Is forgiveness an unquestionably good thing? I think it is generally a good thing, for at least two reasons. Most obviously, it may benefit the forgiven one ("an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind," and all that). And - perhaps more importantly - it may also help the forgiver, since bottled up hatred and bitterness can't be good for you. Granting all that, I want to instead discuss some problematic aspects of this topic.
For one thing, holding forgiveness in high regard may risk creating an expectation of forgiveness that is unfair on the victims. Consider: forgiving is a part of "getting over" some harm or grievance. But even granting that it's a good thing when people can get over their problems and move on with their lives, still it may be callous and inappropriate to snap "get over it!" to someone whose wounds have not yet healed. "Forgive and forget" is merely a politer version of the same. In some cases, it may even serve to deny the legitimacy of the victim's anguish -- when surely they've been through enough without now also placing their reactions under the knife.
So we must beware perceptions of a "duty to forgive". Do you think that understanding forgiveness as supererogatory ("above and beyond the call of duty") is sufficient protection here?
A related problem, I think, is the practice of asking forgiveness. Contrition is all well and good, but to go that extra step and "beg forgiveness" creates a weird moral inversion. The victimizer now claims the moral high ground, and if their victim doesn't (or can't) oblige, then suddenly they're the villain (e.g. made to seem "un-Christian").
Does this mean it's always wrong to ask forgiveness? On the one hand, it seems awfully selfish to place such a burden on someone you've already harmed. But can contrition always be expressed so well by an apology alone? Is there something laudable about taking that extra step towards reconciliation? Other factors I've missed? Suggestions welcome...