How long does it take to forgive someone for a serious offense? I was physically abused by my father when I was a child. It is time to rid myself of this and to have a better relationship with my aging father.

The amount of time will vary depending on a number of important issues such as:

1. how long ago the injustice happened (very recent and deep wounds are harder to forgive for most people);

2. how much practice a person has had in forgiving (the more the better);

3. how well one knows the pathway to forgiveness;

4. how motivated one is to forgive; and,

5. how deeply one is hurt (the deeper the hurt, the more time that is needed).

When we worked with incest survivors for one hour a week, it took on the average 14 months for most to deeply forgive. We find that it takes at least 12 weeks of hard work before a person begins to say that he or she has forgiven someone for a serious injustice.

So, be prepared for some challenging work, take breaks, and live your normal life as you do this. You may find some genuine relief in a few months. This should benefit not only you but also your father and your family.

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Categories: Ask Dr. Forgiveness