Author Archive: directorifi

In your book, “Forgiveness Is a Choice,” you start with a case study of Mary Ann. Would it have been easier for her just to divorce her husband, given that he was toxic, rather than forgiving and reconciling?

Because forgiveness is a choice, we have to be careful not to judge others for their particular decision. In Mary Ann’s case, there was a genuine reconciliation. Since reconciliation involves mutual trust, we can surmise that he made important changes. Mary Ann is happy now and so her decision to forgive and reconcile was wise.

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DOES PRACTICING THE VIRTUE OF FORGIVENESS MAKE YOU A MORE LOVING PERSON?

How many times have you heard or been asked the age-old question of: “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” While that problematic conundrum may never be adequately answered, researchers are confident they are making inroads into solving a similar enigma: “Which is first required to engender the other, forgiveness or love?”

A just-published research study by world-renowned forgiveness trailblazer Dr. Robert Enright and three of his associates helped provide some answers to that larger question by examining three related questions:

  • Do forgiveness and love develop together?
  • Does love or forgiveness predict the other at a later time?
  • Does one’s spirituality moderate the relationship between forgiveness and love?

The study, The Development of Forgiveness and Other-focused Love, was published last month in the online version of the Journal of Psychology and Theology, a peer-reviewed academic journal. It explores the development of forgiveness and other-focused love and examines the role of spirituality in the relationship between forgiveness and love.

As part of the study, participants from a large Christian university filled out measures of compassionate love, forgiveness, and dedication to God at Time 1 (T1) and measures of love and forgiveness after 4 weeks at Time 2 (T2). While love at T1 did not predict forgiveness at T1 or T2, forgiveness at T1 positively predicted love at T2, indicating that forgiveness temporally preceded love.

“Because the aim of the study was to see the natural unfolding of forgiveness and love over time, there was no treatment or intervention between T1 and T2,” according to study researcher Jican J. Kim, an Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the M.A. in Applied Psychology program at Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA. “The results, however, suggest that we may be able to help people grow in other-focused love by helping them to forgive. That’s a really dramatic revelation.”

Dr. Enright emphasized those findings by explaining that the study shows a possibility that as one grows in the virtue of forgiveness (toward a specific offender), the person might experience growth in love toward others in general, thus becoming a more loving person (through the act of forgiveness toward a particular offender).

“In theory, this idea seems to have merit because a forgiving person must be able to love the most unlovable person–one’s offender,” Dr. Enright added. “That kind of love, what we call agape love, might make loving others in general comparably easy.”

The evidence from this study, together with findings from other recent empirical studies, have only begun to examine the development and relationship between forgiveness and love—a relatively new focus for forgiveness researchers. Further research needs to be done to document in what ways one’s practice of forgiveness results in greater love toward others.

The two researchers agree, however that it is time to extend forgiveness interventions with adults to not only focus on psychological healing of the unjustly treated but also to investigate how forgiveness can promulgate the development of other-focused love.


“The fact that forgiveness can increase love at a later time tells me that love and forgiveness grow together and the practice of forgiveness is a concrete
expression of love that matures over time.”

Dr. Jichan J. Kim


Read the full report: The Development of Forgiveness and Other-focused Love

Research Report Authors:

  • Jiahe Wang Xu is a graduate student in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research interest is in forgiveness and the development of agape love.
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  • Jichan J. Kim (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison) an Associate Professor of Psychology and the Director of the M.A. in Applied Psychology program at Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA. His research focuses on interpersonal, self-, and divine forgiveness.
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  • Naomi Olmstead (M.A. Psychology, Liberty University) is a secondary educator at Lanakila Baptist School, Ewa Beach (island of O’ahu), Hawaii.
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  • Robert D. Enright holds the Aristotelian Professorship in Forgiveness Science within the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a founding board member of the International Forgiveness Institute in Madison, Wisconsin.

 

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Your Help Is Needed: New Research Project – You Could Win Cash or a Gift Card

You are invited to participate in a voluntary, confidential, first-of-its-kind research study about your driving behaviors and attitudes toward those who have deeply hurt you in the past and your current emotional state. Participation simply involves the completion of a number of simple-to-answer survey questionnaires.

“Those who participate in this study will be part of a select group whose survey answers will help us construct study data and develop interventions,” according to Jacqueline Song, Principal Researcher for the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI). “This project is likely to have life-saving implications that will stretch around the world but we need help to accomplish that.”


You are eligible to participate in the study if you can answer “Yes” to these five questions:

  • Are you age 21 or older?
  • Are you a resident of either the United States or the metro Manila area of the Philippines?
  • Do you have a valid driver’s license?
  • Can you read and understand English?
  • Do you have Internet access in order to complete the online surveys?

If you answered “Yes” to those questions, you can be one of our select participants and you could win a cash prize or a gift card.

Join us today! Click one of these links:

Six Reasons Why You Should Participate in This Research Project

  • US participants who complete the survey will be entered in a random drawing to win one of ten Amazon Gift Cards ($20 value each); Filipinos who complete the survey will be entered to win one of 20 cash prizes of 500 Philippine pesos.
  • You will have an opportunity to participate, at no cost and only if you choose to, in the interventions that are developed as a result of the research data acquired.
  • You will receive our immense appreciation for helping us help others.
  • You will acquire the self-satisfaction of demonstrating your compassion and willingness to help others around the world.
  • You will be a participant in a life-changing project designed to improve the human condition.
  • You will have an opportunity to spend some valuable time reflecting on your thoughts and feelings about yourself and others.

Final notes from the Principal Researcher:

  1. One of the survey questions asks you to share a personal experience of a deeply unjust event or pattern of unfavorable events that happened to you in the past;
  2. We expect that most participants will be able to complete the online survey in          60-90 minutes;
  3. To avoid distractions, we discourage use of a mobile phone to answer the online survey questions; and,
  4. Please share this invitation with others who meet the criteria listed above.
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Can I be perfectly fine without forgiving a person who acted unjustly against me? In other words, can the anger just vanish?

The answer depends on how serious the injustice was and who hurt you.  For example, suppose a colleague was supposed to meet you for a luncheon meeting.  You are busy that day, under pressure, and the colleague never shows up at the restaurant.  You may be annoyed, but the annoyance likely will fade in a day or less.  Now suppose that a loved one betrays you.  It hurts deeply.  This kind of emotional wound likely will not go away on its own.  It likely will need the surgery of the heart—-forgiveness.  Deep resentments rarely fade quickly.
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I think anger is normal.  You do not seem to think so.  Would you please clarify?

We have to make a distinction between healthy anger and unhealthy anger.  Healthy anger occurs as a short-term reaction to others’ unfairness.  The anger emerges because the one being treated unfairly knows that all people are worthy of respect, even oneself.  Unhealthy anger occurs when the initial reaction of healthy anger does not end, but intensifies and remains in the person’s heart for months or even many years.  At that point, the anger can have quite negative effects on one’s energy, ability to concentrate, and on one’s overall well-being.  Healthy anger is normal.  Unhealthy anger needs attention and amelioration.

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VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR RESEARCH PROJECT

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