Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Sunflower- Exploring Forgiveness

 The Sunflower

On the Possibilities  

and Limits of

Forgiveness

By

  Simon Wiesenthal

Reviewed by

  Geoffrey W. Sutton

This book, The Sunflower, offers a challenging story by Holocaust survivor,  Simon Wiesenthal and I recommend it to all interested in the subject of forgiveness and its conceptual neighbour, reconciliation. 

In the year 1943, Simon Wiesenthal is in a Nazi concentration camp. He is sent to work in a German  army hospital. He is called to attend to a Nazi soldier who wants forgiveness from a Jew for being part of the murder of  300 Jews by setting fire to a building then shooting those who jumped from windows as they tried to escape.

Following his confessional story, the German asks forgiveness. Wiesenthal leaves the room without a word. The next day, he learns the soldier died and left his belongings to him but Wiesenthal refuses to take them. Wiesenthal ruminates then invites people to respond to his dilemma--should he have forgiven the soldier?

Following is a quote from the author:

    Was my silence at the bedside of the dying Nazi right or wrong? This is a profound moarl question that challenges the conscience of the reader of this episode, just as it once challenged my heart and my mind.

    The crux of the matter is, of course, the question of forgiveness. Forgetting is something that time alone takes care of, but forgiveness is an act of volition, and only the sufferer is qualified to make the decision. 

    You, who have just read this sad and tragic episode in my life, can mentally change places with me and ask yourself the crucial question, "What would I have done?"

            (Wiesenthal, pp. 97-98) 

We learn a lot about different perspectives on forgiveness as we read the responses from a diverse sample of women and men.

Psychologists tend to view forgiveness as an intrapersonal process in which a person who has been offended learns to let go of the offense and move forward. The emotional dimension often takes longer than the cognitive decision to forgive. However, when we are in a relationship, expressed forgiveness is important to promote reconciliation when interpersonal offenses require repairs if the relationship is to continue in a healthy fashion.

Wiesenthal presents a different sort of forgiveness dilemma. He has been the victim of Nazi aggression but not this particular man. His relationship with the man is not one he chose and is hardly an ongoing interpersonal relationship. Wiesenthal's thinking about the relationship suggests he may not have lived up to his own moral standards, which suggests the possibility of self-forgiveness. 

There's more to consider and I do recommend this book to those interested in the study of forgiveness and reconciliation. 

For additional books on Forgiveness and Reconciliation, click this link.

Key concepts: Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Confession, Apology


Reference

Wiesenthal, S.  (1998). The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness. New York: Random House. Available on AMAZON  and  Google

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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

 Forgiveness, Reconciliation, and Restoration:  

Multidisciplinary Studies

 from a Pentecostal Perspective

 

Edited by

 

    Martin W. Mittelstadt &

    Geoffrey W. Sutton

 

Reviewed by

 

   Various Reviewers





 



***************

“Richly diverse, yet held together by a focus on the Pentecostal heritage, this volume offers a refreshing look at a timely topic for a world prone to anger and revenge. Through historical, theological, educational, literary, and social scientific lenses, one easily sees and appreciates the Pentecostal imprint on such valued Christian virtues as forgiveness, reconciliation, and justice. Congratulations to each contributor, and especially to editors Mittelstadt and Sutton, for a job well done.”

   — Peter Hill, Biola University

 

***************

 

“This volume is rich with godly and pastoral wisdom from an international panel of Pentecostal scholars who explore the Scriptures and offer practical advice on what it means to be people of the Spirit. Numerous contributors have lived through pain and responded with forgiveness, sought reconciliation, and worked to restore people to wholeness. All of them encourage thoughtful reflection on an ever-relevant topic in a world bent on violence. This book belongs in Bible study settings, the college classroom, and the pastor’s study!”

   — George O. Wood (former) General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God

 

 

***************

“Pentecostal perspectives on forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration?! Yes—finally—those claiming a Spirit-filled Christian life are following in the steps of the Spirit-anointed Christ to engage a world in need of good news that forgiveness and reconciliation apply not only to individual hearts but to people groups and communities as well. A must-read not only for Pentecostals but for all who also yearn to experience and see the fullness of the Spirit of Christ!”

   — Amos Yong, Chief Academic Officer, Dean of the School of Theology and The School of Intercultural Studies, and Professor of Theology and Mission

 

***************

 

“Overall, this compilation of essays voices the many themes of Pentecostal methods of

forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration that go beyond individual experience and into

the communities and religious groups traditionally thought of as undeserving. These perspectives are summed up in the epilogue by non-Pentecostal scholar Everett L. Worthington, which suggests that what makes Pentecostalism unique is 1) the rupture of God into the natural world, and 2) emotion and personal testimony as human response.”

   — Candace M. Laughinghouse- quoted from Pneuma, 33, (2011) 427-466

 

***************

Availability of Forgiveness, Reconciliation, and Restoration

 

AMAZON

 

GOOGLE eBooks

 

Pickwick / WipfandStock

 

For additional books on forgiveness and reconciliation, click here.


Table of Contents

Introduction

 A Theological Perspective

 Pentecostals and the Gospel of Peace: Spirit and Reconciliation in Luke-Acts

By Martin W. Mittelstadt

 Literary Perspectives

 Pentecostals, Postmodernism, and The Shack

By Robert Berg

 Art Imitates Life: Literary and Life Lessons about Death and Forgiveness

By Marilyn Quigley and Diane Awbrey

 Historical Perspectives

 The Azusa Street Revival and Racial Reconciliation

By Renea Brathwaite

 I’m Sorry, My Brother: A Reconciliation Journey

By Lois E. Olena

 From Forbidden Fire to a Different Spirit: A Pentecostal Approach to Interfaith Forgiveness and Reconciliation

By Tony Richie

 Psychological Perspectives

 The Psychology of Forgiveness, Reconciliation, and Restoration: Integrating Traditional and Pentecostal Theological Perspectives with Psychology

By Geoffrey W. Sutton

 Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: A Pentecostal Perspective

By Johan Mostert and Mervin van der Spuy

 A Sociological Perspective

 Public Acts of Forgiveness: What Happens When Canadian Churches and Governments Seek Forgiveness for Social Sins of the Past?

By Michael Wilkinson

 Educational Perspective

 Learning Forgiveness and Reconciliation: A Model for Education for Peace in Rwanda

By Jeff Hittenberger & Patrick Mureithi

 Epilogue

 By Everett L. Worthington, Jr.

 

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Monday, October 26, 2020

Moving Forward with Self-Forgiveness

 


Moving Forward

Six Steps to Forgiving Yourself     

and

Breaking Free from the Past

By

 Everett L. Worthington Jr.

Reviewed by

  Geoffrey W. Sutton

 

Ev (Everett L. Worthington Jr. Ph.D.) has a real life story to tell. Ev is an internationally recognized forgiveness scholar who has studied forgiveness as a scientist, helped others forgive as a psychologist, and spread the good news freely in workshops and on his website. But Moving Forward is different. Moving Forward helps us to forgive ourselves. And more than that—Moving Forward is intensely personal. Ev tells his own struggle with self-forgiveness as he dealt with his mother’s murder and his brother’s suicide.

Worthington shares six steps to self-forgiveness. He blends science, stories, and faith as he reveals how to forgive ourselves. I will briefly describe the steps below.

1. Receive God’s forgiveness. Ev is a Christian so it is natural that he would begin the process by confession of past wrongdoing with a reminder to accept God’s forgiveness and the accompanying peace of mind.

2. Repair relationships. Sometimes, we have wronged others. Sometimes it is possible to repair those relationships by confession, apologies, and restitution. Sometimes, we can make matters worse by re-contact some people. But sometimes it is not possible, wise, or safe to interact with others so, we can help others who have been wronged and struggle with forgiveness.

3. Rethink the messages you send to yourself. Ev has studied the science of rumination. Many of us have regrets, which turn into self-blame and self-condemnation. Such recurrent thoughts can be reduced using cognitive and religious methods.

4. REACH emotional self-forgiveness. Ev draws on his REACH model to show how the five steps can be applied to ourselves. REACH is an acrostic: R = Recall the hurt, E = Empathize with yourself, A = give an altruistic gift of understanding and forgiveness to yourself, C = Commit to emotional self-forgiveness, and H = Hold on to self-forgiveness.

5. Rebuild self-acceptance. We can accept ourselves as imperfect yet valuable.

6. Resolve to live virtuously. We know from experience that we will not be perfect. However, we can learn to support others and give to them.

********

Moving Forward is a different kind of forgiveness book. Ev has blended personal stories, Christian spirituality, and psychological science. The book is a gift to those who struggle with self-blame, self-condemnation, and the burden of guilt. I recommend Moving Forward to any who need to let their past failings go and move forward. I think it can be a valuable recommendation for counselors and psychotherapists as well.

Buy: Moving Forward on AMAZON     GOOGLE BOOKS

Find other books on Forgiveness here.

Cite this review

Sutton, G.W. (2020, October 26). Moving Forward with Self-Forgiveness. Sutton Reviews. https://suttonreviews.suttong.com/2020/10/moving-forward-with-self-forgiveness.html 

Self-Forgiveness - Ev Worthington on YouTube



Book Reference

Worthington, E. L. Jr. (2013). Moving Forward: Six Steps to Forgiving Yourself and Breaking Free from the Past. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press.

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 Disclosure

I received my copy of Moving Forward from Ev Worthington whom I have known since 1974 when we were students at the University of Missouri.

 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

 

Forgiveness:   

Psychological Theory,

Research, and Practice

By Everett L. Worthington Jr.   

Reviewed by

  Geoffrey W. Sutton

 

Worthington grabs our attention in the preface: “on January 2, 1996 . . . I encountered the most difficult transgression I ever had to wrestle with (x).” His account of a horrendous personal tragedy, the murder of his mother, adds an important dimension of depth to this scholarly treatise.

Worthington states his purpose as describing a theory of forgiveness. Initially, he suggests a metatheory that will incorporate research from biological, psychological, and other perspectives. He narrows the scope of his enterprise to a forgiveness model based on Richard Lazarus’ stress-and-coping theory. I observed that he did not use the word reconciliation in the overview. Although, Worthington does address reconciliation, the primary purpose is the development of a psychological theory of forgiveness.

Worthington divides this project into three parts. In the first part, he lays a foundation for the biological, psychological, and sociological bases for stress and coping in five chapters. Part two consists of three chapters that describe personality traits of forgivers and nonforgivers. The third part includes six chapters devoted to applications. Two of the application chapters focus on reconciliation. The final sections of the book include a conclusion, an appendix containing comments on eight cases presented earlier in the text, and a detailed reference list spanning pages 277— 294.

Before presenting his stress-and-coping model in the first chapter, Worthington provides two contextual elements. First, he hints at a diversity of dimensions of the concept of forgiveness including his focus on the emotional aspect as different from the decisional component of forgiveness. Note that the focus is on interpersonal offenses and the intrapersonal process of forgiving an offender. Second, he provides balanced descriptions of the key concepts in several models of forgiveness that will be of great benefit to readers who are new to this area of research. Readers will find a useful chart on page 30 that provides an overview of various components of a forgiveness model. The chart illustrates the possibilities of more than one pathway from an initial offense to coping with the offense, which includes forgiveness as one way to deal with interpersonal offenses. Finally, there is a useful table on page 59 that delineates the criteria for decisional versus emotional forgiveness. Although not noted in the text, an article likely

written about the same time as a part of this book, referred to the transgression-unforgiveness concepts in terms of a stress paradigm (Sutton & Thomas, 2005). The 2005 article suggested that unforgiveness might be considered a Transgression Response Stress Syndrome. Thus, Worthington’s notion of a stress paradigm is consistent with other literature and may call into question his use of the term unforgiveness, because his theory posits ways other than forgiveness to reduce the complex of negative emotions.

In the balance of part one, Worthington reviews the empirical evidence supporting a significant role for emotion in understanding unforgiveness and forgiveness. A focus is on the emotional replacement hypothesis, the concept that the negative emotions associated with the state of unforgiveness can be replaced by positive emotions associated with forgiveness. The chapters include summaries of general research on stress and emotions as well as studies specifically focused on forgiveness. Although Worthington reviews some biological studies, I think LeDoux’s (e.g., 2002) research and theorizing about the brain’s emotional processing might be worth considering because of the relevance to understanding the emotional dimension of unforgiveness and forgiveness.

 

In part two, Worthington’s review of the research on personality and forgiveness opens with findings from studies of the Big Five Personality Theory and includes findings related to various traits (e.g., forgiveness of others is significantly associated with agreeableness) as well as the role of personality disorders (e.g., narcissism and grudge-holding). The third chapter of the section, Personality Can Be Changed, provides some useful information but may be better placed with part three, where the author discusses psychotherapy along with other applications. The section certainly provides an important overview of the role of personality variables in understanding forgiveness but it is not clearly tied to the proposed stress-and-coping metatheory.

 Part three offers information related to psychotherapy. Here Worthington reviews the components of various models of forgiveness interventions along with empirical evidence for key components such as the assessment of harm and empathy. He includes the findings of other well-known leaders such as Enright and Luskin along with an extensive look at his own REACH model. Two chapters include interventions related to reconciliation in interpersonal relationships as well as in a community setting. The in-depth discussion of the steps involved in these models along with practical exercises and therapy scripts afford the clinician an opportunity to put research into practice at the next opportunity.

 

Find Forgiveness: Psychological Theory, Research, and Practice online.

References

LeDoux, J. (2002). Synaptic self: How our brains become who we are. NY: Viking.

Sutton, G. W., & Thomas, E. K. (2005). Restoring Christian leaders: How conceptualizations of forgiveness and restoration can influence practice and research. American Journal of Pastoral Counseling, 8, 29-44.

Worthington, E.L. Jr. (2006). Forgiveness: Psychological Theory, Research, and Practice. New York: Routledge.

 

For reviews of other books on forgiveness, click here.

 Links to Connections

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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Forgiving and Reconciling - Book Review

 

Forgiving and Reconciling

Bridges to Wholeness and Hope  

   By Ev Worthington

Reviewed by

   Geoffrey W. Sutton

 



Forgiveness and reconciliation were often topics in counseling sessions dating back to 1975. And the topics resonate because they are part of my personal life. In addition, I have studied forgiveness for nearly 20 years. All this said to provide context for my recommendation for this classic text by psychologist Dr. Ev Worthington who is now Commonwealth Professor Emeritus.

The book is divided into three parts. First, Worthington explains forgiveness, the importance of forgiveness, and the Christian foundation for forgiveness.

In part two, we learn about Worthington’s REACH model. The letters in REACH represent chapter titles and the steps that can help people “reach” forgiveness: R = Recall the hurt, E = Empathize (with the offender), A = (offer an )Altruistic Gift of Forgiveness, C = Commit publicly to forgive, and H = Hold on to forgiveness.

Part three consists of the four “Ds” of reconciliation. Let me pause to say that Worthington makes it clear that forgiveness and reconciliation are distinct processes. We can forgive without reconciling. The steps to achieve reconciliation involve Decisions, Discussion, Detoxification, and Devotion.

Worthington and his colleagues have published a lot of research since this book was published. However, the processes in this highly readable book remain helpful.

Availability: Amazon

Ev Worthington on Forgiveness at Biola University






Reference

Worthington, E. L. Jr. (2003). Forgiving and Reconciling; Bridges to Wholeness and Hope. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Other books on Forgiveness and Reconciliation

 

 

Living Well: 10 Big Ideas- Reviews

 Living Well

10 Big Ideas of Faith and     

a Meaningful Life

  By    Geoffrey W. Sutton

Reviewed by

   Various

Quotes from reviewers of:  Living Well: 10 Big Ideas ofFaith and a Meaningful Life

“As a Christian and a psychological professional, it’s rare to find resources which address the interaction of my beliefs and scholarly knowledge. I’m encouraged by Geoff Sutton’s, Living Well, as it offers a unique perspective on Biblical virtues from multiple, complementary views. In a time where many want to divide faith and science, a harmonious combination is found in this book.”

   Chelsea L. Greer, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Counseling Psychologist, USA

 *****

“In the long and noble tradition of virtue ethics, Geoffrey Sutton provides a valuable resource for living the good life. Bible study meets scientific inquiry meets practical how-to, this is a helpful tool for congregation and classroom alike.”

   Dr. Howard N. Kenyon, Vice President, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon

Evangelical scholar in ethics, USA


READ FREELiving Well is on KINDLE UNLIMITED in 2020

*****

“I highly recommend Geoff Sutton’s latest book. As the discipleship pastor at my church, I think this resource would be beneficial for our small groups to use. The abundance of resources included under each virtue—from TED Talks to Scripture passages to poetry/music to helpful questionnaires—provide so much meat for further study and discussion.”

   Jodi Faulkner, Associate Pastor (PhD student, Intercultural Studies), USA

*****

Overtime we all go through life altering and changing events that can ‘make us or break us,’ Geoff Sutton, in his new book ‘LivingWell,’ explores and highlights to us not only as Christians but as part of a wider society of humans, how we are all part of a community and it is through this ‘community’ that we should put our faith into action.

Sutton offers the reader a dynamic perspective shining a new light on the struggles with being a charitable giver with our ego-state. Living Well allows you to become part of the framework, not just as a reader but also as humble leaders in positions of trust over others—how we demonstrate that shows how we serve others.

I fully recommend ‘Living Well,’ as it is a true reminder of – ‘We must hold strong to our faith because it is the very thing that leads us towards the things we hope for. It's the thing that keeps us moving forward, even if that movement seems slow and uneventful. Why? Because "faith without works is dead," (James 2:26). 

    Anita M. Eader, M.A., B.S., United Kingdom

*****

Availability: Living Well is on Amazon and available from various distributors

 Reference

Sutton, G.W. (2019). Living well: 10 big ideas of faith and a meaningful life. Springfield, MO: Sunflower. (On AMAZON). ISBN-10 1796320161  ISBN-13 978-1796320169

Living Well at AMAZON-UK      and AMAZON KINDLE


Book Topics by Chapter

Cultivating Humility

Discovering Courage

Giving Generously

Expressing Gratitude

Building Hope

Practicing Forgiveness

Finding Rest

Strengthening Self-Control

Celebrating Joy

Demonstrating Love


 

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FORGIVENESS & RECONCILIATION: BOOK REVIEWS

 


FORGIVENESS & RECONCILIATION:  BOOK REVIEWS

In the course of conducting research on forgiveness and reconciliation, I have read a number of books. Some I have reviewed are included in this list with links to the reviews.

READ FREE:  Some books are on KINDLE UNLIMITED and can be read at no additional charge.


Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy

by Kraybill, Nolt, and Weaver-Zercher 


Read Review



BUY on AMAZON


BUY on GOOGLE

The Art of Forgiving by Lewis Smedes 


      Read 

Review


BUY on AMAZON


BUY on GOOGLE

 Forgive for good: A proven prescription for health and happiness by Fred Luskin 



Read

Review


BUY on AMAZON


BUY on GOOGLE

 Forgiveness is a Choice:  A step-by-step process for resolving anger and restoring hope

by Robert D. Enright.


Read

 Review


BUY on AMAZON


BUY on GOOGLE


Forgiveness: Psychological Theory, Research, and Practice by Ev Worthington

Forgiveness Therapy: An Empirical Guide For Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope

by Enright and Fitzgibbons 

Forgiveness, Reconciliation, and Restoration: Multidisciplinary Studies from a Pentecostal Perspective Edited by Martin W. Mittelstadt and Geoffrey W. Sutton 


Read Review


BUY on AMAZON


BUY on GOOGLE


  Forgiving and Reconciling; Bridges to Wholeness and Hope by Ev Worthington 


Read Review


BUY on AMAZON


BUY on GOOGLE

 Freeof Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace  by Miroslav Wolf 



Read Review


BUY on AMAZON


BUY on GOOGLE

 Handbook of Forgiveness, Second Edition edited by Worthington and Wade

 

Living Well: 10 Big Ideas of Faith and a Meaningful Life by Geoffrey W. Sutton 

(See Chapter 6) 



Read

Review


BUY on AMAZON


BUY on GOOGLE


 Moving Forward: Six Steps to Forgiving Yourself and Breaking Free from the Past

 by Ev Worthington 



Read
Review


BUY on AMAZON


BUY on GOOGLE


 No Enemy to Conquer: Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World

The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness by Simon Wiesenthal 



Read
Review


BUY on AMAZON



BUY on GOOGLE

 

LISTEN FREE - Some books may be on audible  AUDIBLE- Free Trials often available.


Stories of Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Left to Tell by ImmaculĂ©e Ilibagiza

 

 

 

 

 


Book

REVIEW

 


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AMAZON

 


BUY on 


GOOGLE

 



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