Forgiveness and Reconciliation Critique Research Paper

September 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Though psychologists view forgiveness and reconciliation as being different entities, religious theologians particularly Christians view them as being synonymous. As a result, this research paper is a critique of the article ‘Forgiveness and Reconciliation: the Differing Perspectives of Psychologists and Christian Theologians’ by Nathan R. Frise, Mark R. McMinn, in the journal ‘Psychology and Theology’.

The aim of this article is to bring out different views expressed by Christian theologians and psychologists concerning the issue of forgiveness and reconciliation. However, the article’s intention is not suggesting which discipline is right, or the one that is wrong. Its intention is just identifying existing differences between the two schools of thoughts, with the aim of promoting scholarly dialogue that is very integrative concerning the issues of forgiveness and reconciliation (Frise & McMinn 2010).

According to Zeno Jonahs, a catholic priest, forgiveness is considered as restoring love bondage as well as communion in case of a conflict or rapture. As a result, reconciliation is a factor purposing forgiveness. In case of forgiveness, then individuals should be ready for reconciliation.

He defines reconciliation as being an action of forgiveness. When combined, reconciliation and forgiveness, the result is a very strong relationship, which at the end results to better understanding of one another, hence leading to an intimacy bond that can be considered as being genuine (Zeno, 2011).

Those individuals, who fail to put reconciliation into practice, are pretenders, because, they fail putting forgiveness into practice. Meek and McMinn (1997) insists that, in case someone wrongs you and is still alive or dead, it means nothing. You should just forgive him/her and even pray for those who have wronged you. Individuals should look at what makes them not to forgive and reconcile, it is just fear towards the other. However, it is good to fulfill the promise of forgiveness by reconciling.

However, Govier (2002) argued that, though forgiveness and reconciliation are linked, but they are different. He defines reconciliation as a way of restoring trust in a relation that had ruptured. In this act, Govier insists that the two people have to be involved apart from contributing to a particular solution.

On the other hand, forgiveness is only given by the party which was wronged. He insists that, forgiveness and reconciliation mean two different things, as after forgiveness, it is not a must that reconciliation should follow. In addition, even in the absence of reconciliation, forgiveness alone is very important as it releases the pain of feeling bitter.

Tavuchis, (1991) states that, it does not imply that after reconciliation, forgiveness will occur, or has occurred. People involved in particular action might just assume that such a thing didn’t happen. Implying that, though the conflict happened, but it does not affect their connections.

This depends on the parties capabilities in handling matters like this. This method is very helpful particularly in avoiding other credible relations. Nevertheless, this method depends on the fact that as time goes healing occurs. However the problem is, in case of a similar act, memories and pains will just be reactivated automatically. Hence Jones, (1995) adopts the issue of forgiveness describing it as being a lifestyle which people have to consider before reconciling.

The ethical aspects of the Study

The author of this article didn’t deceive his respondents in away as they have not stated other functions of this research apart from the one stated. In safeguarding the participants, the researcher sent them research invitations through emails, to ask for their consent to participate in this research.

This ensured that participants are aware of what they intend to participate in. In addition, by sending personally addressed emails, and using the link to access the questionnaire, the researcher was trying to ensure information confidentially, as well as participants’ privacy. This in one way or the other was respecting respondents’ right, as no unauthorized person will access personal information filled in the questionnaire. In addition, the researcher ensured that, data being collected was relevant to the research topic alone.

According to Meeker William and Luis “confidentiality refers to better ways through which respondents’ data/information will be handled, managed or disseminated as part of research” (Meeker, & Luis). In doing this, the researcher ensured that, the hyperlink provided provides enough confidentiality throughout the research.

Another step was through anonymity. The names of respondents remain unknown. In the questionnaire, the researcher didn’t request respondents to indicate their names. In addition, when reporting results or even discussing them, the researcher ensured that there is no name appearing.

In handling informed consent, the researcher sent research invitation emails to intended individuals. In doing so, those who replied to mails meant that they were ready to take part in the researcher and were aware of what they were going to do. In addition the personally addressed emails described the study and requested them to participate.

In addition this is the reason as to why debriefing participants was of great significance. However, in the procedure and methodology, the researcher has not stated whether the institutional review committee or any other ethics review committee approved the research process. During participant selection, there was neither coercive nor undue influence. This is because, the researcher choose participants depending on research questions.

Strength and Limitations of the Study

Cost and time effectiveness; due to the fact that the study was based on the internet survey, there was no need of moving from place to the other in the name of distributing as well as collecting questionnaires. As a result, the cost of transport and time were saved.

Availability of literature; as stated in the literature though the area of forgiveness is new in the field of psychology, but there is enough literature to cover the study. So the topic is new, but with the availability of literature, we are assured that there are enough materials for the study.

With this assurance, then there is understanding that worthwhile work was done in this study. In addition, availability of literature helped the researcher of this study to choose the best content, methodology as well as conclusions of other researchers. With this in mind, the researcher understood the contexts of his specific objectives.

Many researchable topics; due to the fact that the forgiveness topic is new in the field of psychology, it means that there is still many specific objectives for the researcher to research on. This implies that, the area is still young; as a result, the field has not yet been exploited fully. This gives study room for further studies.

On the other hand, there are also limitations, for instance need for experts. For this study to be carried out online, hyperlinks have to be created, and this needs experts in web design or even technology, who might not be found easily, and if found, they might charge more money. In dealing with this the researcher should learn hyperlink developing.

Target groups; due to the fact that the survey was online, it means that only those who can access computers and internet were selected in the sample, while those lacking the opportunity to access such facilities were left. In dealing with this limitation, the researcher would have also distributed questionnaires to individuals having no access to computers and internet. Also lay men were ignored in the study only experts and academicians were considered.

Correlation findings; since this study entails relating factors, it is very difficult for any variable to be predicted by the use of another variable. This study ignores casual relations existing between variables. In dealing with this the research should ensure that some variables are controlled just like what happens in experimental kind of research where we have controls to determine third factors affecting the relation of variables.

In this study, the researcher ensured that interpretations are consistent with results. This is because, through interpretation, the author explained patterns as well as trends showed by results. In supporting his interpretations the researcher related his data with scientific ideas found in literature. However, it would be good if the researcher could have used graphs and charts. This would have aided much in assisting data presentation in the interpretations.

In the study, most of the generalizations made are warranted based on the sample used. This is because, the sample selected is a representative of the population under study. However due to lower response rate in the first study, there might be unwarranted generalization. The author also offered practical implications of this study. He states that, the study aims at igniting integrative debate to sharpen the two disciplines with the target of helping people who are willing to forgive interpersonal offences.

The author recognized limitations of the research. Such limitations were particularly as a result of sampling plan, where the sample was not a representative of the population. Also, there are some limitations on the questionnaires where the questionnaire did not allow democratic consensus. As a result the researcher should include focus group and in-depth interviews to ensure democratic consensus.


For this study, quantitative approach proved to be the best. This is because; the approach generated quantitative data which can be analyzed rigorously by the use of quantitative methods in rigid as well as formal ways. In addition, since the aim of the study was to find a relationship, then qualitative approach is the best in determining relations between variables. In addition, the methodology used was justifiable because it was cheap, time saving.

This study is a cross-sectional kind of study as its aim is to compare and contrast individuals’ perceptions. These studies are very important particularly in outlining factors of interest as they are in a particular population, regardless of time length (Mitchell & Jolley, 2001).

The number of points of data collection used by the researcher is not appropriate. This is because; the number of respondents is too small to generalize such results to the whole population. In addition, the researcher should have also included Christians who are neither theologians nor experts to analyze their views.

The research design was within subjects. The first study dealt with differences between psychologists and Christian theologians. However in selecting samples, psychologists from different faculties and departments were selected, but all selected participants endorsed Christian views. On the other hand, theologians from different bible study schools and departments were also selected. The second study dealt with experts having publications in the field of forgiveness. As a result, the study was determining different views within Christians.

It is very hard to validate this study externally. This is because; the sample size used in the study particularly in the first study threatens external validity of this study as it induces selection bias possibilities. However to some extent, the study holds some degree of external validity, due to this diversity of the sample. In addition, participants in the first study have the ability of trainers and progenitors in their fields hence have high influence in the society as a result, their opinions might be used in generalizing the population.


The sampling plan was adequate as it included diversified participants from different faculties, departments and schools. The sampling plan only included influential individuals in the society; hence their opinions might be used in generalizing the population under study.

However, depending on the research objective, the sample size was too small; hence it will not be of great help particularly in increasing precisions and accuracy to ensure that results are reliable. As a result the obtained data will not project the thoughts of the whole population under study. This sample size will also increase sampling error.

Though in the study the sampling plan has been enhanced by diversifying participant expertise, knowledge, age and race, but the researcher can do better by increasing the sample size to represent the population under study.

In the study, there are some sample biases. For instance, there are unrepresentative samples. This is because; the sample is not a representative of the population under study. This is because, the study contains undercover sampling, where members are not represented well as some populations are very few.

In addition, there is exclusion sample biasness. This is because; those theologians and psychologists lacking access to computers and internet were excluded from the study. In addition, lay men people were also not included in the study (Brewer, 2000).

The researcher clearly outlines dependent variables (DVs). Due to the fact that the degree of religious commitment was being varied from more religious to less religious, and theologians, then it is a dependent variable. In addition, since the field of study varied from psychologists to theologians from different schools, faculties and departments, the field of study was a dependant variable. However, the independent variable was religion, as even psychologists had to be those endorsing Christian views.

Primary methods of data collection were employed in this study; this is because the study used questionnaires. This technique was chosen because it is cheap, saves time, and data collected through questionnaires are easy to analyze. Moreover, this method collects data in a standard way hence more objective.

The method used in estimating reliability in this study is single administration method. Under this method, the technique used by the researcher is split half method by treating two studies in an alternate form. However, this is was not enough, because, the halves would have been stepped up by spearman’s-brown prediction formulae, which was not conducted in the study Meeker & Luis (1998).

The report states that the researcher chose academicians because they are involved in training as well progenitors in their fields, hence involve in the transmission of their opinions to other people. However, the report does not state whether the process of data collection was a proved by any ethics review committee, hence, its validity remains questionable. This is how the report provides validity measures.

During data collection; the researcher placed undue burdens on participants by giving questions which are not open to democratic discussions. This is as noted by one respondent in the study. This means that, the questions were closed, limiting respondent’s expression. However, physical coercion was not placed on any respondent. As a result, respondents did not state their opinions as they feel it should be, but depending on how the question asked them to.

Data analysis

In the second study the first three questions addressing negative feelings, release of revenge urge and fostering goodwill feelings towards the offender showed no significant differences between the two groups. This meant that, there were very high chances that such statistics occurred by chance.

In the first study statistical tests vary depending on the question. There are questions which statistical tests are significant while others are non-significant. This indicates that, statistical tests that are non-significant obtained such data through lack, while those having significance means that lack occurred in obtaining such results is very little.

Last but not least the authors of this study presented results which are related to research questions and research hypothesis. This is because, for every question, the author has indicated how the results were, and how significant were they (Brewer, 2000).


Psychologists view forgiveness and reconciliation as having different meanings, religious theologians particularly Christians view them as being synonymous. This research paper is a critique of one research that was conducted to identify differences in perception of psychologists and Christian theologians. As a result, though there were some limitations in the study, but generally the paper handled the research topic very well.


Brewer, M. (2000). Research Design and Issues of Validity. In Reis, H. & Judd, C. (Eds) Handbook of Research Methods in Social and Personality Psychology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Frise R, & McMinn, R. (2010). Forgiveness and Reconciliation: The Differing Perspectives of Psychologists and Christian Theologians. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 38(2): 83-88.

Govier, T. (2002). Forgiveness and Revenge. London: Routledge Press.

Jones, L. (1995). Embodying Forgiveness: A Theological Analysis. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Meek, K. & McMinn, M. (1997). Forgiveness: More than a Therapeutic Technique. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 16(2): 51-61.

Meeker, W. & Escobar, A. (1998). Statistical Methods for Reliability Data. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley.

Mitchell, M. & Jolley, J. (2001). Research Design Explained. New York: Harcourt.

Tavuchis, N. (1991). Mea Culpa: A sociology of apology and reconciliation. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Zeno, J. (2011). Beyond Forgiveness to Reconciliation. Retrieved from:

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Forgiveness in Simon Wiesenthal’s Work The Sunflower Essay (Critical Writing)

September 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

The introduction: the meaning of forgiveness

While analyzing forgiveness in Simon Wiesenthal’s work The Sunflower, I would like to consider some basic points concerning such psychological action or process as forgiveness. So, first of all, I would like to point out that forgiveness is mostly associated with such related matters as mercy or regret, etc.

Of course, the topic, which is to be discussed, is recognized to be an ethical issue. Taking into account the major themes of the book The Sunflower, one is to make a conclusion that such response to atrocities as forgiveness is considered to be the key aspect of humanity. In other words, I suppose that Wiesenthal’s work allows reconsidering the notions of beliefs concerning justice.

Generally, the action or the process of forgiveness is not unusual. Moreover, nobody will deny the fact that all people make mistakes and in most cases, do not consider moral obligations.

However, the most interesting point, which is to be discussed, is the question whether people should forgive everything, or not? The Sunflower is not related to such universal issues as life and death, and the biggest mistake of most of the readers is their confidence that the work reflects the above-mentioned concepts. In my opinion, the author didn’t want to draw the readers’ attention to the interdependence between life and death, but he wanted to show something, which could remind persons of interim issue between the two.

The thesis statement

Simon Wiesenthal’s work The Sunflower seems to have a symbolic meaning. The interdependence between people, who have already died and those ones, who are still alive is recognized to be the key aspect of the author’s work.

The body: the analysis of Simon Wiesenthal’s work

To confirm the thesis statement, I would like to rely on the quotation taken from a review by Ruth Pluznick. Thus, a narrative therapist states that according to Wiesenthal’s book “A sunflower was planted on each grave as straight as a soldier on parade.

Butterflies were moving from one flower to the next, and it seemed to the author that they were carrying messages from one soldier to another” (30). This sentence gives us an idea about the author’s inner state. He was sure that for him there was no opportunity to feel free, there would be no light or butterflies.

The period the author highlights in his work is the Holocaust. In my opinion, Simon Wiesenthal reflected the sufferings of people who experienced Holocaust events. In other words, he depicted cruel reality of the Second World War. Pluznick is of the opinion that “The reader is drawn into a world of unimaginable horrors – extreme deprivation of basic rights and needs, the constant presence of brutality

and degradation and death, the absence of any justice” (30). When analyzing the issues disclosed by the author, one is to make a conclusion that forgiveness is considered to be unnecessary issue. Moreover, I suppose that psychological and political aspects of forgiveness are both to be omitted, while analyzing atrocities. So, the moral right of an individual to forgive for a group is considered to be wrong.

Here, I would like to consider the so-called limits of forgiveness. Much as religion perennially advocates for forgiveness on an infinite scale, repeat offenses can be quite hard to forgive, in light of the fact that the society may construe that the acts are carried out to take advantage of the fact that, the doer of the abominable deed, will always go scot free after seeking pardon for the atrocities committed. Ultimately, every human being has a breaking point beyond which they cannot forgive.

In my opinion, the purpose of forgiveness seems to be for both personalities: the forgiver and the person being forgiven. Although is it mostly appropriate for the one being forgiven, I suppose that the proverb an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth should take place, when speaking about forgiveness.

Generally, the relationship between forgiveness and personal responsibility is another point of discussion. In my opinion, if a person takes decision to punish the aggressor, nobody can speak about responsibility. Responsibility for what??? It is a person’s legal and moral right to take vengeance or retaliate, especially, when speaking about Holocaust.

Don’t you think so? “We were told that everyone in the shtetl, family and neighbors, were rounded up and taken to the edge of the town. They were lined up and shot and buried in a mass grave” (Pluznick 30). So, what responsibility are you talking about??

The conclusion: the right choice

When writing a conclusion, I would like to highlight some points, which are related to moral, social and personal values of forgiveness. Thus, one is to keep in mind that forgiveness is considered to be stress reducing value; however, in spite of the fact that the psychological action provides the forgivers with emotional piece, greater cooperation, or helps to resolve various conflicts, clarifies the choices, etc. don’t you want to teach the enemies a good lesson? Don’t you know that there will be no result, if you turn a blind eye to unjust actions?

Works Cited

Pluznick, Ruth. The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness, 2005. Web.

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Forgiveness & Reconciliation: The Differing Perspectives of Psychologists and Christian Theologians Research Paper

September 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Ethical Aspect of the study

Psychologists view forgiveness and reconciliation as two parallel phenomena; this difference, they say, is adaptive, such that one may forgive a deceased person without necessarily returning into (the) relationship (Frise & McMinn, 2010). In this case forgiveness has happened, but reconciliation due to the prevailing circumstances or simply a matter of personal choice, has not.

As obvious as this argument may seem, the relation between forgiveness and reconciliation is not as simple as such. On the contrary, there has been debate over this matter, especially piqued by disagreements from Christian theologians, suggesting that reconciliation is necessary for true forgiveness. This is the ethical aspect that this research paper investigates.

Strengths, Limitations and Suggestions

Like most quantitative studies this research study is limited by the virtue of its research design through study biases; the major types of bias in quantitative research are undercoverage, non-response bias and voluntary response bias all of which are present here (Adams & Schvaneveldt, 1985).

Undercoverage bias occurs when a sample size does not meet the minimum number of cases of the larger population leading to under representation of the population.

Non-responsiveness occurs when significant numbers of sample cases that have already been chosen fails to respond by answering the required information. This compromises the quality of the research study and complicates the data analysis process.

Finally, voluntary response bias occurs when sample cases are selected based on their voluntary choice as is also the case in this study. This is largely because the study opted to use survey as it research design.

Based on the research design there is evidence of measures put in place to control against most of these biases which strengthens the study findings; this is the strength to the study.

Lastly, because the researchers had no means of verifying the identity of the cases sampled since the form were electronically filled online, anyone could have impersonated the intended subjects and filled the same form. I therefore suggest that verifiable means of intended subjects be put in place.


This study utilized both qualitative and quantitative research design where case-control groups were used in investigating the objectives of the study. This study design lacks a critical component of research studies; that of randomization.


The participants for this research study were not randomly selected, rather they were chosen through what we refer as purposive sampling because in this case only subjects of particular profession were being considered. The implication of this approach is that the study findings might be limited and cannot be generalized.

Data Quality

Based on the level of statistical tools used to analyze the data, I can conclude that the data quality for this research study is very high despite the limitations of the actual data.


As expected prior to the survey, there were clear differences between psychologists on forgiveness and reconciliation and the relationship between them.

As already alluded to, psychologist respondents stuck with the argument that forgiveness is independent of reconciliation and is a personal/unilateral act, carried out solely on the (personal) choice of the offended and is possible without reconciliation. The main support for this argument has to do with the fact that it is possible to forgive a deceased offender.

In favor of this stand, a number of psychologists (12% of the respondents) brought to question the relational dangers that reconciliation may bring (Frise & McMinn, 2010). For example, they warned of the trauma that a victim of abuse may suffer if one insists on reconciliation as a condition for forgiveness.

However, while still maintaining their stand on the distinction between the two, some psychologists (29% of respondents) sought to point out the link between them, as well as the role that each plays in that relationship (Frise & McMinn, 2010).

Some of these argued that reconciliation helps (speeds up) forgiveness while others thought that it is forgiveness that facilitates reconciliation. Notable here was the lack of a clear stand over which of the two leads to the other.

Still, in the end, the key areas of conflict between the two sides became evident since forgiveness has deep roots in Christianity.

Here, forgiveness is explained from a theological perspective i.e. that God forgives for the ultimate purpose of reconciliation, which involves repentance and ultimately, restoration of the relationship with him (Frise & McMinn, 2010). Gregory Jones, a Christian theologian, argues that true forgiveness must mend what was broken before the offense occurred.

Both sides provide views that are in consistent with the current literature that indicates forgiveness involves two stages: first, the offended gets rid of “negative thoughts/feelings, including a hunger to revenge against the offender” (Frise & McMinn, 2010). Secondly, the offended develops “positive attitude: feelings, thoughts and behavior, towards the offender” (Frise & McMinn, 2010).

In conclusion, the interesting finding of this study is that some theologians agreed on the distinction between forgiveness and reconciliation (especially considering the banal relative rigidity of religion), but also that some psychologists agreed on the link between forgiveness and reconciliation, albeit vaguely.


Adams, G. & Schvaneveldt, K, (1985). Understanding Research Methods. New York: NY. Longman Inc.

Frise, N. & McMinn, M. (2010). Forgiveness and Reconciliation: The Differing Perspectives of Psychologists and Christian Theologians. Journal of Psychology And Theology, 38, (2): pp. 83-88.

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Self-Forgiveness as the Path to Learning to Forgive the Others Critical Essay

September 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

The ability to forgive one’s own faults has never been valued on par with forgiveness towards the others’ failures, which is rather unfortunate, as the recent research shows.

According to the article titled “Self-Forgiveness: The Stepchild of Forgiveness Research” conducted by Julie H. Hall and Frank D. Fincham, people’s attitude towards the others is in most cases defined by their standards for their own behavior and personality.

In their paper, the authors explain the link between forgiveness and self-forgiveness, as well as define various offence-related factors. It is important to stress that the researches of that kind have never been undertaken on a scholarly scale before, since the issue in question has never been considered worthy of a scholarly research.

However, Hall and Fincham have successfully proved the opposite. The key issues that the given research responds to or, at least, attempts to solve, are the definition of self-forgiveness, the relation between self-forgiveness and interpersonal forgiveness, and the means to differentiate between self-forgiveness and pseudo self-forgiveness.

As for the results of the research, it must be admitted that the latter proved rather unexpected. It turned out that the forgiveness of others is closely related to self-forgiveness; moreover, the latter often predetermines the former.

In addition, the authors have come up with a model of self-forgiveness that encompasses the stages of the forgiveness process, explaining the specifics of human behavior in the process of forgiving.

According to the authors, self-forgiving people tend to compromise in the process of conflict solving, as well as admit that they are guilty, in most cases. Hence, it can и concluded that self-forgiveness defines forgiveness.

The issue seems to be beyond exciting. Even though the idea that forgiveness stems from the ability to forgive one’s own faults is not quite new, the research offers a new vision of the problem. Hence, it seems that the paper by Hall and Fincham provides a foil for the further research.

In addition, the paper raises a number of questions that are yet to be answered. For instance, Hall and Fincham claim that at present, there are no measures for forgiveness, which makes the assessment process rather complicated according to the results of Hall and Fincham’s research (Hall & Fincham, 2005, 635).

Moreover, the paper by Hall and Fincham raises a number of questions concerning people’s standards and the necessity to follow them. For example, the fact that forgiveness stems from self-forgiveness presupposes that one should have certain standards to evaluate his/her own behavior.

Projecting these standards on others, people often forget that not only the rest of the humankind, but they as well cannot live up to high standards all the time; hence stem a number of misunderstandings and misconceptions. The research results also give a lot of food for thoughts.

It was more than obvious that the way in which people assess the others’ actions and decide whether the other people deserve being forgiven are much more complicated than the idea of relationship between forgiveness and self-forgiveness.

Hence, the fact that Hall and Fincham came with the description of relationship-level factors and personality-level factors is quite important. In addition, the two aforementioned factors remind of the gap between an individual and the society.

Hence, it can be considered that self-forgiveness and, therefore, forgiveness is predetermined not only by the specifics of one’s temper, but also by the moods and morals of the society that an individual lives in.

Like any other idea, the theory concerning forgiveness and self-forgiveness needs a thorough practical testing. To consider Hall and Fincham’s assumptions closer, it will be a good idea to use the theories suggested by the authors in the counseling setting.

For instance, the following case can be a good example of how Hall and Fincham’s ideas of forgiveness and self-forgiveness should be applied. Supposing, in counseling setting, a client has asked me as a clinician for help. After a short session, it has turned out that the client, Mr. Brown, has issues with forgiving.

However, he has not considered the given feature a flaw until recently. To be more particular, Mr. Brown has constant conflicts with his stepson, whom he is still blaming for failing at the tests and not going for higher education.

In the course of the therapy session, it became obvious that Mr. Brown has very high standards, and not everyone in the neighborhood can live up to them. To make the situation even more complicated, Mr. Brown confessed that even he could not live up to these standards all the time, which makes him feel extremely guilty.

As a result, not only he, but also the people who live with him suffer. To solve the given situation, it will be necessary to make Mr. Brown realize the inevitability of making mistakes, as well as the importance of being able to admit that he has the right to make these mistakes.

Reference List

Hall, J. & Fincham, F. (2005). Self-forgiveness: The stepchild of forgiveness research. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 24(5), 621-637.

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The Effects of Forgiveness Therapy on Depression, Anxiety and Posttraumatic Stress for Women after Spousal Emotional Abuse Critical Essay

September 21, 2021 by Essay Writer


‘The Effects of Forgiveness Therapy on Depression, Anxiety and Posttraumatic Stress for Women after Spousal Emotional Abuse’ is a research study conducted by Reed and Enright in 2006.

The article evaluates the effectiveness of forgiveness therapy administered to emotionally abused women and compares it to alternative treatments like anger validation and interpersonal skill building.

The research identifies that despite having been various treatments for emotionally abused women, there was scarce emphasis on the treatments’ effectiveness. Using random sampling, the authors selected 20 emotionally abused women, already separated from their spouses for over duration of 2 years (Reed & Enright, 2006).

The selected samples met with clinicians for an average period of 7.95 months within which, ten participants received forgiveness therapy while the remaining ten received alternative treatment (Reed & Enright, 2006).

When the test period was over, forgiveness therapy demonstrated higher efficacy compared to alternative treatment, since most women were found to have gained positive responses towards the abuse.

Unlike in the alternative treatments, forgiveness therapy promoted compassion and provided a better way of evaluating the abuse without resentment. The alternative treatments were slightly effective, but they were less effective in preventing resentment and negative responses.

Enright forgiveness model applied in the study proved effective since it systematically addressed the forgiveness process identified the negative attributes caused by the abuse, and prepared the women for positive responses.

Forgiveness therapy demonstrated high efficacy in promoting self-esteem, eliminating depression and promoting environmental mastery (Reed & Enright, 2006).

The process was very effective in helping women understand and examine the injustice of the abuse, without interpreting the process as pardon and forgetting (Reed & Enright, 2006).

The research therefore demonstrates that forgiveness therapy is an effective method of helping psychologically abused women to recover, without promoting negative responses to the abuse.


I find the article very interesting and informative, especially after understanding the difference in approach between forgiveness as contained in the dictionary, and forgiveness therapy. Firstly, the authors make extensive research in order to form a strong theoretical foundation for conducting the research study.

The authors first generate a generalized discussion, which they later narrow down according to evidence from past research. The research method is viable since it subjects the participants to ample time for recovery from psychological abuse, while still providing the authors with enough time to monitor the progress of the women.

The time allocated to the research is efficient, since it allows the authors to eliminate any assumption. By deciding on the timeframe, the authors eliminate possibilities of errors.

In the research design, the authors ensure that tests are carried out before and after treatment in order to generate credible and significant differences caused by the treatment options.

The decision is therefore relevant in comparing the women’s psychological wellbeing before and after treatment and in identifying the most effective treatment options. The interveners selected are all qualified to avoid errors caused by unprofessionalism, meaning that the test results collected are of high quality.

The reason for being interested in the article is influenced by the presence of a case study within the test results, as it presents an opportunity to participate in the research.

The case of Marianne brings a reader into the actual research, since it provides an opportunity for understanding the type of participants selected, their conditions, and the changes realized after treatment. The inclusion and exclusion criteria for the participants eliminate inconsistencies in the data collected.


In a practical setting dealing with spousal infidelity, one of the possible challenges is eliminating helplessness from the victim. In most cases, victims often blame themselves for having not pleased their spouses enough, to avoid infidelity.

In such situations, women would try to justify the act based on the self-assumption that they failed to play their marital role in the correct manner, leading to the husband’s infidelity. To eliminate this perception, one of the best strategies would be to apply Enright’s forgiveness model (Reed & Enright, 2006).

One of the first step would be to explain to the victim what forgiveness is, and differentiate it from common perceptions of pardon and forgiveness. The victim must understand that whatever the husband did had nothing to do with her marital responsibility.

The situation therefore calls for psychological defenses and justifications, and understanding the effect of the infidelity towards her anger. Anger management is very vital in promoting forgiveness.

The other step would be to reframe the infidel partner, by re-examining the effect of the act in relation to his personal history and inherent worth (Reed & Enright, 2006). This process makes it possible for the victim to understand her husband better and identify the attributes, which have hitherto not been clear to her all along.

By understanding the partner and after eliminating self-blame, resentment and anger, the victim is ready to develop empathy and compassion (Reed & Enright, 2006). This treatment option is gradual since it requires thorough understanding of the partner and finding meaning amidst the injustice.

Once the victim is ready to develop positive responses to the injustice, she can be encouraged to help others in similar situations in order to find meaning in life, live positively and engage in constructive relationships with others.


Reed, G. L., & Enright, R. D. (2006). The Effects of Forgiveness Therapy on Depression, Anxiety, and Posttraumatic Stress for Women After Spousal Emotional Abuse. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74 (5), 920–929.

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Review: “Interventions Studies on Forgiveness: A Meta-analysis” by Baskin T. and Enright R. Essay (Critical Writing)

September 21, 2021 by Essay Writer


The article explores various aspects of forgiveness on the victims of unfair or inconsiderate acts. The article discloses that forgiveness is vital for the psychological well-being. Once a victim deals with the resentment, he/she can progress on in life. However, most victims are unwilling to open up and forgive.

As such, they project their resentment as anger towards other people in their lives. Thus, many victims who are unwilling to forgive have difficulties creating lasting relationships in their lives. Forgiving is a process which requires a cautious approach.

The specialists assisting victims should facilitate the process by assuming a cautious approach, which will enable their victims express their feelings at their own convenience. Examples provided reveal that forgiveness is a psychological remedy for some of the emotional strains that victims of offensive acts encounter.

The article investigates various clinical methods that would assist people in the process of forgiving their offenders. Initials research had unearthed three methods (Baskin & Enright, 2004).

The three methods differed in the way in which they undertook counselling. The differences were procedural and in terms of the design. The first and the second model were procedural. Nonetheless, the third was straightforward and required the victim to write-down his/ her frustrations.

There are varieties of models, which seek to analyze forgiveness, but they also differ on certain philosophical basis. The philosophical variations in the intervention mean that they also differ in the manner they undertake counselling.

Consequently, the processes have different results owing to the way in which they handle victims. The article culminates in a study, which seeks to evaluate if the methods of intervening can be classified into one category. This is established by utilizing data from subjects on forgiveness (Baskin & Enright, 2004).

Interaction with the article

According to the article, forgiveness is critical if an individual is to fight resentment that arose from being hurt. Forgiveness is a process. It allows the hurt individual to review his/her feelings with regard to the offender. Consequently, the person can choose to forgive or not. The research into forgiveness is exceedingly systematic.

The methodologies utilized are adequate and provide insight to human psychological tendencies. The study of interventions reveals disparity in forgiveness patterns among the subjects. This is because people are different in character and many other aspects.

The disparity in character emanates from differences in upbringing and the values an individual cherishes. Some people are more willing to forgive while others are adamant. These variations in personality can account for the variation in forgiveness patterns.

The researchers have attempted to curtail these variations by choosing subjects that fit within certain constrains.

The factors considered in choosing the subjects could be age or the nature of traumatic events, which caused resentment. However, some of the studies failed to consider such factors (Baskin & Enright, 2004).

Forgiveness is bound to vary among people of different age groups and gender. Children are more willing to forgive owing to innocence and inexperience in matters pertaining to life. Women are more forgiving than their male compatriots are.

Nevertheless, they do not forget easily. The studies seem to overlook such factors. The forgiveness pattern revealed in the research undertaken will be largely applicable to a certain group that have experienced traumatic events of a certain nature. Forgiveness is a subjective matter.

Hence, most of the details that emerge form this research may be irrelevant in many scenarios. Every victim should be approached in a unique manner.

The psychologist should first develop a rapport with the victim. Based on the initial interaction, the psychologist should form an opinion on the approach to adopt (Baskin & Enright, 2004).

Application of the information in the article

The article provides insight into the importance of forgiveness. Many people suffer from psychological strain owing to resentment. Forgiveness provides a platform to address various emotions. The article highlights that allowing the victim to reveal the emotional pain they are experiencing is key to forgiveness.

In the church, members come to the pastor with a variety of social and psychological issues. The issues may entail depression, stress and substance abuse. The first step the pastor should undertake is to sympathise with the victims. Subsequently, the pastor or counsellor should set up meetings.

The pastor should encourage the victims to undertake counselling. However, the pastor should be satisfied with the victims’ willingness to undertake therapy.

The pastor should be a facilitator only providing guidance to the victims. This will ensure that the victim takes some charge in the process. The victim should participate actively in the process.

When the victims participate actively, he/she understands why it is imperative to undertake counselling. Initially, most victims are unwilling to open up in detail with regard to what triggered their problem, which could be grief, depression, abuse or drug use.

At this juncture, the pastor should assist the victims to come into reality with their emotional or psychological status. Most of the victims normally deny existence of such problems, yet there are symptoms indicating its existence.

Once the victim admits, the pastor should then focus on the healing process, which may involve forgiveness, or speaking to the offenders.


Baskin, T. & Enright, R. (2004). Interventions studies on forgiveness: A meta-analysis. Journal of Counselling & Development, 82, 79-82.

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The Amish Philosophy of Forgiveness Essay

September 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Forgiveness is a virtue that people need to have to maintain peace in the world. At one point or another, people will come face to face with occasions when other people wrong them. If we allow anger and revenge to cloud our judgment, we will end up fighting all the time. Shedding blood will be the order of the day. People will hold grudge against each other, and unity among members of a community will be jeopardized. In this regard, people have to learn to forgive each other. However, the Amish people have a different way of forgiving those who wrong them.

Usually, people who have been wronged will pour out their anger on those who offend them immediately the mistake has been done. After some time, the insulted people will slowly come to terms with reality and then forgive their enemies. For the Amish people, this is not the case. First, they forgive a, nd then go through the emotional process of accepting the truth. It is important to note that the immediate forgiveness of the enemy does not mean that the Amish will let the perpetrators of crime go free. No, they will still like to see people held responsible for their actions.

I should state here that I agree with the Amish mode of forgiveness. To begin with, the Bible teaches people to integrate forgiveness into our lives. We should forgive our enemies even before they offend us. On the same note, the Bible insists that one should forgive his or her enemies countlessly and unconditionally. When one of them was sprayed with bullets and murdered, the Amish people declared their forgiveness even before the end of the day. This can be interpreted to mean that they had already forgiven the perpetrator even before he executed his heinous deeds. Similarly, by making forgiveness a routine as the Amish people have done, one can let go even the crimes that other people find difficult to forget. Ordinarily, people have categorized crimes into various groups, and there are those groups that people do not forgive easily if they do at all.

Moreover, the Amish philosophy of forgiveness requires that one should forgive first and then go through the emotional process of coming to terms with what happened. Forgiveness does not just entail the physical process but also presents the emotional and psychological processes of healing. If the mind has not let go of the issues that happened, one will always remember the perpetrator in the wrong way, and this will deter the emotional process. On the other hand, if the mind lets go of the events that took place, then the emotional healing becomes easier. Consequently, the way the Amish people forgive those who wrong them ensures that they do not suffer emotionally for long. Holding onto what one considers as bad events will elongate the process of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Other people will argue that the person who is on the wrong way should ask for forgiveness. But let us think for a second, does it mean that one has to ask for forgiveness? If we allow ourselves to follow this route, then our forgiveness will be conditional, and this will be against the fundamental essence of forgiveness. Forgiveness has all to do with the offended person and minimal to do with the perpetrator of the wrongful act. As a result, the person who is wronged is the one to decide when to initiate the forgiveness process. The sooner the process is initiated, the easier it will be. The Amish people forgive those who wrong them immediately, and this eases the process for them.

Additionally, forgiveness frees one’s mind and reduces psychological torment that one could go through if he or she keeps the grudge. As long as one has not forgiven a person who insulted him or her, the issue will keep on lingering in his or her mind causing discomfort. On the same note, keeping grudges for whatever time brings about enmity in the community. Moreover, our happiness depends on how and when we want to be happy. Supporting this idea reduces our chances of being a happy while, at the same time, increasing hatred and bitterness in our hearts. In this regard, the Amish people choose to free their minds as soon as possible. They also choose to be happy in their souls rather than holding onto a grudge. Even when they are grieved, they let go what they can and deal with what remains. Happiness is a personal initiative, and they choose to have it.

Forgiveness should be a habit. Making it conditional will mean that there are occasions when we do not have to forgive. It is within our capacity to forgive or not to forgive, and this will affect our relationship with others. Unless we learn to forgive unconditionally, the revenge will be the order of the day. Nonetheless, the Amish people have a philosophy of forgiving before they are asked, and this makes them happy.

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The Effects of Forgiveness Therapy Essay (Article)

September 21, 2021 by Essay Writer


Spouses go through different challenges, which might degenerate into abuse in some cases. Women form the highest percentage of victims of spousal abuse. According to Reed and Enright (2006), around 35% of women in marriage or romantic relationships report being abused by their husbands or partners. Reed and Enright (2006) carried out an empirical study to determine “the effects of forgiveness therapy on depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress for women after spousal emotional abuse” (p. 920). The researchers hypothesized that the victims of abuse undergoing forgiveness therapy recover and forgive their abusers faster as compared to their counterparts taking alternative treatment. The researchers used the interview methodology by enlisting 20 participants, who were victims of spousal abuse. The design used was a “matched, yoked, and randomized experimental and control group” (Reed & Enright, 2006, p. 922). After gathering the relevant data, the researchers compared the recovery of the participants to their controls to determine the effects of forgiveness therapy. The results indicated that victims of spousal abuse undergoing forgiveness therapy healed faster as compared to their counterparts using alternative therapy. This trend was attributed to the view that forgiveness therapy focuses on the abuser as opposed to other forms of therapies that dwell on giving the victims a room to express their anger and frustrations without tacking the cause of their woes.

Therefore, the conclusion formed is that the female victim of abuse should be taken through forgiveness therapy in a bid to recover from the debilitating effects of such an occurrence. In the long-term, this therapy plays an important role in allowing the victims to forgive their abusers, which is the ultimate healing stage of the process.


Initially, I did not appreciate the contribution of this article to the healing process of spousal abuse. I thought that alternative therapies are better than forgiveness therapy because they focus on the victim. After all, the last thing that a victim of abuse would want to do is to remember her abuser. However, after reading through this article, I appreciate the view that alternative therapies deal with symptoms without addressing the cause of suffering. This article presents a unique approach to dealing with spousal abuse. Forgiveness therapy allows the victim to focus on the abuser. I realize that by not focusing on the abuser, the victim will always have a relapse into bitterness and other psychological sufferings. However, by forgiving the abuser, the victim can embrace the healing process. In most cases, the victims of spousal abuse feel betrayed and this feeling evokes bitterness and the urge to revenge. However, by forgiving the abuser, the victim approaches the issue pragmatically by focusing on the important aspects of life like regaining self-confidence and moving on with life.

I am particularly interested in this topic because the number of spousal abuse cases is on the increase. Unfortunately, the empirical evidence to back up these claims is lacking because social researchers have not focused on the issue conclusively. Therefore, in a bid to understand this topic better, I will read all the available literature on spousal abuse, the coping mechanisms, and the ultimate way out of this social ill. I believe in preventive approaches to social vices, and thus I will focus on ways that spouses can be sensitized in a bid to prevent spousal abuse.


Scenario: Daisy has visited the pastor’s office in our church, and as the pastor in charge, I have to address her issues. She has been separated from her husband for 2 years after their marriage of 10 years failed. She is depressed. In addition, she has lost her self-worth because she feels that her husband used and dumped her. The following dialogue ensues:

  • Pastor: Hello Daisy
  • Daisy: (She does not say anything, but she keeps on fidgeting on her seat)
  • P: You look very uncomfortable, Daisy
  • D: I simply feel bad, I feel used, I feel useless, how could he?
  • P: I know how it feels; I once separated from my wife of 4 years
  • D: What’s more, he has moved on and married another woman
  • P: And you have been unable to let go and move on
  • D: Yes, I just can’t
  • P: Why not
  • D: This man just used and dumped me, I feel wasted, I hate him, and I will never forgive him, not in this lifetime
  • P: That’s where the problem lies. You do not forgive people because they need it, but because you want it for your healing. The healing process can only start after forging Steve and letting go. According to a recent study conducted on the effects of forgiveness therapy on people in your situation, victims of abuse heal faster, regain their self-worth, and move on with their lives after forgiving their abusers.
  • D: That makes sense. Why do I even keep on thinking about him yet he moved on
  • P: It’s because you have not forgiven him. All you need to do is forgive him, but you may need professional help. I recommend that you enroll in forgiveness therapy for professional help
  • D: I can do that; I just need to move on with my life
  • P: Thank you for opening up and the willingness to receive help
  • D: Thank you pastor for opening my mind.


Reed, G., & Enright, R. (2006). The effects of forgiveness therapy on depression, anxiety and posttraumatic stress for women after spousal emotional abuse. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74(5), 920–929.

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The “Self Forgiveness” Article by Julie & Frank Research Paper

September 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Summary of the article

Self forgiveness can be defined as the state of being at peace or of goodwill to the self and free from self hatred and loath resulting from hurting another. Psychology literature however defines self-forgiveness as “a willingness to abandon self–resentment in the face of one’s own acknowledged objective wrong, while fostering compassion, generosity, and love toward oneself.” (Julie, 2005). Self-forgiveness is normally achieved through stages. The first stage has the individual going through an uncovering phase. The second stage is decision phase which is then followed with the work phase and finally the outcome phase.

Interpersonal forgiveness can be defined as a process where one tends to replace destructive responses with constructive behavior. In both, reproach is directed towards the offender. The set of forgiveness share a lot of common grounds and differences. The similarities include the fact that they both take time to be achieved and both include forgiveness of actions that one do not deserve to be forgiven but they are forgiven nonetheless.

These two types of forgiveness also differ in regard to reconciliation. Interpersonal forgiveness does not regard reconciliation with the offender while the self-forgiveness reconciliation with the self is necessary Julie (2005). Considering this, it can be concluded that self reconciliation occurs through self-forgiveness meaning that the impacts of not forgiving the self typically will be worse than interpersonal forgiveness. Other than the similarities and the differences, the two types of forgiveness relate to each other as self-forgiveness facilitates interpersonal forgiveness, this is through allowance of one to identify with one’s offender. Self-forgiveness comes before interpersonal forgiveness since one cannot forgive others if they cannot forgive themselves (James, 2001).

Self-forgiveness can be viewed in two ways in regard to injury. One may forgive one’s self for an injury to self or injury to another person. The two are however related since in the pursuit to injure the other, one injures one-self. This then prompts the forgiveness of oneself. It is however important to reiterate that the forgiveness of self in this case is to the injury caused to the other but not the injury caused to the self as one cannot forgive one for hurting oneself.

To achieve true self-forgiveness however, one must acknowledge that his or her behavior was wrong and then accept responsibility of the behavior perceived as wrong. Pseudo-self forgiveness occurs when one refuses to acknowledge responsibility of a wrong doing, in such case, one may indicate that they have forgiven themselves but then do not believe that they did any wrongdoing, this leads to the form of forgiveness termed pseudo-forgiveness. Whether self-forgiveness is always appropriate is much of a debate since a lot depends on the situation. (James, 2001)

Guilt plays a major role in the emotional determinants of self-forgiveness. The feeling of remorse and empathy towards the victim and acting in a reconciliatory manner may help the transgressor forgiven them. Shame focuses on the self while guilt focuses on the action of the self; this makes the relationship between guilt and self-forgiveness less strong as that between shame and self-forgiveness. Socially, one is more likely to be stable while interacting with the external environment after having self-forgiveness than without self forgiveness. Offenders who seek self forgiveness are more likely to seek forgiveness from the offended than the offenders who do not seek self forgiveness. Factors that play a role in self forgiveness can be summarized as the following:

  • Conciliatory behavior
  • Perceived Forgiveness from Victim or Higher Power
  • Severity of the Offense

It is however important to note that the above factors do not form all the determinants of self forgiveness and that there are other factors that may influence self forgiveness. Therefore, it is critical for one to identify appropriate methods of measuring self forgiveness.

In a wrap up, self forgiveness is as important as is interpersonal forgiveness and should as such be accorded equal attention in terms of literature and research.


The article has a lot of insights in regard to self-forgiveness. It is interesting how comprehensive the research was conducted and the extent of reference and consultation that took place in the writing of the article. The article talks about self forgiveness at length and thus my interest in reading it. The research methodology involved in the acquisition of facts that are presented in this article provides the reader with a well faceted view of the topic in concern; self forgiveness.

It has well researched definition and comparisons between other forms of forgiveness and self forgiveness. The most interesting comparison is that between self forgiveness and interpersonal forgiveness. Interpersonal forgiveness has recently formed the major pivot of discussion and literature. A lot of literature has been dedicated towards interpersonal forgiveness at the expense of self forgiveness (James, 2001). This has led to neglect in research insofar as self forgiveness is concerned.

The article has also focused on the emotional aspect of self forgiveness with major spotlight on guilt and shame. It is interesting how the article links these two and also isolates them from one another. It was equally interesting to find out that shame is closer to self forgiveness than guilt is. This has opened a whole new angle of research as I was holding a contrary view prior to the reading of this article. The article has inculcated in me the interest to read more related articles especially on shame, guilt and self forgiveness in order of acquire more insight on the relationship of these three(Julie, 2005).


While counseling a spouse who has engaged in infidelity, there are questions that are likely to influence the counseling session. The questions include whether or not the aggressor, in this case the spouse who engaged in infidelity, is ready or not to accept that he or she engaged in the same. If he or she has refused to accept it, the session will then focus on having them appreciate the importance of accepting a wrong doing in order to initiate progress. If they have already accepted having engaged in infidelity, then the session will focus on achieving self forgiveness for the offence.

The spouse should seek redress from the other spouse by informing them on about the infidelity and asking for forgiveness. This will facilitate the process of dealing with the guilt. Achievement of true forgiveness will begin with the spouse accepting that they had engaged in infidelity. This is important in dealing with the shame that comes with memory of the act. If the spouse is willing to interact, he or she will be asked to come with the other spouse for a joint session where the other spouse will be given an opportunity to express their view on the matter. At this point, reconciliation will be achieved.


James, W. (2001). Psychology: The briefer Course. New York: Courier Dover Publications.

Julie, H & Frank, F. (2005). Self-forgiveness: The step child of forgiveness research. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology , 621-637.

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Forgiveness for Workplace Conflict Resolution Research Paper

September 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Overview of Conflict

Jake is a fast-rising employee who has recently been promoted to the position of branch manager at his organization. However, Jake has a strained working relationship with his company’s human resource manager, Monica. The conflict between the two dates back five years ago when Jake was working in lower-level management. During this time, Jake had requested educational support from the company but Monica had denied his request. All the other managers were in support of Jake’s request but the final authorization had to come from Monica. Jake was able to pursue his education goals without the support of the company and he owes his current promotion to this effort. However, Jake has not been able to forgive Monica, whom he feels was unjustified in denying him his valid request. Currently, the silent conflict between the two workers has degenerated in a manner that affects other employees and the company in general. Each of the two individuals has different viewpoints and positions concerning the issue.

According to Jake, his request for educational support was in line with his career aspirations. Each year, the company sets aside a budget for employees who are interested in furthering their education. Furthermore, this support is not free as there are conditions for acquiring this service, which includes having a guarantor. At the time of his request, Jake had been in the company for almost three years. As a dedicated employee, Jake felt that there was no way of justifying Monica’s ‘malicious’ actions.

On her part, Monica reviewed Jake’s request and found that although he had support from other managers, his personnel file had anomalies that led to his disqualification. Records indicated that Jake had three incidents with junior-level employees. Nevertheless, in all these incidences, Jake was absolved of any wrongdoing. It is also customary for the company to give educational support to employees who have been in the company for more than three years. At the time of his request, Jake had only two years and nine months under his belt. Monica had requested Jake to wait another year for him to be approved, but he refused to do so.

The Actual Conflict

The problem with the relationship between the two workers is that Jake feels that Monica is a relatively malicious individual. Consequently, even when Jake encounters issues with his staff, he has trouble forwarding the complaints to Monica. Jake is also of the opinion that Monica does not approve of his promotion and she is likely to undermine his position if the opportunity presents itself. The main problem is that Monica is largely unaware of the depth of the ongoing disagreement. The conflict is an underlying problem for the company now and in the future (Bies, Barclay, & Aquino, 2016). This report lays out an action plan that both parties can use to realize their respective positions.

The Action Research Plan

The following action plan is based on the notion that “forgiveness has a three-tier element; it is a psychological act, a communicative act, and a social act” (Barclay & Saldanha, 2016, p. 701). The psychological tier involves the individuals who are engaging in a conflict letting go of their sustained hurt. At the communication action level, the conflicting parties talk to each other about their willingness to forgive and reconcile. In the next level, the conflicting parties can balance out their relationship and mode of association in a properly functioning manner.

Action Plan 1: Individual Level

The individual action level should be initiated by perception. During this step, both Jake and Monica should ask themselves if the offense conducted has been perceived through seeing, hearing, or feeling (Moore, 2014). In this case, Jake is likely the more offended party and he ‘feels’ that Monica does not have his best interests at heart. Various individuals often perceive various situations differently, and this factor is important to the action plan.

The next step of an individual is to find out the justification behind the conflict. Both of the conflicting parties should ask themselves if their feelings of hurt are justified. In hard-to-forgive conflicts, it is common for one or both of the individuals to ‘own’ the hurt by claiming that the offending party had a right to his/her actions. However, some parties can make their feelings personal and consequently blow the scenario out of proportion. The second scenario is more likely, as in this case, Jake appears to have taken Monica’s actions in a personal manner.

In the third step of the individual action plan, the parties should investigate how the conflict has been sustained over time. In some cases, a conflicting party can feel the offense only for a certain period, while on other occasions it is easier to ‘let go’ within a short period. Researchers have pointed out that several factors affect how conflict is sustained, including culture, gender, and psychological issues (Gerardi, 2015). In this conflict, indications are that Jake has sustained his feeling of hurt, while Monica has been able to let hers go. Both parties will benefit from evaluating how and why their feelings of hurt have been sustained. The threat of past feelings reoccurring can also be examined during this action step.

Action Plan 2: Communication Level

In this action plan, the first step involves exploring how the conflict touches on identities and/or actions. Both Jake and Monica need to ask themselves if the “offense is against their identities (who each of them is) or their actions (what each of them did)” (O’Sullivan, 2017, p. 6). Sometimes the issues of identity and actions can end up being mixed up in the process. For example, Monica’s involvement in the conflict is likely more action-oriented while Jake feels identities are to blame for the conflict. For forgiveness to occur, both parties should be able to communicate whether they are offended by actions or identities.

On another level, the conflicting parties should be able to evaluate how they often deal with offenses against them. For example, some individuals chose to retaliate, go into defense mode, or accept and move on. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that all responses to perceived offenses can be easily justified by the offending parties. Retaliation can also be behavioral or verbal, whereby the offended party can go into defense mode to avoid more problems. In the outlined scenario, Jake is doing all that he can to avoid dealing with Monica. Unless he can forgive her, he is likely to remain in this defensive mode for a long time. Eventually, the parties should explore the history that exists between the offender and the offended. This is the only way for them to find a solution and repair their relationship.

Action Plan 3: Culture Level

This action step calls for the conflicting parties to explore how their respective cultures relate to issues of conflict and forgiveness. The first aspect to be explored in this case is moral values. Both Jake and Monica should find out if they have value for forgiveness outside of their work environment. For example, most religions advocate for forgiveness and if one or both parties are religious the reconciliation process might be easier. The next step in this action plan is to investigate whether trust can be regained and what it takes for it to be restored. Finally, the element of harmony can be explored. This is where the working relationship between Jake and Monica is analyzed in a bid to find out if they can work productively together.

Forgiveness versus Reconciliation

Forgiveness and reconciliation are related practices but they are two distinct responses to workplace conflict. First, forgiveness can be a one-person affair but it takes the effort of two or more people to reconcile. For instance, even though Jake chooses to forgive Monica, the latter can still impede the reconciliation process. Reconciliation is a process that involves all the parties involved in a conflict. The process is initiated by an act of forgiveness and it can involve outside elements such as mediators. Ultimately, both the conflicting parties have to do whatever that is in their power to repair the relationship.

Another distinction between forgiveness and reconciliation is that the former is an inward process while the latter requires outward contributions. Therefore, the action process outlined above has to start with introspective exercises and then move into physical exercises such as talking to each other. Nevertheless, it is important to note that both processes involve some inward processes for them to be successful. Therefore, forgiveness is part of reconciliation but reconciliation is not necessarily part of forgiveness.


Barclay, L. J., & Saldanha, M. F. (2016). Facilitating forgiveness in organizational contexts: Exploring the injustice gap, emotions, and expressive writing interventions. Journal of Business Ethics, 137(4), 699-720.

Bies, R. J., Barclay, L. & Aquino, K. (2016). A systems perspective on forgiveness in organizations. Academy of Management Annals, 10(1), 245-318.

Gerardi, D. (2015). Conflict engagement: Workplace dynamics. The American Journal of Nursing, 115(4), 62-65.

Moore, C. W. (2014). The mediation process: Practical strategies for resolving conflict. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

O’Sullivan, M. (2017). The Structural Causes of Workplace Conflict: Understanding the Implications for the Mediation of Workplace Disputes. Bond Law Review, 29(1), 6-7.

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