From “Growing in the character of a disciple”: Chapter 13 – Some common errors and areas of confusion about what forgiveness is and how, and why, we are to do it
The same principles apply as with the original wrongdoing. So, along with the difficulties that come from the original wrong, you have the extra ordeal of facing the wrongdoer and seeing him, large as life. Perhaps he is even attending the same church as you, despite showing no apparent repentance. It may be that nobody thinks it matters, or is willing to confront him about it on your behalf.
Jesus is still the one who will judge these additional, ongoing offences. It is all going to be dealt with by Him, just as the original wrong will be. We can still step aside and leave each new violation to Him, in just the same way. We can hand it over to Jesus each day, tell Him how we feel, ask Him to deal with it and then go on to forgive the wrongdoer as a decision of our will.
If need be, we can do this over and over again, as many times as it takes, even “seventy times seven”, as Jesus said. That said, we also need to be realistic. So, if the wrongdoer’s brass-faced attitude is offending you, why not consider altering your daily routines, or travel times, or the place where you sit, so as to avoid coming into any further contact with him, or at least minimizing the contact?
There is no reason why you shouldn’t do that. It is not inconsistent with genuinely forgiving, and it may well be a big help. However, if the avoidance of further contact isn’t possible, for practical reasons, we just need to keep on forgiving. We should also ask God to help us to do so, and also to help us at an emotional level to deal with our feelings, even though those are not directly involved in the decision to forgive.
Those feelings may not be what forgiveness is about, but they still matter to us, and they also matter to God. He created us with emotions and it is possible for us to have feelings, even very strong ones, without degenerating into unforgiveness, or into any other form of sin, as a result.