The issue/situation/offense/abuse/crime is never forgotten. The pain and trauma still exists. The need for revenge has been given to God who judges and sentences perfectly.
If someone is to be forgiven, the one seeking forgiveness must do something. Repentance is required. Repentance is knowledge, assent, confession, asking for forgiveness, and reimbursement.
Does the offender have regret or remorse? Dr George Simon writes:
…regret is always about what someone’s decisions might have cost them personally. Remorse is something quite different. It’s about feeling bad for hurting someone else. A person can regret something they’ve done (especially if they’ve had to pay a hefty price for it) but still have no remorse. (See also: Shame, Guilt, Regret, Remorse, and Contrition.)
B1 The Greek word has the idea of sending something away, letting something drop or leave. It can be anything from spouse, money, people, debt, or giving permission. In this case, there must be an understanding of the offender’s asking God for forgiveness. Thus, the debt, the penalty, had already been paid for by Jesus’s suffering and dying on the cross (Hebrews 9:26 NRSV). (Compare Corrie ten Boom
). When God forgives, it is not something as “Oh, just forget it.” It has the idea of another paid what was required—a fine, jail time, etc. When God forgives our sins, the punishment was completed by the Lord Jesus on the cross. Forgiveness would be NOT reminding the offender of their fault.
B2 In Matthew 18:26-27, the servant asked forgiveness, and the king had compassion, forgave the debt, and freed the obligation. The debt was still paid in that the king took the loss.
B3 Restitution might still be required. For example, I lie about someone. God convicts me of my sin. I go to the person, tell them that God has convicted me of my sin of lying, and I am asking for forgiveness. What do you want me to do? If the person has suffered a monetary loss, they may want compensation or not.
B4 Forgiveness includes repentance. Repentance is not doing it again. Consider King David’s rape of Bathsheba and allowing her husband to be murdered. When David repented, he never did this again (Psalm 51
and 2 Samuel 11 and 12). So also, King Manasseh did the same (2 Chronicles 33
B5 So far, we have covered the idea of forgiveness when the offender asks for forgiveness. What and how do we forgive the one who does not ask? God does not forgive someone unless they ask (See here
). In the case that they do not ask for forgiveness, then we turn the offense over to God to seek justice and ask peace for ourselves (See Romans 2:4NLT, Acts 14:17, and Luke 6:35). If we meet the offender, be kind, pray for yourself and them, then remember and follow the boundaries you have set up (Compare Acts 14:17, Titus 3:3-4, and Acts 17:29-31).