I am thinking that forgiveness is basically a fancy way of simply practicing relaxation training when I think about my mom, who has been really unkind to me. So, is that what forgiveness basically is—relaxing when thinking about the one who hurt me so that I am no longer mad?

Although relaxation and forgiveness can reduce angry feelings in a person, the two are substantially different. You can be relaxed and still hate a person. When you forgive, you may be relaxed or you might not be relaxed. Yet, when you forgive, you definitely are not hating those who have been unfair to you. Forgiveness is a moral response of goodness whereas relaxation is morally neutral. So, relaxation and forgiveness cannot be synonymous.

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Categories: Ask Dr. Forgiveness