If your former spouse or someone else has hurt you deeply, you might be entertaining thoughts of how that person will realize his or her wrongs and come apologize and try to make things right. You may feel that the other person needs to do this before you will forgive.
Forgiveness, though, means you do not hold the other person accountable to you to make things right. In forgiveness, you give the person to God and let God be the one he or she answers to.
Howard says, "I felt that in order to be able to forgive her, she needed to repent first. I wanted her to grovel. I wanted her to say, 'I did you wrong. This was a terrible thing I did to you.'"
Howard continues, "On the cross when God said, 'Forgive them for they know not what they do,' He was offering forgiveness and no one was repenting. No one was sorry. They were wagging their heads, crying out with slurs. In the midst of it He was able to forgive, even when no one around Him was repenting. It was an amazing thing. I have to be able to do that, and if someone wants to take my forgiveness, it's up to that person."
When Jesus was on the cross, he forgave all the horrid things people were saying and doing to Him. He continued to forgive them even when their spiteful words and actions didn't stop.
"When they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him. . . . Then Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do'" (Luke 23:33-34).