When we enter a covenant relationship with the LORD Jesus through our salvation, we also enter a covenant of forgiveness. Jesus told us when we pray, we are to say … “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive the debts of others.” [Luke 11:4]
The Apostle Paul reiterated the covenant in both his letters to the Ephesians and Colossians: “forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you,” and “forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” [Eph 4:32, Col 3:13-14].
A covenant is an agreement between two parties. There are numerous examples of covenants in the OT. Most have similar attributes. Both parties are responsible for keeping the covenant, they were often sealed by blood sacrifice, and there were consequences for not keeping them as they were a sacred commitment.
The covenant of forgiveness is simple. God forgave us; we forgive others. Simple. But certainly not easy.
When someone hurts us and repents and asks forgiveness, it is a lot easier to forgive than when people don’t know or care that they hurt us. The thing about the covenant of forgiveness, our part isn’t founded on what’s in the heart of the offender – only what is in the heart of the one granting forgiveness.
It doesn’t matter if the offender repents or not. It doesn’t flow from our feelings. It is an act of the will. We choose to forgive others because we remember (and are eternally grateful for) the magnitude of forgiveness we received in Christ Jesus.