I am kind of confused by your call for taking the perspective of the one who wounded me.  If I “step inside the shoes” of this person by inducing empathy, might this lead to my justifying this person’s behavior?  Aren’t I just giving this person a “way out” by such an approach?

Actually, no, this approach should not lead to you excusing the other person’s behavior.  This is the case because, in our Process Model of Forgiveness, we start by seeing the other person’s injustice and we label that injustice as wrong.  So, when we take the other’s perspective, we are doing this as we acknowledge that what the other did was wrong, is wrong, and always will be wrong.  If we did not do that, then yes, there could be a misunderstanding by the forgiver that what the other did was not so bad under the circumstances.  This is why it is very important, early in forgiving, to label the injustice as unfair and explain to the forgiver that forgiveness does not include an excusing of this behavior.  Our response in forgiving is to change our view of the person without changing the understanding of what happened to us.

Please follow and like us:
Categories: Ask Dr. ForgivenessTags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *