Article Review: The Church as Forgiving Community: An Initial Model
“The Church as Forgiving Community: An Initial Model,” by Chad M. Magnuson and Robert D. Enright is a research article based on the study of forgiveness. This article guides the reader through steps on how to work towards forgiveness as an individual, through the church, and into the community, and also how to then sustain the forgiving community that has been built through this forgiveness education. Magnuson and Enright propose a three-tiered holistic psycho-educational approach to forgiveness education called “The Forgiving Communities.” They state, “The goal of The Forgiving Communities is to deepen individuals’ (and society’s) understanding and personal practice of, and growth in forgiveness”. The model consists of multiple levels of forgiveness education that starts with the senior pastor and works its way down through the church leaders, lay volunteers, and eventually into the entire congregation. The main point of this article is how to train the church community to install and sustain Enright’s process model on forgiveness. With this is the hope that the forgiveness education would trickle down to the children and give them the tools they need to confront injustices in a healthy way into adulthood.
Magnuson and Enright provide research that show strong evidence for the benefits associated with using a “road map” to learn how to forgive someone and also on how to receive forgiveness. Their evidence suggests that those who have forgiven or received forgiveness also have significant reductions in anger, depression, anxiety, grief, and post-traumatic stress symptoms and increases in self-esteem, hope, positive attitudes, environmental mastery, and finding meaning in suffering . The model that is proposed consists of multiple levels of forgiveness education which takes place at fixed times throughout each year in...
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