Do we forgive those who have not asked for it? I realize that we are not to hold grudges, just trying to discern what forgiveness actually is, and does it always involve reconciliation?

I found this article by Jimmy Akin most helpful in this matter

Look at how we are forgiven of our sins to God, the Sacrament of Penance. God will not forgive us until we repent. We can’t just go through the motions either. We have to be truly sorry. Following God’s example, to forgive someone else, they must apologize to you in some way for what they did. Depending on the wrongdoing, this may include paying back what is owed or some other form of restitution. And when they apologize it must be sincere. Only God knows 100%, but sometimes you can tell when someone isn’t really sorry. If they have done these things, then you are obligated to forgive them. So we must be ready to forgive when the person repents, but we don’t have to forgive if they haven’t repented.


I believe you’re being mislead. Christ is by far our best example, and when He was being crucified said: “Father forgive them for do not know what they are doing.” Always try to follow in the footsteps of Christ.

For many, forgiveness is a difficult virtue to master. When we learn the power and wisdom of forgiveness, we are bound to have reached an advanced level of spiritual maturity. Regardless the nature of any possible abuse that we may have endured, nor the severity of that abuse, full recovery from abuse cannot be achieved until we truly forgive our abuser(s). Any anger or resentment we hold within us, live and thrive within us, and become a part of our very self. We will never rid ourselves of this anger and resentment until we experience true forgiveness towards all. Seeing our tormentors suffer a thousand times over will only add to our own misery.

On the other hand, to endure unnecessary torment and misery is never righteous, but a perversion. Also, the righteousness of forgiveness should never involve our condoning abuse or any other forms of evil.

True forgiveness requires our valuing peace and love above all else. Experiencing forgiveness towards those who have wronged us resembles perfect love more so than perhaps any other human experience. Forgiveness involves recognizing and valuing the potential for love that exists within every human soul, including our own soul. Sins cannot be completely forgiven until we forgive, and find an inner peace with, everyone who has ever wronged us; for every ounce of anger and resentment that we hold against any other(s), there will surely exist an ounce of sin held against us – for harboring anger and resentment within our self is sin.

The Golden Rule states: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you!” Our forgiving everyone, especially those we consider our enemies or adversaries, is to demonstrate to God that we are worthy of His forgiveness. Likewise, to find love for all our enemies and adversaries are to demonstrate to God that we have suffered long enough with our anger and resentment, and we are ready to receive His love.

Again, to experience the true power and wisdom contained within the virtue of forgiveness is to develop great spiritual growth!

fragile wonders :** “Do we forgive those who have not asked for it?
I realize that we are not to hold grudges, just trying to discern what forgiveness actually is, and does it always involve reconciliation?”**

"Do we forgive those who have not asked for it?"
If you do NOT forgive any slight that happens to you, then you would have a HUGE list of people that you have not forgiven.
If a relative says something inappropriate, I (usually) instantly forgive his ignorance (or annoyance).
If a waiter messes up my order, I don’t wait until he asks me for understanding, I just forgive him.

In most people’s lives, there are several things each day that happen, which (somehow) upset them.
So, I look at Forgiveness as a way for my to get past feel annoyed (or, slandered … or taken advantage of).
I do this action for ME.
I forgive, to LET GO of whatever I am feeling, so that Jesus can bring Love back into my awareness (and into my Heart).

Most of the time, people automatically forgive most of Life’s “injustices” … without actually realizing that they are doing it.
Only when a BIGGER injustice comes up, so those same people dwell on that, and consider NOT forgiving that person’s action.

It’s something like that.

I don’t think that’s entirely true. I’m not saying that forgiveness isn’t owed, but for example, when someone first apologizes and then immediately justifies their original offense, there is reason to suspect that the apology was not genuine.

Real repentance doesn’t justify sin, nor does real forgiveness claim that it was no sin at all or that there was nothing to forgive.

The problem is that people too often expect the latter without practicing the former.

What about doing good to our enemies? Does that mean forgiveness of them? If it does then I don’t think we are going to get an apology before forgiving them. And the next question is, does a christian even have an enemy if they are really true christians? For they should see everyone as another image of God which God has created.

All men are created not only equal but in the image of God.

Jesus Christ be glorified.

There is a lot of talk about forgiveness. It seems therefore there must be a lot on people’s minds regarding issues they have with other people and resentments etc. Basically the message of Christ was one of peace - Blessed are the peacemakers, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven etc. Therefore it would seem that we should strive for peace - real peace between people, rather than a fake put on. This peace requires honesty and goodwill and an openness to forgive others and not judge them continually. This non judgement would include not judging others if they do not wish to reconcile. Of course, peace is not always possible at the present time. But after a war or conflict, people have to be willing to move on with their circumstances/lives and not continually harbour ill will etc. How difficult this seems via the newspapers daily - the stories of continual fighting that has lasted generations between countries eg. the middle east, the soviet union, china, within ireland, the middle east and america etc. the list goes on. The wars start and are continued in people’s hearts.
Where are the peacemakers in our lives? do they have anything left to say. Has their input been squashed by everyone else’s 2 cents worth of antagonism. :blush:

Good article from the Catholic Answers team.

That’s one opinion. It states that we are not required to forgive those who are not repentant.

I’m kind of sold on it. It does involve a separation of the concepts of forgiveness and love. Love is unconditional and must be applied to even our enemies. Forgiveness, he argues, is conditional.


“And be ye kind one to another; merciful, forgiving one another, even as God hath forgiven you in Christ.” Eph 4:32

Interesting question…Ive always believed that how we forgive will be how we are forgiven…

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