I run a business and most of my employees are men. I was thinking of holding a forgiveness workshop in the firm, but I am concerned about the reactions I will get. I think you know what I mean. We have had “diversity training” and “sensitivity training” somewhat forced on us. Will the guys in particular think the forgiveness workshop is just one more imposition for them?

“Diversity and sensitivity training” sometimes makes employees angry because such training can imply that any given employee is not sensitive to others. When employees do not share such an implicit message, then attending a workshop like this can appear to be something forced on them.

A forgiveness workshop does not imply that a given employee is insensitive or disrespectful. Instead, the point of such a workshop is to help any employee who is resentful, with the possible consequence of coming to work with low morale, to overcome this sometimes debilitating resentment. Forgiveness presents a problem (excessive anger) and then presents a scientifically-tested solution (forgiving those who have been unjust to the employee).

If you think about it, a forgiveness workshop gives the exact opposite message of sensitivity training. It is the employee who is treated unjustly and who seeks a solution when we shine the light on forgiveness. In contrast, it is the employee who is implicitly judged as being the unjust one when he or she is asked to undergo diversity and sensitivity training.

If you approach the forgiveness workshop with an attitude of “Come, see what this is about; you can take it or leave it after you hear the message,” then your employees may be more receptive. Forgiveness is not forced on anyone, or at least it should not be. Forgiveness is each person’s individual choice to try or not. If the men in your company have some anger that is getting in their way, all you are doing is offering a way out of that anger.

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Categories: Ask Dr. Forgiveness