Tagged: “forgiveness”

Five different people as a group have hurt me.  Do you recommend that I forgive one at a time or do I forgive them as a group?

Have the people played different roles in this group?  For example, was one the leader who started to hurt you and perhaps encouraged others to join?  If so, you probably should forgive one at a time.  I would recommend that you rate the degree of hurt that each person gave to you and start with the one who hurt you the least.  Once you think you have completed the forgiveness process with that person, move up the list to the next person.  Eventually, you will reach the one who has hurt you the most and you will be well-practiced in the process of forgiveness.

Learn more at How to Forgive.

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Is the gift-giving to an offending other person a way to prove to yourself that you, indeed, have forgiven?

The gift-giving in its essence is not for the forgiver, but instead is for the one forgiven.  Forgiveness as a moral virtue is concerned with goodness and that goodness flows out of the forgiver to the forgiven.  While the gift-giving can be a sign to you that you have forgiven, that is not its primary function.  The primary function is to do good to the other as a moral act in and of itself.

Learn more about what forgiveness is and is not at What Is Forgiveness?

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When I forgive my former boyfriend, I find that I tend to make excuses for his behavior.  I don’t like it when I see that I am making excuses.  How do I avoid this?

There is a big difference between what we call **reframing** a person’s actions and excusing those actions.  For example, if you see that he was under pressure and displaced his anger onto you, you can forgive while at the same time acknowledging that he should not have treated you this way.  An excuse is to say that displacing anger is ok, acceptable, or not morally wrong.  When you forgive and start to reframe whom the other person is, try to keep in mind that the behavior still is not fair.  Your separating a person and his actions may help you to avoid excusing the actions as you forgive the person.

Learn more at How to Forgive.

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Is there such a thing as Political Forgiveness, for example, to handle border disputes?

Yes, and this is sometimes called group forgiveness.  Group forgiveness is different from one person forgiving another.  In the latter, a person can change feeling, thoughts, and behaviors toward an offending other.  Groups do not have feeling and thoughts (individuals within groups have the feeling and thoughts).  So, only actions are part of group forgiveness such as proclamations of forgiveness or establishing norms within the group to try to be kind toward the other group as justice is pursued.

Here is the abstract of a journal article on this issue:

Enright, R.D., Lee, Y.R., Hirshberg, M.J., Litts, B.K., Schirmer, E.B., Irwin, A.J., Klatt, J., Hunt, J., & Song, J.Y. (2016).  Examining group forgiveness: Conceptual and empirical issues.  Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 22, 153-162.

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Can a person get rid of anger permanently simply by letting it out or is forgiveness necessary to be rid of anger?

The answer depends on the level of injustice and the depth of the anger.  If the other was insensitive without being cruel, then your expressing an appropriate, measured level of anger may take care of the issue.  On the other hand, if you have been treated very unfairly and your anger is deep, then catharsis (letting out the anger) may not be effective.  Forgiveness then may be required to rid yourself of the anger.  Please keep in mind that catharsis by itself, when the problem is serious and the anger is deep, actually can increase the anger and lead to a pattern of being angry and expressing it.  Catharsis then needs forgiveness to deal in a healthy way with the anger.

Learn more at How to Forgive.

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