THIS IS A RESPONSE I GAVE TODAY TO A QUESTION REGARDING FORGIVENESS.
So now in response to your question, I offer the following. The particular Scripture (Luke 23:34) that you referenced regarding forgiveness is a bad reference to answer the question of “is forgiveness humanly possible?” In the New Testament alone the words forgave, forgive, forgiven or forgiveness is mentioned thirty-nine times. Usually, when a word is used so many times it means that it is a very important concept. In the particular Scripture that you referenced, Christ made the statement while He was on the cross. He was representing the Son-ship of the God-head, better known as the Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus had already proven during his lifetime that He has the authority to forgive sin in man. While on the cross He was verbalizing that although He had authority, He wanted to acknowledge that He was doing the work of He who sent Him-that being God the Father. Because of this, He asked for forgiveness for them through God the Father. Of course He could have said, I forgive them for what they know not what they do, but I believe He wanted to acknowledge that He was being submissive to the authority of God His Father. He had already stated that He had come to do the will of His Father who sent Him.
In what is called by many “The Lord’s Prayer” found in Matt. 6, there is specific language which states that we should ask God to forgive us as we also forgive others. (11-12). Also it states in verse 14-15, that if we don’t forgive others, God will not forgive us. This clearly indicates the danger if we “CHOOSE” not to forgive others. The reason I capitalized “choose” is because it is a choice that is made. Just like coming to Christ is a choice, forgiving others is a choice. I do not believe however, that anyone who calls himself a Christian and is filled (Eph. 5:18) with the Holy-Spirit can say that he chooses not to forgive others. Perhaps they do not know understand what Matt. 6 states.
Another Scripture reference regarding forgiveness in proper context for Christians is found in Col. 3:12-14- “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything in perfect harmony.” All Christians should follow the principles found in Scripture including “forgiveness”. Outside of Christ, I believe that it is impossible to follow these principles because the Holy Spirit is the agent which equips us to forgive.
I hope that this brings clarity.