Tagged: “Enright Forgiveness Process Model”

My adult grandson keeps asking me for a loan of money. I give it, he does not pay it back, and then he says that he “forgives” himself for the lack of payment. He then asks me for more money. Is self-forgiveness really this kind of illusion?

While genuine self-forgiveness can be helpful when people break their own moral standard, in the case of false self-forgiveness, the person may “self-forgive” as an excuse to remain in inappropriate and hurtful behavior.  In such a case as your adult grandson, the false forgiveness might reduce guilt, freeing the person to continue the lack of payment with the resultant wasting of your funds.  I think it is time for a heart-to-heart talk with him.  He is fooling himself (but he is not fooling you) regarding what self-forgiveness actually is. In genuine self-forgiveness, there is an inner remorse, a genuine repentance to you, and reparation, in this case repaying the debt.

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I want to teach my 8-year-old child about forgiveness. I notice that you talk about the inter-relationship between forgiving and seeking fairness. Should I teach one of these moral virtues first (forgiveness first or justice first), or should I teach them at the same time?

The teaching of forgiveness already has embedded within it the theme of justice, particularly as the child sees story characters being treated unjustly and then forgiving.  So, the child, in being introduced to forgiveness, is also examining justice.  You can and should point this out; being fair with one another is very important; it is when justice breaks down that people get hurt and then need to forgive.  A more complicated issue is this: Should you teach a child to forgive and to seek justice at the same time?  The answer is yes. For example, if a child is being bullied by another child on the playground, the one being treated unjustly needs to protect the self by letting a teacher or the principal know of the injustice.  Forgiving the one who was bullying also is a good idea, but only if the child is ready and is not pressured into it.

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Which of the 20 units of your Process Model do you think hinders people the most?

I think a difficult unit is the decision to go ahead and forgive.  Because forgiveness may be new to people, they have a certain and understandable apprehension about starting what is unfamiliar to them.  Also, the idea of giving a gift of some kind to the one who was unjust can sound unfair and unreasonable. Yet, forgiveness, being centered in its deepest essence in mercy and love toward the other, is about such gift-giving.

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Thank you for answering my question about getting to know what forgiveness is. I have another question for you: Is it possible for most people to go through the forgiveness process (your 20-unit Process Model) in a genuine way and to the full extent of forgiving?

I again, will refer to Aristotle and his wisdom about becoming perfected in the moral virtues.  According to Aristotle’s observations, all people have the potential for perfection in the moral virtues, but we do not reach that highest level of perfection because we are imperfect beings.  This actually keeps life interesting.  As we strive to get better in forgiveness or justice or love, we always have room for more improvement.  Yes, we do get better with practice, but no matter what our age or experience, we can look forward to more insights, surprises, and growth.

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Podcast Series Focuses on How to Forgive

Tim Markle, a contributing writer and speaker for the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI), has teamed up with Stoughton Health to create a series of informational podcasts on the basics of forgiveness. 

Markle is a multi-talented and versatile professional who says his two major aspirations in life are helping individuals with developmental disabilities and educating people about the benefits of forgiveness. The podcasts are part of the hospital’s Stoughton Health Talk series hosted by Melanie Cole. The ever-expanding program lineup featuring Markle includes:

  • Forgiving Yourself ( 10 min. 42 sec.) – “You’d be surprised at the number of people who come to my course on forgiveness and realize that the person that they have the most resentment against is themselves.” Markle says. “This is something so many people are struggling with.”
  • Swimming in Unforgiveness (17 min. 58 sec.) – Markle discusses resentment, anger, and forgiveness, and how the world encourages us to deal with it as opposed to how we should deal with it.
  • Preparing to Forgive (9 min. 20 sec.) – “One of the core parts of forgiving is that there has been a hurt, somebody has violated our concept of right or wrong. They have hurt us. There is an actual injury that has been done” according to Markle. “One of the steps in forgiving is admitting that and acknowledging it. And then, looking at how has that hurt changed my life?”
  • Doing the Work of Forgiveness (10 min. 54 sec.) – “How do you actually go about forgiving someone?” Markle asks. “Using Dr. Enright’s forgiveness model, we talk about the path you can take and actions you make to really forgive.”
  • The Art of Forgiveness (11 min. 15 sec.)  Research has shown that by forgiving someone who has deeply hurt you, you gain positive health benefits by letting go of resentment and the urge to seek revenge. In this podcast, Markle describes how forgiveness creates a higher quality of life, a healthier body, and a more positive attitude.

The Stoughton Health Talk Podcast series reflects the growing popularity of podcasts. According to Edison Research and Triton Digital, more than 104 million Americans listen to podcasts on at least a monthly basis. Stoughton Health is one of more than 100 leading hospitals and health systems using the DoctorPodcasting production system. The facility is located about 20 miles east of Madison, WI.

For the past 11 years, Markle has been an Outreach Specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Waisman Center. His current roles there include: 1) Director of the Southern Regional Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs; 2) Family Discipline Coordinator for the WIsconsin Maternal and Child Health Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities–the WI LEND Program; and, 3) Senior Outreach Specialist with the Youth Health Transition Initiative and Genetic Systems Integration Hub.

In those various capacities, Markle works to improve the lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities and neurodegenerative diseases, some of life’s most challenging conditions. He also develops curriculum for a variety of audiences, provides training for both children and adults, and is a prolific speaker.

Markle has a Masters in Counseling (MC) from John Carroll University  (a Jesuit Catholic University in Cleveland, OH) and a Master of Arts in Christian Studies (MACS) from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School north of Chicago. He also studied at Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH), where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy.

As the capstone project for his MACS degree, Markle developed a six-week course that focused on how to forgive and why forgiveness is indispensable for dealing with anger, depression, anxiety and trauma.  The course is based on the ground-breaking work of Dr. Robert Enright, co-founder of the IFI. Stoughton Health, along with two local churches, has thus far hosted five sessions of the course. Markle is also the founder of a forgiveness education organization called Forgiveness Factor.


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