We've all been wronged, but how does hating someone hurt you? Forgiveness is actually for you.
What is the cost of unforgiving someone? It is like a poison that can spread to all areas of your life, causing you to become an angry, cynical person. If you've ever been around that, you know how difficult it can be. Even if someone you do not forgive has not apologized, acknowledged their wrong, forgive for yourself. It can take the weight off your shoulders so you can be free to live in peace and joy.
Does it depend if the person has asked for forgiveness? It does make it easier to know a person is sincerely apologizing for wronging you or doing something very hateful. But most would agree forgiving someone who has not asked for forgiveness is a tough one. Again, it goes back to YOU. Forgiveness is more for you at this point. Carrying around the burden of the anger and resentment just makes your own life miserable. Don't give another person that power.
The other question that come up is - do you forgive and forget? My response is, it depends. If it's a minor issue and they have asked for forgiveness and apologized, yes perhaps. For me, I think it can be a character issue on behalf of the person who wronged me. I may forgive and continue to love them, but I won't forget it. I'll learn from the situation as to how I can trust them in the future - or not.
When what has been done is something that hurts someone deeply, perhaps physically or from a matter of trust, I suggest you do forgive, learn from it and then either remove yourself from that person's life or create boundaries to protect you. Every circumstance is different. If you know that person is remorseful and has taken action to change, it can be smart to "love them from a distance". To me, this means, YOU dictate the terms of the relationship in an environment or situation that feels safest to you. Maybe this means at a public place when you can leave at anytime, or maybe it's an occasional phone call. Whatever it is, make sure you determine what is best for you as they gain back your trust.
One of the most mind provoking stories of forgiveness I've heard is through the book and movie, "The Shack". If you want to explore the complexities of forgiveness, this might be something to consider. While it is a fiction book, it helps us to wrap our head around forgiveness and the Christian faith.
Thanks for reading! Diane