The power of forgiveness

May 29, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | Filed in: journalism.

Anyone who is human and social has experienced the pain of being offended or hurt deeply and the inevitable sequence of anger or even hatred toward the person responsible.

It seems that the best we can do in those situations is to turn it aside and cut off contact by “unfriending” that person or cutting off all contact.

But what about forgiveness? Is that an option?

Nathaniel Wade, a professor of psychology at Iowa State University, examines the concept of forgiveness in a long essay for  Aeon magazine. He is interested in the psychology of forgiveness and religiaon, particularly as they are applied in counseling and therapy settings, and he writes:

Early work by Worthington and myself, and by others, identified what forgiveness was not. Robert Enright at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the other pioneer in the psychology of forgiveness, was instrumental in this work. For example, he and his colleagues distinguished between forgiveness and condoning, excusing or overlooking an offence. Source: Forgiveness therapy can free you from the hurts of the past | Aeon Essays

Wade delves deeply into forgiveness, what it is and what it isn’t, and how to achieve it through what he and his colleagues call “forgiveness therapy.”

This is an interesting and informative essay, particularly because forgiveness does not seem to be a popular or approved response in our civic society. Maybe we should think a little more about using it.

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