Could pierce beyond the grave,
Who saw his Master in the sky,
And called on him to save:
Like Him, with pardon on his tongue
In midst of mortal pain,
He prayed for them that did the wrong:
Who follows in his train?
Are we able to forgive others in such a way? Christ, while being martyred, cried out to God, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Stephen, while being martyred, cried out to the Lord, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge."
These accounts always bless me whenever I read them or think about them. When they forgave and prayed for those that did them wrong, did that mean God forgave the wrong-doers? I don't believe so. It is clear that we must repent and change kingdoms in order to be forgiven. So why did they pray? I believe it is because they were obeying the two greatest commandments: Love God, love your neighbour (your neighbour includes your enemies). By forgiving them and loving them in such a way, they showed they had a perfect heart towards God.
Paul tells us at the end of Romans 12 to "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." If we do this, does that mean we will turn the evil into good? No, I don't believe so. I believe it means WE will not be overcome with the evil but instead we will OVERCOME the evil in such a way that it does not spot us and our hearts remain perfect towards God.
In the Didache it says, "love those who hate you, and you shall not have an enemy." But does that mean that others will not see you as an enemy? No, I do not believe so. What it means is that your heart will be right with God. Your conscience will be clean. Christ made it clear that if we follow him the world will hate us.
We are commanded to love. LOVE. If we do not forgive others, Christ made it clear that he will not forgive us.