Tagged: “Barriers to Forgiveness”

How important is it for me to follow exactly your 20 steps in your Process Model of Forgiveness?

This process model was not constructed to be a rigid model in which you have to follow the sequence in the exact order.  Some of the units will be irrelevant for you and so you can skip them.  Sometimes, as you are near the end of the forgiveness process, your anger re-emerges.  At that point it may be best to cycle back to the earlier units to once again examine and confront your anger.

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Is it harder to forgive someone who is frequently angry versus someone else who is not this way?

I do think it may be more difficult to forgive someone who is “frequently angry” and expresses that anger consistently to you.  You may have to forgive on a daily basis if you are in regular contact with a person who is continuously angry.  After you have forgiven to a deep enough level so that you can approach, in a civil way, this person, then it may be time to gently ask for justice.  Part of justice is to ask this person, if you feel safe with this, to begin working on the anger so that you are not hurt by it.

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I am angry at my partner, but the anger is not deep.  I am more annoyed than really bothered.  If I had to put a number on my anger from 1 to 10, I would give it a 3.  Do you think I need to forgive, given that my anger is not intense?

There are different reasons to forgive.  You could forgive for your own emotional well-being.  You could forgive, on a higher moral level, for the good of the other and the good of the relationship.  It does not appear that you need to forgive for your own emotional well-being, given how low your anger is.  Therefore, you still can forgive so that the other feels better, so that you communicate better together, and so that your relationship becomes stronger.

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Apart from the idea that we are all made in the image and likeness of God, how can non-believers see the worth in other people?

Aristotle makes a distinction between potentiality and actuality.  If it is the case that all people have free will, then even when people behave badly, then they each have the potential to change, to actualize that potential and become better people to others.  According to the philosopher Kant, all people are ends in and of themselves and so should be treated as such.  The philosopher, Margaret Holmgren, argued for the position that all people, based on Kant’s idea, are worthy of respect.  So, there is room in different philosophies for the view that all people have worth.

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In your book, Forgiveness Is a Choice, you state that one purpose of forgiving is being open to reconciling with the other person.  I am assuming that you mean a receptivity to reconcile rather than an actual reconciliation as part of forgiving.  Is this correct?

Yes, that is correct.  As people forgive, they usually are open to reconciliation if and only if the other, who has been deeply hurtful, has changed.  So, the receptivity is more of an internal response at first, a waiting to see how the other changes.

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The Missing Piece to the Peace Puzzle