If someone has frustrated and offended me and I choose silence because I am afraid to choose dialogue and confront him, is this actually forgiveness on my part? Is it true forgiveness?
First, do you commit to doing no harm to the other? If yes, this is the beginning of forgiving. Do you see the inherent worth in the other, not because of what was done, but in spite of that? This, too, is part of forgiving. Do you wish the other well? This is part of forgiving as the late Lewis Smedes reminded us in his book, Forgive and Forget. The silence itself is not necessarily forgiving. Why? I can be silent with hatred in my heart. To forgive is to have a change of heart toward the offending person (as the philosopher Joanna North said in the book, Exploring Forgiveness, 1998).