forgiveness takes place in the heart
If Jesus had waited until His enemies felt some guilt or shame for their words and actions, He would never have forgiven them.
It is my experience that most people we must forgive do not believe they have done anything wrong at all, or if they know that they did something wrong, they believe it was justified. I would even go so far as to say that at least 90 percent of all the people I’ve ever had to forgive would be indignant at the thought that they had done something wrong. If you gave them a lie-detector test, they would honestly say that they had done nothing wrong—and they would pass the test with flying colors.
Total forgiveness, therefore, must take place in the heart. If I have a genuine heart experience, I will not be devastated if there is no reconciliation. If those who hurt me don’t want to continue a relationship with me, it isn’t my problem, because I have forgiven them. This is also why a person can achieve inner peace even when forgiving someone who has died. The apostle John wrote, “Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God” (1 John 3:21, emphasis added). Confidence toward God is ultimately what total forgiveness is all about; He is the One I want to please at the end of the day. He cares and knows whether I have truly and totally forgiven, and when I know I have His love and approval, I am one very happy and contented servant of Christ.
R. T. Kendall, Total Forgiveness: When Everything in You Wants to Hold a Grudge, Point a Finger, and Remember the Pain - God Wants You to Lay It All aside (Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2010).