Today, the absolute of forgiveness is unrecognized in the world and much of the church.
Instead, it's a road with a couple stops along the way.
People say, "Jesus forgives, and I want to, but I just can't yet." Or, "I don't feel ready to forgive yet, so I'm going to wait until I do." They've stopped on the first stop on mankind's road of forgiveness.
People say, "I forgive you, but I never want to see you again." Or, "God is Grace, and He has forgiven me!!!!!!" But those same people turn around and don't forgive others no matter what the offending party says, no matter how much they beg. Instead, they stop on the second stop on mankind's road of forgiveness, claiming to 'forgive' but they don't want to see you anymore.
If these responses grieve me, I can't even imagine how they make God feel. God does feel anger at sin, and these responses are SIN.
Jesus could have gone the route of mankind's road of forgiveness.
"Yes, Emily, I know you are sorry you sinned today, but you know what? You hurt my precious feelings, and I'm just not ready to forgive you yet. So go your way, and when I'm good and ready, I'll get off my prideful, selfish butt and forgive you. No, I don't care that it hurts you, in fact, that's what I'm trying to do. I need to make sure you hurt now just as much as you hurt me then."
"Um, yeah, I forgive you, but I'm leaving you because I just can't see you anymore-- it's too hurtful and a bad reminder. It doesn't matter that I shed my blood for you and that you are heirs with me of the Promise, that is a breakable tie here on earth. I will go my way, and you go yours. I just need to heal."
It makes me so sad to type those two paragraphs. It's such an ugly sentiment when put that way, supposedly coming from the Perfect Jesus, the Holy Son of God.
Unforgiveness is an ugly way to live; it destroys the unity of the Body of Christ, and it gives an opening to the Devil. After all, if Satan can't prevent us from being saved in the first place, he'd sure like to prevent us from living in a holy way.
Too much of this is going around; even in my own life. When Tim and I argue, I want to make sure he knows how badly he hurt me before I forgive him. That's so petty, stupid, selfish, unloving, and wrong!
Jesus didn't, and doesn't, treat me that way. I'm so thankful. And I know that He daily forgives my sin, freely and lovingly, the second I ask. (1 John 1:9) That is the way we should be. If someone asks for our forgiveness, admitting their wrong against us, it is the right thing to forgive, fully and freely.
Above where I used the words, 'Road of Forgiveness', I should have said 'Road TO Forgiveness', because anything less than immediate and full forgiveness isn't forgiveness at all. Instead, it is sin.