You who advocate for Forgiveness Therapy or forgiveness education with students ask way too much of forgivers. You ask them to bear the burden of their own healing and that is not fair. They already have been hurt so why ask them now to struggle after forgiveness? Two burdens are theirs: the original offense and now Forgiveness Therapy.

Thank you for the critique of forgiveness interventions. Your argument has an error embedded within it. It is not at all an added and unnecessary burden to help a person, whose heart is broken, to forgive. Take a physical analogy to make the point clear. Suppose James pushes Jeremy to the ground, dislocating his shoulder. Is it unwise now to ask Jeremy to enter into a rehabilitation process to repair the shoulder? Is it an added burden we should never ask because he is hurting? It would seem that the unfairness lies, not in the encouraging of medical treatment, but the reverse—discouraging it because it will be rigorous and painful. Is it not the same with Forgiveness Therapy for those who choose it? The heart is broken, yes, because of the original unfairness. If the person chooses rehab of the heart—Forgiveness Therapy—isn’t this repair good even though rigorous and painful? The misconception might keep people from rehab of the heart and so it needs to be challenged.

[This kind of question and answer appeared in my Psychology Today blog. I repost the question and answer here because this issue continues to come up.]

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