It is helpful to make a distinction between forgiveness and reconciliation. We sometimes use these terms interchangeably, but the difference is like that of a one way and a two way street. I prefer to use the word forgiveness to describe the work in the heart of the forgiver to put aside the quest for vengeance and move towards blessing. Forgiveness is something that can be done by one person regardless of how the other responds. Reconciliation is the restoration of relationship that can only come when there is both forgiveness and repentance. It is possible to forgive someone and not be reconciled because the other person refuses to change. In terms of our relationship with God, salvation should be understood as reconciliation. God has done the work of forgiveness, but we need to repent and trust him. I believe that God has a forgiving heart towards all people, but not everyone has a restored relationship with him. This understanding of forgiveness as a work primarily in the heart of the forgiver challenges us to take the first step. It can make forgiveness safer because it need not imply full trust towards an urpentnat offender,m but it also takes away our excuses for we cannot sit back and say "I will forgive only if they ask for it".