Τhe Greek verb to "forgive" (συγχωρώ) means literally "to fit with another person in the same place". The word has the meaning of accepting others as I accept my intimate self.
And "unforgivable" (ασυγχώρητος) in Greek has the literal meaning of "a person that can not fit in the same place with me".
Taken this literal meanings, we could say that forgiveness is the acceptance for coexistence and lack of forgiveness is the exclusion of coexistence. By coexistence we mean the personal relationship, rather than the natural coexistence.
Referring to punishment and justice, in fact we talk about containment measures suspending coexistence. Removing the vengeful framework, justice requires isolation of condemned and sentenced excluding them from the coexistence with the righteous.
When we 'forgive' a person we remove any exclusionary measures that were applied.
Sinful human behavior erected a wall of exclusion between man and God; because it is not possible to coexist sin and Holiness. The deadlock was resolved by the incarnation of Jesus intervened so that this wall to be collapsed.
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time
According to scholars, in the temple of Solomon there was a single veil/curtain before a set of doors which serve as the “gate opening into the building” and entrance to the "holy of holies". The Holy of Holies contained only the Ark of the Covenant. The Holy of Holies was accessible only to the Israelite high priest. Once a year, on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the high priest was permitted to enter the small, windowless enclosure to burn incense and sprinkle the blood of a sacrificial animal on the mercy seat of the Ark. So, the veil was a border of exclusion.
When Christ died on the Holy Cross, several things took place, one of them was the following:
Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom
So, in this case the tearing of the veil/curtain (symbol of exclusion), from top to bottom, shows the termination of the exclusion and the start of the period of forgiveness.
I think it is clear that to forgive is Divine (as St Chrysostom said in one of his homilies). Actually, it is a work accomplished by Christ. But it is not just a simple restoration of a broken relationship. It is something greater. Because, now by God's forgiveness we become brothers of Christ and adoptive children of the Father. This relationship is not a restoration, rather it is a new birth in Spirit (as Andreas Moran and Phoebe K already explained in earlier posts).
Edited by Lakis Papas, 03 August 2013 - 02:21 PM.