In Chapter 3 of Forgiving the Unforgivable, Dr. David Stoops says that when he speaks on forgiveness he’s reminded of the main thing that keeps people in a bind over forgiveness- the belief that forgivenss and reconciliation are synonymous. He elaborates on the distinction between them:
“It is important that we see forgiveness and reconciliation as two separate processes. Forgiveness is always necessary for there to be reconciliation, but forgiveness does not guarantee there will be reconciliation. . . . it also requires the genuine participation of the other person.”
To summarize, forgiveness is something we do within ourselves, while reconciliation involves both parties. If reconciliation was a requirement of forgiveness, forgiveness often would be impossible- the other person my never apologize or be sorry, or may no longer be living.
Dr. Stoops concludes by emphasizing that forgiveness blesses us because through forgiveness God enables us to resolve issues from our past. Realistically, the process of forgiveness is the only way we can achieve that resolution.