After all, God does not approve of my sins, but God does forgive my sins. Otherwise all of my efforts to follow the teachings of Jesus are wasted. And I have seen too many redeemed lives to believe that to be true.
I'll share my perspective, although I know it is not popular. Most of the time I am really not the target of someone's bad behaviors, I'm just in the wrong place at the wrong time. You flip me off as you weave in and out of traffic like Mario? You don't know me, so I'm pretty sure it is about your attitude, your failure to start on time, your family drama, your illness, your....you get the idea. It is not personal. That does not mean that it is less frightening or less dangerous or less illegal; it is just not about me.
And when someone is legitimately furious with me personally, I'm happy to do what I can to help us find peace, but understand this: Your rage does not constitute a reason for me to change my values or ethics or priorities just because you want me to do something different. And I'll try not to be just as furious back at ya' while we work on this.
For me, forgiveness is a lot about just not wanting to expend the energy to be mad. Most of the time the entire drama has no possible good outcome, especially if the conflict STARTS with yelling. Let's at least try to consider the situation with calm and courtesy, forgoing the temptation to assume the other person is evil, stupid, mean or whatever they would have to be to intentionally cause harm on purpose. Let's look for common ground, folks!
And when I offer forgiveness or express a willingness to find a better way of doing things I am saying this: sometime down the line I might need the favor back, because we all say things thoughtlessly, act unkindly, fail to use common sense, common decency and common courtesy, and generally stand in need of forgiveness and mercy ourselves.
And thinking how I long to be treated when I mess up helps me keep a bit more perspective.