Dr. David Stoops (Forgiving the Unforgivable) tells the story of a young man he was counseling who had been deeply hurt by his pastor and was unwilling to forgive the pastor unless that pastor repented. Dr. Stoops responded that he didn’t like the young man’s God. What Dr. Stoops meant was that the young man’s perception of God was at odds with the God of the Bible, who makes it possible to forgive through the power of the Holy Spirit. God doesn’t require us to do something (Matthew 6:14-15) and then make it impossible for us to do unless our offender cooperates.
Dr. Stoops elaborates: “If I am required by God to be a forgiving person, then my ability to forgive must rest solely on me. It does not require the other person’s participation. . . . If my forgiveness is dependent on another person’s willingness to repent, I am kept in a victim position and the other person holds all the power in the situation.”