I totally disagree with the concept of forgiveness without repentance. A relationship cannot be restored with an unrepentant person. It just cannot be done. Let’s look at the examples you gave:
Forgive them for they know not what they do.
- Yes, Jesus asked the Father to forgive his killers. It does not say that HE forgave his killers. Indeed, the Father did forgive them when they repented. Those very killers were present on that special day of Pentecost when the disciples of Christ were filled with the Spirit. Peter had a long talk with them about the death and resurrection of Christ. He began this talk with the following words recorded in Acts 2:
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. (verses 22,23)
Peter concluded his talk with these words:
Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Verse 36)
And they took responsibility for killing the Messiah, for here is their response:
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”(Verse 37)
Peter then indicated the necessity of repentance and baptism, and its consequent forgiveness.
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Verse 38)
Thus after they repented, God forgave them, just as Jesus asked Him to do.
Stephen’s words as He was being stoned
Let’s examine those words:
2. And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.(Acts 7:60)
Did Stephen forgive those who stoned him? It doesn’t say that he did. It says that he asked the Lord not to hold their sin against them.
When someone has done us wrong, we may have no desire to get even or see that they are punished. But that is not forgiveness. True forgiveness implies a restoration of relationship between the one who has done wrong and the one who was wronged by him.