Tagged: “Enright Forgiveness Process Model”

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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Why do you think that people just assume that you can be part of their life again once you forgive them?  To be honest, this kind of assumption annoys me.

I think people assume that they can be part of your life again, once you forgive them, because they are equating forgiving with reconciling.  As you probably know, one can forgive and not reconcile, especially when the offending other person refuses to change unjust and hurtful behavior.

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Finding Hope in the Midst of Trauma

Editor’s Note: This blog post was written by Dr. Suzanne Freedman, Educational Psychology Professor at the University of Northern Iowa, and is reposted with the permission of both the author and of Darlene J. Harris, creator of the website “And He Restoreth My Soul Project” where the blog originally appeared on May 1, 2022.

I automatically connect hope to my work on the topic of interpersonal forgiveness as an approach to healing from a deep, personal and unfair hurt. In this blog post, I will discuss why I believe choosing to forgive can offer individuals who have experienced the trauma of child abuse or sexual assault hope of healing and the power to move beyond their abuse.

“Forgiveness offers a way to heal, and have hope for the future, while acknowledging what happened was wrong, unfair, and extremely hurtful,” according to Dr. Suzanne Freedman, shown here during a research project with 5th grade students.

It is normal and natural to feel angry, and hopeless as a result of childhood or sexual assault trauma and one has a right to these feelings for experiencing something no individual should have to go through. If one believes that healing is impossible and/or there is nothing that can change their current attitude, feelings, and thoughts toward their abuser, it is likely they will feel despair and quite hopeless. Forgiveness offers an option for healing that allows one to hope and have faith in a better future, while also acknowledging that the abuse they experienced was unfair, deeply hurtful and unacceptable.


“I am often asked ‘Why forgive?’ and my response is always the same, ‘What’s the alternative?’
Although forgiveness cannot undo the injury or damage caused by the injury, it allows us to move forward in our lives without the negative effects of all-consuming anger, hatred, and resentment.
It offers a way to heal and have hope for the future.”

Dr. Suzanne Freedman


Hope is believing that things will get better even if they don’t feel that way now. Hope is making the decision to forgive and committing to the process, even if one does not feel the forgiveness in their heart yet. Knowing that one is strong enough to move forward in their own healing, at their own pace increases feelings of hope for the future and leads to greater emotional and physical well-being.

Hope isn’t just nice to have, at times it is essential for survival in unbearable situations. Without hope, the will to live can diminish. One may stop caring about themselves and others, and their beliefs toward achieving a good life decrease. Hope, although scary, is directly related to a person’s belief that they can cope and move beyond the abuse or trauma they have endured.

Read the rest of Dr. Freedman’s full blog at “Finding Hope in the Midst of Trauma.”


Dr. Suzanne Freedman is a Professor in the Educational Psychology Department at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Her dissertation on forgiveness with incest survivors at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was a landmark study that was published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. She will be a speaker at the July 19-20, 2022, International Educational Conference on Agape Love and Forgiveness in Madison, WI.

Darlene J. Harris is a sought-after speaker, author of And He Restoreth My Soul (an anthology and resource guide on sexual violence), and the developer/leader of workshops and retreats for women. She writes primarily on the topics of sexual abuse and molestation because by the age of 18 she had been raped twice. “I don’t want anyone to hurt like I did,” is the mantra that drives her. Read her true-life story in her own words.

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The Missing Piece to the Peace Puzzle

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