The word forgiveness conjures up many thoughts and ideas in our heads, but each one of us, hopefully, have struggled with having to ask for forgiveness or give it when someone asks us to forgive them. That is the way it should work but it doesn't. Most of it, goes on in our head, "of course I have forgiven that person" (and the energy is still there and the other person has no idea you have forgiven him or her).
I know God has forgiven me. How? "Of course we have patched things up, but no one has apologized." We all carry some of that un-forgiveness inside of us and either it is transformed or transmitted. We either deal with it and change or we transmit it to those around us. We take it out on our partners, children and others. Forgiveness is in the concrete, not in magic thinking,
I observed the power of forgiveness at a Christian Conference in Kansas City many years ago. There were about 75,000 in attendance and there were workshops in the various hotels in the city. One afternoon in the Muehlbock Hotel in the basement a big crowd of Jewish Christians were gathered to hear teaching from a Rabbi. In the course of the teaching, an old man walked up the aisle and asked to say a word to the gathering. I quote, "my name is _____ and I was a Nazi officer, served at Aushwitz and killed many of your family members and I humbly ask you to forgive me. Many rose from their seats embraced the man and assured him of forgiveness. The Rabbi got a bowl of water, bent over and washed the mans' feet.
Many of us left the room that afternoon with a new understanding of the power of forgiveness, for we had felt that power of forgiveness.