Forgiving and Reconciling
Bridges to Wholeness and Hope
By Ev Worthington
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.
Ev Worthington on Forgiveness at Biola University
Worthington, E. L. Jr. (2003). Forgiving and Reconciling; Bridges to Wholeness and Hope. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
Other books on Forgiveness and Reconciliation