Forgive: "1. To excuse for a fault or offense; to pardon. 2. To renounce anger or resentment against. 3. To absolve from payment of." The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.
To grant pardon [no liability] without harboring resentment; Freely granted; Requires acknowledgment of wrong doing. Humility required on the part of the one forgiven.
Forgiveness is not a natural part of our who we are. Forgiveness, in the same way as love, can only be given if there is something there to give. Like getting water from a cistern, opening the valve does no good if the cistern is empty. I believe that the true source of love and forgiveness is God. For us, we should strive to learn from our mistakes and those of others and for that reason alone, not forget. However, forgiveness does not mean that there are no consequences for our actions.
Forgiveness from God - If we admit our sins and ask His forgiveness, God will forgive us. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1John 1:9
Requires nothing on our part except to receive it.
Is absolute, without reservation, forgotten "As far as the East is from the West";
Substitutionary atonement: someone else [Jesus Christ] paid the penalty deserved.
Forgiveness is something that must be accepted in order for healing to take place. If we do not accept the authority of the one giving a pardon, we are doomed to suffer the punishment assigned.
Forgiveness from others - If we know someone has something against us, we are directed to seek that person out and make things right.
23Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift." Matthew 5:23
Mostly outside of our control. It is up to us to seek forgiveness. We cannot force someone else to forgive us.
Must acknowledge the authority of the other person to forgive.
Up to the heart and mind of the offended party(s), directly or indirectly.
Forgiveness of others - God commands us to forgive others.
14"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Matthew 6:14-15
"Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother." Matthew:18:15
Controlled by us. It is a choice we make.
Sometimes the other person has no idea that they have harmed us.
Forgiveness of oneself - When we are confronted with our sin, we must confess it and seek forgiveness from God, just as King David did when confronted by Nathan of his sin with Bathsheba.
13So David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." And Nathan said to David, "The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 2 Samuel 12:13-15
Also controlled by the individual.
Can be the most difficult because it is completely internal.
No excuses. (Excuses simply bury the offense or push it away to not deal with it.)
No putting blame on others.
Acceptance of responsibility.
Required, if forgiveness is to truly be accepted from others.