A Question I Was Asked:

Doesn't Full Forgiveness Have to be Reciprocal?

Doesn't full forgiveness have to be reciprocal? What about 'unconditional forgiveness'? Are we to forgive those who don't even want our forgiveness?

UK Apologetics Reply:

We are to forgive willingly just as Jesus has forgiven us and, yes, this should be unconditional. If a particular person does not forgive us, however, we should continue to have the attitude of a preparedness for unconditional forgiveness, even if such a person continues to be angry towards us and is unrepentant. Such an attitude means that full forgiveness (which must be reciprocal), is stalled but may come in time. In the meantime we must not bear grudges although we we will learn lessons (and maybe such a lesson might even be that a particular person is prone to easy anger and poor judgement and is difficult to work with).

So to forgive somebody does not mean that thereafter we should be foolish and naive in our dealings with any such person from that point forward.

Should we forgive those who don't even want our forgiveness? Without question, this is much harder but we should have this attitude of a preparedness and a willingness for full and unconditional forgiveness. With regard to the restoring of a relationship that may or may not be possible in this life but God will look to us to ensure that our attitude is right. However, if a person is determined to be hard and unforgiving, that is no longer our responsibility.

Robin A. Brace. December 30th, 2014.