Tagged: “Enright Forgiveness Process Model”

You tend to de-couple forgiving and reconciling, but to me both forgiving and reconciling are more of a complete package than one or the other.  What do you think?

Yes, if a person can forgive and then reconcile with the other, this is more complete in terms of the relationship than forgiving alone. Yet sometimes we have no choice but to only forgive because the other refuses to change hurtful behavior.  So, being able to forgive and to reconcile constitute a more ideal situation, but forgiving by itself still is very important because this forgiving can set you free from resentment, which could last for the rest of your life.

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If I choose not to forgive, do you think my happiness in the future might be ok if my situation changes for the better?

While the changed situation can lead to more happiness (if the new situation gives you satisfaction or even joy), your degree of happiness might be compromised by resentment in the heart if you were treated deeply unjustly and have not reduced that resentment.  Forgiving can reduce or even eliminate that resentment, opening you to increased happiness in the future.  So, an improved situation and forgiving others for past injustices both can contribute to your happiness.

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What if, when I forgive, I am not as happy as I was before the person treated me unfairly.  Then might it be the case that I have not actually forgiven?

When we are treated unfairly by others we sometimes lose something, such as a relationship or we leave our job.  This can lead to unhappiness in the short-term.  This unhappiness does not mean that you are unforgiving.  It means that you have a difficult situation to confront.  The unhappiness in this case is not because of unforgiveness.  Your forgiveness, even if it is to a small degree right now, may help you achieve happiness in the future as you adjust to the new situation.

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As a follow-up, do I have to engage in what you call “deep forgiving” to say that I actually forgive?

Actually, no, you do not have to engage in what I called “deep forgiving” (in my answer to your most recent question) for you to be forgiving.  We can forgive to lesser and greater degrees.  If you wish the other well, but you still have anger and are not ready to give a gift of some kind to the other person, you still are forgiving.  There is room to keep growing in the moral virtue of forgiveness and so more practice may prove to be worthwhile for you.

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If I forgive but do not reconcile, would you say that I truly have forgiven?

Reconciliation is not a necessary condition to forgive.  Yet, if you do not reconcile, whether you have truly forgiven includes such issues as these: Do you wish the other person well?  Do you see the worth and human dignity of the person?  Do you have a softened heart toward the person?  Are you willing to offer an unconditional gift of some kind to the other (doing so as an end in and of itself rather than for a reward)?  All of these issues are part of deep forgiving.

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