Why does it makes sense to us that certain requirements need to be met in order for forgiveness to be bestowed? If forgiving another was to be based upon sorrow, it would become obvious after a while that such a basis is all too relative. I mean, what kind of sorrow is sufficient? And then, what kind of forgiveness comes, as well as leaves, dependent upon the actions or attitudes of the one being forgiven? What good is a sorrow that lasts long enough to persuade someone to let the other off the hook? I would venture to say you know this process all too well, and that you have forgiven someone before, only to find yourself holding the same thing against him, thereby causing you to wonder if you ever did forgive in the first place.
But forgiveness is not based upon the actions or attitude of the recipient but upon the one who does the forgiving. Forgiveness is based upon God. The reality of one person truly forgiving another is also based upon God. Most of what we have considered forgiveness is nothing more than short-lived trade-offs between one person and another. We have learned how to make tentative deals with one another. Forgiveness is not about making deals but is found in not holding one's sins and offenses against that person. There is only one place, one reality where this is a possibility, and that is where there is no law against the person. That reality is found in the doing away of the offender, which was brought about in Jesus Christ in his death.
For us, forgiveness toward others is part and parcel of the miraculous new life in Christ. Do we not realize that it is only according to appearances that holding people's sins against them makes sense? That means it is only HIS mind by which we can truly view others according to reality and not according to appearance.