In work phase, “the injured individual may strive to understand the injurer’s childhood or put the injurious event in context by understanding the pressures the injurer was under at the time of the offense.” What if this is not possible, since the offended knows very little about the offender who’s not repenting and not responding? Would it be a helpful thing if the offended can only imagine but never know the real reason he/she was offended?

Besides what we call the “personal perspective” (in which the forgiver understands the emotional wounds inflicted on the offender when in childhood and perhaps at the time of the offense), our forgiveness therapy model includes the “global” and “cosmic” perspectives. So, you need not imagine what transpired for the offender in childhood or any other time if you do not know the answer. If what happened to you was very serious, you could speculate that the offender has been seriously emotionally wounded without imagining specifics. In addition, you can focus on your shared humanity in the “global” perspective (for example, you both, by virtue of being human, are special, unique, and irreplaceable). If you have a faith, you can take the “cosmic” perspective and see that both of you, for example, are made in the image and likeness of God.

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Categories: Ask Dr. Forgiveness


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