We have spent the last four weeks looking at the Basics of Forgiveness. Now it is time to step back and look at the process. Dr. Enright's model offers a 20 step, detailed process for forgiveness. He also recently wrote a condensed version in the book 8 Keys to Forgiveness. Both are based on the four phases of forgiveness (which I trust you will recognize if you have been following along the last four weeks).
Discovering One's Anger (Uncovering Phase)
We cannot move forward until we take a look back and uncover the source of our hurt and pain.We begin to be honest about our pain, honest about the way we are interacting with the world. We begin to discover, and admit, that the hurt was unjust. We are careful not to wallow or to get stuck there, but use the discovery and truthful acceptance of the unjust injury as a jumping off point for the next phase. In my class, I use a "Who hurt me table" based on Dr. Enright's work to help determine who (unjustly) caused the hurt, how much it hurt and how much it effects my life today.
Deciding to Forgiven (Decision Phase)
We look at how we have been dealing with our hurt and our pain and decide it is not working. We need to find a new way to process, a new way to deal. We come to realize the amount of energy we are spending on resentments is being spent poorly. We decide to consider and move forward in trying forgiveness. We start by deciding to STOP entertaining our thoughts and desires of revenge against the one who hurt us.
We start to dig into changing the way we think, feel and act. We might look deeper into the offender's life and try to understand them better. We might consider what our faith background says about ALL people and about forgiveness. We begin to lay aside our assumptions and beliefs about the person and look at them with new eyes, seeing them in a new way. This may result in a softening of our heart toward them and we may find a genuine feeling of empathy for the person. We acknowledge the hurt and decide to stop spreading it around our lives. We decide to offer a gift of mercy, love and compassion to the person who hurt us, without any expectation of reciprocity from them.
In the final stage we look back and see how we have grown through the process. We might look at what we have learned and how that can help others. We might find new passion and focus now that the distractions of resentment are falling away. We may decide that we can embark on a journey to forgive another. We might decide to incorporate the ideas behind forgiveness into our everyday lives.
Forgiveness Factor Home
If you are looking for a place to dig into forgiveness, ask Dr. Enright a question, become part of the "Drive For Others' Lives" campaign, read a cool blog, or see what books Dr. Enright has written, please check out the International Forgiveness Institute at https://internationalforgiveness.com/.
If you would like to subscribe to the Forgiveness Factor Community and receive a forgiveness boost each week, please go to https://mailchi.mp/b441e8770b36/forgivenessfactorcommunity