Tagged: “Forgiving”

Inaugural Partnership Achievement Award Presented to Tim Markle

Tim Markle, founder and director of Forgiveness Factor, has received a partnership achievement award for his years of commitment to helping others learn about the virtues of self-forgiveness and interpersonal forgiveness.

Markle was recognized with the “Healing Hearts Hero” award by the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI), a 27-year-old not-for-profit organization that has established forgiveness education programs in more than 30 countries around the world. It was presented at the International Educational Conference on Agape Love and Forgiveness in Madison, WI, that was attended by 160 educators from the US, Northern Ireland, Taiwan, Israel, Spain, and the Philippines on July 19-20.

Tim Markle, a forgiveness advocate and founder of Forgiveness Factor, is the first recipient of the IFI’s prestigious “Healing Hearts Hero” award.

For the past 13 years, Markle has been an Outreach Specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Waisman Center where his numerous titles include Director of the Southern Regional Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs. 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 uses those same management and speaking skills to pursue his secondary passion of “educating people about the benefits of forgiveness”–the passion that earned him the Healing Hearts Hero award. In addition to teaching forgiveness techniques at workshops and conferences throughout the Midwest, Markle has teamed up with Stoughton Health to create a series of popular informational podcasts on the basics of forgiveness (i.e., “Forgiving Yourself” and “The Art of Forgiveness”). He also regularly sends out short written Forgiveness Boosts to his subscribers.

Through radio station Life 102.5FM in Madison, Markle has produced more than 50 short (2-4 minutes each) “Forgiveness Audio Boosts” that the station has been broadcasting since March 2021.

Markle even developed a six-week course that focuses 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 scientific forgiveness research work of Dr. Robert Enright, co-founder of the IFI and an educational psychologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Tim is a contributing writer for the IFI and the most prolific speaker we have for our Speaker’s Bureau service,” according to Dr. Enright “No one deserves this award more because Tim is not only one of our strongest forgiveness advocates, but he has created his own forgiveness education organization called Forgiveness Factor so he can even better broadcast his faith in forgiveness.”

The Toledo (Ohio) native has a BA degree in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy from Bowling Green State University (BGSU, Bowling Green, Ohio), a Masters in Counseling (MC) from John Carroll University  (Cleveland, OH) and a Master of Arts in Christian Studies (MACS) from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School north of Chicago. He and his wife Tracy have two adult children and live in Stoughton, 20 miles east of Madison, WI.

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I hear such expressions as “State and Trait Forgiveness” and “Specific Forgiveness vs. Dispositional Forgiveness.”  Are there really different forms of forgiving?

I think this dichotomizing of forgiving is a philosophical error.  “State” forgiveness refers to individual people forgiving specific people who have hurt them.  “Trait” forgiveness refers to individual people having a general tendency to forgive many other people for many different offenses.  Aristotle reminds us that as each person grows in any moral virtue through practice (and forgiveness is one of those moral virtues), then there is a tendency to develop a love of that virtue.  As the person develops this love of forgiveness then there is a tendency to forgive others whenever there is an injustice.  So, “Trait” or “Dispositional” forgiving occurs when a person first has a lot of practice with specific forgiving toward specific people.  Such a person eventually shows a maturity in how this now is understood, valued, and expressed.  Forgiveness should not be dichotomized into “State and Trait” forgiveness.  Instead, we should see these as being on a continuum, with the love of the virtue appearing after a period of struggle and time.

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I have been reading some of the social scientific literature on forgiveness and I am a bit confused.  I see a lot of different definitions of forgiveness out there.  Is forgiveness more than one thing?

To forgive another is a moral virtue of being good to those who are not good to you.  I am going to give you a little philosophy here based on Aristotle.  He made the distinction between what he called the Essence of any moral virtue and the Existence of that virtue.  Essence asks this question: What is the objective meaning of forgiveness that is consistent across cultures and across historical time?  Existence asks this question: How does the fundamental sense of forgiveness (that is fixed across cultures and historical time) have nuances for each person and within different cultures?  So, there is a fixed definition of what forgiveness is (its Essence) and yet it can behaviorally vary according to each person’s ability to forgive and according to different cultural norms for expressing forgiveness (its Existence).  The differences in the definition of forgiveness (its Essence) within the social scientific literature is caused by different researchers having different views of forgiveness (including misunderstandings of what forgiveness is) and not something inherent within forgiveness itself.

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Forgiveness Research Goes Viral

Surging world-wide interest in the virtue of forgiveness was vividly demonstrated this week when the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI) released updated distribution totals for its prized Forgiveness Research Tools.

In just the past 17 months, the IFI has fulfilled requests for 717 copies of its Forgiveness Research Tools–requests received from individuals and research organizations in 41 countries and 43 US states plus the District of Columbia. The IFI began offering the tools for free on April 1, 2021.

The forgiveness tools were developed by IFI co-founder Dr. Robert Enright and his associates through the Enright Forgiveness Lab that he established at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Enright has validated those scientific measuring tools and used them in more than 50 forgiveness research projects he has conducted at locations around the world since 1993.

By far the most popular and most requested forgiveness tool (223 requests) is the Enright
Self-Forgiveness Inventory
(ESFI
) that “captures the Aristotelian view of forgiveness as a moral virtue practiced toward the self.” According to Dr. Enright, the tool is based on the premise that “self-forgiveness is a moral virtue, not a psychological technique.”

Close behind in requests (201) is the Enright Forgiveness Inventory-30 (EFI-30)—a shortened version of the Enright Forgiveness Inventory for Adults that has become the interpersonal forgiveness measure tool of choice for research professionals since its development in 1995.

Two other forgiveness tools developed by Dr. Enright are also extremely popular:

  • The Enright Forgiveness Inventory for Children—an objective measure of the degree to which one person forgives another who has hurt him or her deeply and unfairly (125 requests); and,
  • The Enright Group Forgiveness Inventory—a newly-developed research tool that takes forgiveness from its traditional focus on individuals to a higher magnitude by concentrating on group forgiveness—an area of intervention that has dramatic implications for its ability to enhance peace efforts in the world (109 requests).

Dr. Enright is a licensed psychologist and an educational psychology professor at UW-Madison who pioneered the scientific study of forgiveness. He wrote the first scientific journal article on person-to-person forgiveness, is often introduced as “the father of forgiveness research,” and has been labeled “the forgiveness trailblazer” by Time magazine.

In 2019, Dr. Enright received the international Expanded Reason Award from the Universidad Francisco de Vitoria and the Vatican Foundation Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI and he holds the Aristotelian Professorship in Forgiveness Science (2020) from UW-Madison. Earlier this year he was awarded the 2022 American Psychological Foundation Gold Medal Award for Impact in Psychology. His work integrates psychology, philosophy, and psychotherapeutic disciplines.

Dr. Enright’s 37-year quest to harness what he calls “the power of forgiveness” has resulted in the development of curriculum guides for students at each level from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade that are now being used in more than 30 countries around the world.

His groundbreaking clinical manual Forgiveness Therapy, developed with psychiatrist Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons through the American Psychological Association, is the basis for the world’s first online forgiveness education course for psychologists, social workers, nurses, and other professional counselors. It is offered exclusively through the IFI.

“When I first began exploring the virtue of forgiveness, I was unable to find a single scientific journal article on forgiveness that had been published anywhere in the world,” Dr. Enright recalls. “Today there are literally hundreds of such articles and based on the demand for our research tools, that number will soon be growing exponentially.”

Dr. Enright’s forgiveness research tools are available free upon request at the International Forgiveness Institute website: internationalforgiveness.com or via email: director@internationalforgiveness.com.

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