1. To be forgiven
Forgiveness of our sins depends on us forgiving the sins of others. Jesus even includes this concept in his model for prayer: “forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us” (Luke 11:4a NLT).
When we pray these words, we are saying, “God, don’t forgive me unless I have forgiven others.”
2. To purify our hearts.
Paul encourages us to; “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 (NKJV)
Forgiveness protects our hearts from bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking, and allows us to reap the fruits of the Spirit.
3. To be a representative of Christ
As Christians, we are called to represent Christ to the world through our actions and character. This includes forgiving as Christ forgives.
“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13 ESV
Jesus sets the standard for forgiveness. Representing him well requires following in his footsteps and forgiving an unlimited amount of times.