Jesus said that forgiving others is essential if we want to be right with God. Indeed, Jesus made it clear that God will not forgive us if we do not forgive others.
“For if you forgive others their offences, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your offences.” (Matthew 6:14-15. See also Luke 11:4)
“Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your offences.” (Mark 11:25)
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37)
Jesus also made it clear that his followers were to keep on forgiving:
Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church offends against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but I tell you, seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21-22. See also Luke 17:3-4).
Jesus follows these words by telling the parable of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:23-35), finishing with these unrelenting words:
“So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matthew 18:35)
We forgive others because this is what Jesus told us to do. But there is another good reason for doing so – forgiving others is good for our own mental health. When we truly forgive others, from our hearts, we let go of any anger or bitterness we feel towards them. So, God wants us to forgive others because it is good for our health. God is a good parent. He loves us, his human children, and he wants us to be healthy.
Jesus, while he was being crucified, set the supreme example of what it means to forgive others:
“Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)