The way God goes about forgiving us says much about his compassion. No one would say to God “I am sorry” unless God had first given the grace. The first move is God’s while we are unrepentant. We too are called to reach out to the unrepentant who have offended us.
Sometimes outreach may actually aggravate matters by exposing us to further abuse. This would hurt both us and our abuser. Even then however we can at least let go of resentment in our own hearts. This is not burying a resentment nor is it approving an offense. It is letting go because that is the way God behaves.
One of the dividends of reconciliation is a double liberation. The offender is liberated to let go of his or her resentment and we are freed as well. Both of us are freed for love. Not only can we repair the damage from the past but we can make a healing gift to another who was an enemy. That way we fulfill Jesus’ word to do good to those who hate us.
I want freedom, Lord, for myself and others. I want peace. Teach me the art of reconciliation, and patience with those who will not be reconciled.