God is ready and willing to forgive sinners, but we sinners must be ready and willing to be forgiven. For the Lenten journey to be of any effect, we must be open to be forgiveness; if we cannot forgive others nor admit our faults and be forgiven by those we have offended, there is no room within us for God’s mercy.
Father Alexander Schmemann writes in his book Great Lent: Journey to Pascha, “the triumph of sin, the main sign of its rule over the word, is division, opposition, separation, hatred. Therefore, the first break through this fortress of sin is forgiveness: the return to unity, solidarity, love. To forgive is to put between me and my “enemy” the radiant forgiveness of God Himself. . . . Forgiveness is truly a ‘breakthrough’ of the Kingdom into this sinful and fallen word.” God’s forgiveness is given to us via others, not alone; thus it is through mutual forgiveness that we truly begin the journey to the Resurrection. from New Liturgical Movement