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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Dr. Enright and Forgiveness

A propos this blog, I received a dispatch from Zenit regarding an interview with a psychologist about forgiveness. Please read this article posted at A Glitch In Time. In last Sunday's homily on the theme of forgiveness, I pointed out three steps in forgiving:

1. Stop hating the offending person
2. Forget the reason for the hatred
3. Love the offender

These three steps corresponded to the process that arouses hatred/anger towards an offender:

1. An offense is made that is seen as an attack towards one; anger is aroused.
2. One remembers the offense and lets it simmer; anger becomes hatred.
3. When the offender is thus hated, one begins to "objectify" him.

Thus, in the process thus described, one has not really forgiven the other person unless one makes the step to love him, that is, to treat him once more as a person. In the Enright interview, the psychologist is quoted as he describes the process he uses in forgiveness therapy:

for those who cannot forgive, I ask, “Are you ready to explore what forgiveness is and is not?” Such a question does not ask a person to forgive, but instead to examine what forgiveness is.
If a person has examined the dimensions of forgiveness, I ask, “Are you ready to examine forgiveness in its most basic form toward the one who hurt you? Are you willing to try to do no harm toward that person?” Notice that this question does not ask the person to love the offender, but to refrain from the negative, to refrain from harming even in subtle ways.
Next comes the question “Do you wish the person well?” Notice that this shifts the focus to the positive, toward at least a wishing, if not a deliberate acting toward, wellness in the other person.
All of these questions are intended to move the offended person a little closer to love. If a person still refuses to forgive, we must realize that their emphatic “no” today is not necessarily the final word. That person may change tomorrow. (More here)

Posted by bible student at 11:58 PM
Edited on: Wednesday, September 14, 2005 12:22 AM
Categories: Devotional, New Testament