of forgiveness. When we bring up the past and use it against 
others, we haven't forgiven them.  
  Forgiveness is a choice, a crisis of the will. We choose to 
face and acknowledge the hurt and the hate in order to forgive from 
the heart. Since God requires us to forgive, it is something we can 
do. (He would never require us to do something we cannot do.) But 
forgiveness is difficult for us because it pulls against our concept of 
justice. We want revenge for offenses suffered. But we are told never to 
take our own revenge (Romans 12:19). "Why should I let them off the 
hook?" we protest. You let them off your hook, but they are never off 
God's hook. He will deal with them fairly--something we cannot do.  
  If you don't let offenders off your hook, you are hooked to 
them and the past, and that just means continued pain for you. Stop 
the pain; let it go. You don't forgive someone merely for their 
sake; you do it for your sake so you can be free. Your need to forgive 
isn't an issue between you and the offender; it's between you and God. 
  Lord, I stand amazed at the example of Your forgiveness. I 
desire to grow in my willingness to forgive those who have hurt me.  By 
Neil Anderson and Freedom in Christ Ministries re Eph. 4:32 

Rather than giving vent to our natural drives when confronted by 
opposing parties, Paul says to begin and to continue relationships from a 
position of forgiveness. Such an approach more nearly assures smoothness 
and longevity of relationships.