In the ‘Ask an Apologist’ section today, the question was asked “Can someone require people to first repent before forgiving them?” The answer was provided that we must be willing and ready to forgive, as it is a Spiritual Work of Mercy. He also explained that we pray in the Lord’s prayer "as we forgive those who trespass against us".
Full thread here: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?threadid=787566
My husband was recently asking me this very same question, and I gave an answer much like the apologist. ( Go me! :D) However, he came back with some follow-up questions that I have been working through in my head to come with an answer. You see, my husband still firmly believes that one must ask for forgiveness before we are to grant it if we are to forgive as God forgives. Why else would we have Reconciliation as a sacrament? Is it not necessary to ask God’s forgiveness in order to attain it?
I have been considering this, and I have a few thoughts of my own on how to answer him. But I thought it would be interesting to put it out to the group. What are your thoughts on this?