Luke 17:3-4 answers that question this way: “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” Jesus said that without genuine repentance there is no forgiveness. One example of this principle is when he says:
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10).
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).
We are forgiven for our sins the moment we repent of them–acknowledge, feel remorse, turn from them. Without true repentance, there is no change. Just as the Lord will not forgive an unrepentant heart, neither should we forgive an unrepentant brother. But, that means we withhold the forgiveness that is already in our hearts. We cannot allow bitterness to fester. Our desire must be for restoration of the relationship.