Well said Terry.
In order to forgive, one must be aware of how they were offended/wronged/violated, etc. This is often the "sifting" process that you described.
The other aspect of forgiveness, at least Biblical forgiveness, is that we must go to the person who offended and confront them. As many of you know, Matthew 18 is one place where this idea is developed in the Bible.
We do not ever excuse abuse. The abuser never gets a pass, especially when they won't admit their fault. Forgiveness and excusing, or tolerance, is quite different.
There is a great pair of articles on this at:
] and [www.withchrist.org