You talk about “forgiving communities.” What are some of the dangers in introducing such communities too soon in the home?

Because forgiveness is a moral virtue, it is not a dangerous idea or action. ??What is dangerous is the all-too-human trappings surrounding forgiveness. Some of these dangers include: 1) forcing children to forgive rather than helping them to be drawn in love to it; 2) misunderstanding forgiveness as reconciliation so that children are not protected as they think they have to re-enter unhealthy interactions, such as with those who bully them; 3) so over-emphasizing forgiveness that children put aside the quest for justice; and 4) introducing forgiveness-as-a-forgiving community out of grim obligation so that children see your frustration with the idea of forgiveness.

If you avoid these traps and approach forgiveness with a loving heart, the family should benefit. ??We recommend what we call “The Family Forgiveness Gathering” in which you discuss (once a week for about 15 minutes) the themes of hurt and mercy which occurred that week for each person (who wishes to share this).

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Categories: Ask Dr. Forgiveness


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