Chapter

How to Forgive

Solomon Schimmel

in Wounds Not Healed By Time

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780195128413
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834648 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195128419.003.0005
How to Forgive

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Discusses and illustrates three process models or psychotherapeutic approaches to teaching people how to forgive, developed by psychologists Robert Enright, Everett Worthington Jr., and Michael McCullough. These models emphasize the importance of cultivating the traits of empathy and of humility as essential to learning how to forgive. The chapter goes through each stage or phase of these models, and explains how they have been used in premarital, marital, and family counseling and therapy. While accepting most of the features of these approaches as valuable, the author critiques those aspects of them that presume certain Christian values which he considers to be morally or psychologically problematic, such as too little emphasis on justice and repentance in the models, and the goal of getting the victim to love the perpetrator of the injury to him, rather than merely to let go of the anger and resentment that he bears. The chapter concludes with a moving excerpt from the book “The Railway Man” by Eric Lomax, which describes the long psychological and spiritual journey of a British WW II POW who had been brutally tortured by his Japanese, towards forgiveness of the Japanese translator/interrogator who had been involved in the torture sessions and had spent all of the postwar years in remorse and repentance of, and vicarious restitution for his wartime misdeeds.

Keywords: Enright; family therapy; Lomax; marital counseling; McCullough; premarital counseling; psychotherapy; remorse and repentance; torture; Worthington Jr

Chapter.  13505 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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