I am beginning to realize that a huge obligation of anyone who writes about forgiveness or who is a mental health professional aiding people’s forgiveness is this: The writer or helper must take the time to deeply understand what forgiveness is and is not in its true sense, in its essence. This takes time, study, and reading works that show maturity and accuracy. I now am a bit discouraged because I do not see this happening nearly to the extent that it should be happening. What do you think?
I agree with you that scholars and practitioners have the “huge obligation” of taking the time to very deeply know what forgiveness is in its fullness, in its essence. I agree that there should be more time devoted to examining the “works that show maturity and accuracy” without reductionism or the search for continual innovation, which is so rewarded in academia. If a person comes up with a new twist on forgiveness (or any other variable) this is often seen as an innovation or an advance, when too often it splits the construct, reduces the construct, and therefore distorts the construct. For example, talking of “emotional forgiveness” as if this is a kind of forgiveness is confusing “kind” and “component,” a very large difference. Emotions are a component of forgiveness, that includes much more than this. Emotions by themselves are not a “kind” of forgiveness. If that were the case, then motivations, cognitions, and actions could be deleted and you still have forgiveness. Does this sound accurate to you when your goal is to understand the essence, the whole picture of what forgiveness is?