There are things that are unforgivable. You should not forgive someone until they have earned the potential for forgiveness. How do they earn it? They need to follow the four “R’s”:
1) Responsibility — The perpetrator needs to take complete and absolute responsibility for what they've done. They should not blame it on anyone else, their childhood, bullying, or moon spots. If it was their own decision, they must take full responsibility for having made that decision without justification or excuses.
2) Remorse — The perpetrator must be truly remorseful. Most people feel bad because they were caught or had to suffer consequences, however, that’s not true remorse. The only problem with this step is that no other human being can tell for certain if another is truly remorseful. People can say it, but we don’t really know what’s in their hearts.
3) Repair — The perpetrator must do whatever it takes to repair the damage. Some damage cannot be repaired. I remember reading a story about a driver who plowed into a group of young people riding their bicycles. One biker, who was a superior human being and an athlete, had his arms, legs, and just about every rib broken, and his brain would never be the same again. People wanted the driver to be forgiven after creating a lifetime of torture for this young man. To that, I say, “No!”
4) Repetition – The perpetrator must take whatever steps needed so that this action is never repeated.
H/T: Not Everything is Forgivable by Dr. Laura