Father, Forgive Them!
I Heard My Savior Pray
It is extremely important to note that the focus in the meanings of ἀφίημιf, ἄφεσιςa, and ἀπολύωe is upon the guilt of the wrongdoer and not upon the wrongdoing itself. The event of wrongdoing is not undone, but the guilt resulting from such an event is pardoned. To forgive, therefore, means essentially to remove the guilt resulting from wrongdoing.
Some languages make a clear distinction between guilt and sin, and terms for forgiveness are therefore related to guilt and not to the wrongdoing. Therefore, ‘to forgive sins’ is literally ‘to forgive guilt.’ Though terms for ‘forgiveness’ are often literally ‘to wipe out,’ ‘to blot out,’ or ‘to do away with,’ it is obviously not possible to blot out or to wipe out an event, but it is possible to remove or obliterate the guilt.