Luke 17:3 Watch yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him…
Clearly Jesus taught here that our forgiveness of a person is conditional on his repentance.
Indeed the very concept of forgiveness implies repentance. When a person sins against us, repents, and we forgive him, the relationship is restored. It’s just as if he had never sinned against us.
What would it mean to forgive an unrepentant person? Does it mean to let go of our ill feelings toward him? If we have ill feelings towards him, we should let go of those feelings, and cease to have them, but that’s NOT forgiveness!
Some people say, “I forgave him, but I’m not going to go out and have dinner with him!” If that is a person’s attitude, he hasn’t forgiven the offender. How would it be if God said to us, “I forgive you, but don’t bother praying to Me, for I won’t listen; I won’t do a thing for you, you vile sinner.” If God said that to you, would you believe yourself to have been forgiven?
True forgiveness implies the restoration of a former good relationship.