It can be helpful to encourage forgiveness when the guilty confess wrongdoing and desire to make amends when possible. Bitterness and revenge seeking can worsen a victim’s circumstances. How though should we react when the guilty refuse to acknowledge wrongdoing and show no remorse or regrets of their actions?
People can be confused by a God who demands forgiveness according to the Bible no matter what? What is there to forgive if one doesn’t admit wrongdoing? Easy forgiveness can allow a husband’s abusive behavior to continue. When a sexual abuser doesn’t acknowledge their actions, secret behaviors continue. Are we helping one by forgiving when they have no regrets?
To one’s surprise the Bible can be interpreted more often to suggest forgiveness requires regret. God is said to forgive if we forgive others (Mt. 6:14-15). Forgive if they repent (Lk. 17:3). God in the OT is often said to not forgive the rebellious (i.e. Josh. 24:19). Why would God ask us to do something God doesn’t – forgive the unrepentant? Then, there are circumstances when Jesus forgives while on the Cross for “they don’t know what they do” (Lk. 23:34).
My point is not to insist one should or shouldn’t forgive in their circumstances. Besides, ancient literature such as the Bible is always subject to interpretation. Usually, there are different opinions on meaning and application of the same passage. The Bible was never meant to be a rules book; the Bible was meant for reflection in one circumstances. The Bible is valuable because it suggests not always handling our circumstances naturally, humanly-speaking.
Friends can make a victim’s situation worse by pretending the know the mind of God in one’s individual circumstances. God is capable of guiding individuals. For some forgiving can cause feelings of further victimization and bitterness; for others forgiveness can control bitterness and possible acts of revenge. Many may be haunted with thoughts whether they must forgive their violator at the urging of others.
Not forgiving doesn’t mean you are full of bitterness or you wouldn’t forgive if one acknowledges what they have done and seem to truly regret their action. Whether a future relationship is possible depends. Seek the mind of God what actions in relationship difficulties lead to your best interest in the long-run in a world full of disappointments. God may not be as irrational or non-empathetic as thought.