In what is commonly called the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus told us to pray the following:
…forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.*
There is a way in which God’s forgiveness is conditional.
Let’s say we’re friends. One day you accidentally smash into my car. I saw it happen and you know I saw it. You freak out, maybe you don’t have very good insurance, so you take off. For me, our friendship is more important than my smashed up car. I decide to forgive you completely. I try to tell you that I’ve forgiven you and that I don’t want the accident to get in the way of our friendship. The problem is, you won’t take my calls and if you see me on the street you avoid me. You feel scared, ashamed, and, strangely over time, even angry.
Even though I freely forgave you, your shame has created a barrier between us and because you continuously choose to reject forgiveness our relationship is destroyed.
This is the way God’s forgiveness is conditional.