I found the Greek word for “forgive.” I went to my Strong's Concordance hoping to find out that the word for forgive when it is me forgiving others was different from the word for forgive when God is forgiving us. That did not help. The word is essentially the same in every passage I looked at that uses the word "forgive." Aphiemi [ἀφίημι]: send away, release, remit, forgive, permit, leave alone. It was not different no matter how it is used.
One thing I learned, from several sources reinforcing each other, is that God’s grace, love and forgiveness are never conditional. It’s not so much that our forgiving others wins kudos from God, as it is what God expects from those who have received His unlimited forgiveness. As we grow in our understanding of the depths of His love for us, and the resulting forgiveness, we should forgive others, even many times over, and even for the same offense. God does that for us. And when Peter asked how many times did he have to forgive someone who had hurt him. Peter thought seven seemed like a good number, but God said,
“I do not say to you up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21, 22.
And, I don’t think we are supposed to keep count. Can you see each of us walking around holding little notebooks, writing names and placing tally marks next to those as we keep a record of all who have hurt us? Ahhh! 490! I don’t have to forgive that person ever again!
That sounds ridiculous. God does not do that to us and we should mimic God. Jesus told us to follow His example:
“For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.” John 13:15.
I was told once that because of my childhood beliefs about sin, I knew without a doubt that I was/am a sinful person worthy of death. The same person also told me that knowing I have been forgiven for those numerous sins could help me understand the depths of God’s love. He paraphrased Luke 7:47 as “He who is forgiven much, loves much . . .” That makes sense to me and leads me back to gaining a little more understanding of the depth of God’s love and His unconditional forgiveness for me.
I need to think (and pray) about this more this next week. More is yet to be revealed.