Forgiveness – choice or process?

Just a few thoughts following a brief conversation on Twitter:

original conversation

I think it’s case of forgiveness being both a process and a choice. Initially, we choose to forgive “I forgive you” and the end of the process “I have forgiven you” is often almost instantaneously reached with no awareness of anything between the two points.

Sometimes, often quite a while after the initial choice has been made and forgiveness apparently achieved, the pain will re-appear and the choice to forgive will need to be made again. This often repeats itself over time and with each iteration the effort of making the choice lessens.

Sometimes, despite the choice being made to forgive, it requires constant effort to maintain the choice and it doesn’t get easier.

Is it a cop out to look at it like this? Can we legitimately say to somebody “I forgive you” knowing that we’re a long way from being able to say “I have forgiven you”?