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What is the Forgiveness Model?

Forgiveness facilitates personal development by providing the injured party with new ways of viewing the world and the transgression committed against them (Enright, 1994). Robert Enright’s model is a developmental progression in understanding forgiveness. It is based on the premise that forgiveness brings healing to families, relationships, marriages, and hinders generational pain and wounds (Coyle & Enright, 1998) and that those who are unwilling to forgive hurt themselves. Coyle and Enright (1998) situate forgiveness as “an internal process that transforms the forgiver and also may transform the one forgiven, if the offender is able to receive forgiveness as a gift. This potential for transformation could act as an agent that stimulates learning as a person moves through the forgiving process. They cite some of the benefits of forgiveness as freedom from guilt, and preventing the misdirection of anger in future relationships. As a person moves through the forgiving process they may find meaning in their pain and/or the hurtful event (p.223). Making meaning of one’s pain leads to healing that could potentially transform pain into knowledge from which the injured person can grow emotionally and spiritually.