Most people think forgiveness is when you choose not to harbor bitterness, anger, or resentment and not to harbor thoughts about the person’s wrongs.
Mackintosh argues that forgiveness goes farther than that. Forgiveness is the restoration of the broken relationship. God requires us to ALWAYS show mercy, regardless of whether the person repents. But full forgiveness (restoration of the relationship) cannot happen unless the person repents. That’s why we are not required to forgive unless the person repents (Luke 17:4). Not even God forgives unrepentant sinners. The relationship cannot be restored unless both sides come together.
This book greatly enhanced my understanding (and appreciation) of God’s forgiveness. He didn’t just commute my sentence and cancel my debt. He moved toward me and restored what was broken in our relationship.