Skip to main content

Forgiveness is a Choice- Getting to Hope - A Review

 Forgiveness is a Choice

A Step-by-Step Process for   

Resolving Anger and

Restoring Hope

By

  Robert D. Enright

Reviewed by

   Geoffrey W. Sutton



In Forgiveness is a Choice, psychologist Robert D. Enright provides “a self-help book for people who have been deeply hurt by another and are caught in a vortex of anger, depression, and resentment.”

Enright begins by explaining what forgiveness is, what forgiveness is not, and what happens if we do not forgive. His explanations include examples to help understand how people come to terms with offenses and what it means to forgive an offender.

For his definition of forgiveness, Enright quotes British philosopher, Joanna North.

When unjustly hurt by another, we forgive when we overcome the resentment toward the offender, not by denying our right to resentment, but instead by trying to offer the wrongdoer compassion, benevolence, and love; as we give these, we as forgivers realize that the offender does not necessarily have a right to such gifts.

Enright, like other psychologists, advise readers that forgiveness is not condoning, excusing, forgetting, or justifying an offense. Also, forgiveness is distinct from reconciling, which requires building trust between two parties.

Four Phases

Having established that forgiveness is a process, Enright explains the four phases of the model he has tested in research.

Phase 1: Uncovering your Anger

Enright presents a set of questions to help readers identify their anger toward the offender and evaluate the impact of the offense on thoughts, feelings, health, and even life itself.

Phase 2: Deciding to Forgive

Readers are encouraged to consider their willingness to begin the forgiveness process.

Phase 3: Working on Forgiveness

In this phase, readers learn about understanding and compassion, accepting pain, and giving the offender the gift of forgiveness.

Phase 4: Discovery and Release from Emotional Prison

Enright identifies several things we can discover in this phase of the forgiveness process. For example: the meaning of suffering, your need for forgiveness, you are not alone, the purpose of your life, freedom of forgiveness.

Final Chapters

Two final chapters address related topics. In chapter 13, Enright offers suggestions on helping children forgive. And In chapter 14, he discusses reconciliation.

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

I have read works by Robert Enright and Ev Worthington (see list) and find that the scientific evidence for both forgiveness models is robust so, it is easy to recommend them to others. The models are somewhat different but include similar components to help us deal with powerful emotions and recurring thoughts about the ways people have hurt us. An organized sequence can help us reach forgiveness and let go of the past to focus on the present and the future.

Of course, forgiveness is not a panacea and self-help programs for forgiveness do not always work for everyone. Some may find consulting a psychotherapist helpful. Recommendations for psychotherapists can be found by contacting physicians or insurance companies and through professional organizations like the APA psychologist locator https://locator.apa.org/

 Find Enright’s book online:  AMAZON and GOOGLE

 For reviews of other books on forgiveness, CLICK HERE. 

Cite this blog post

Sutton, G.W. (2020, November 5). Forgiveness is a choice-Getting to hope-A review. Sutton Reviews. https://suttonreviews.suttong.com/2020/11/forgiveness-is-choice-getting-to-hope.html 

 

Book Reference

Enright, R.D. (2001). Forgiveness is a choice: A step-by-step process for resolving anger and restoring hope. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Denial of Death and the Meaningful Life- Book Review

  The Denial of Death   by Ernest Becker A Review by Geoffrey W. Sutton The prospect of death, Dr. Johnson said, wonderfully concentrates the mind. The main thesis of this book is that it does much more than that: the idea of death, the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else; it is a mainspring of human activity—activity designed largely to avoid the fatality of death, to overcome it by denying in some way that it is the final destiny for man.  — Ernest Becker, xvii I completed a recent reading of this old classic yesterday (13 December, 2015) because I was interested in Becker’s contribution to Terror Management Theory, which I find so helpful in understanding the ways U.S. leaders are publicly responding to terrorist activities. Becker’s ideas are more than forty years old and many have not withstood the test of time. However, his basic premise that we deny the reality of death in many ways remains valid

WILLPOWER Setting & Reaching Goals- Book Review by Sutton

WILLPOWER Rediscovering the Greatest    Human Strength By Roy Baumeister & John Tierney Reviewed by Geoffrey W. Sutton I go to a gym, which is crowded in January. Regulars know the early Happy-New-Year commitments to fitness will weaken sometime in February. Roy Baumeister has spent a good part of his career studying self-control. His book, Willpower   written with Tierney,  entertains and informs us with an organized set of findings explaining factors that influence self-control. Two critical factors weaken our judgments: food and sleep. We need glucose and sleep to be at our best when it comes to making wise decisions and marking progress toward our goals. A pretty woman can loosen a man’s grip on his career--we hear these news stories from time to time as one political group takes aim at each other's leaders--men who failed at sexual self-control and sadly blame women for their lack of self-control. Fat shaming happens. T

THE RIGHTEOUS MIND by Jonathan Haidt Book Review

THE RIGHTEOUS MIND:     WHY GOOD PEOPLE ARE DIVIDED    BY POLITICS AND RELIGION By     Jonathan Haidt Reviewed by     Geoffrey W. Sutton In The Righteous Mind , Haidt provides readers with a review of moral psychology research, which continues to be helpful in analyzing the culture wars between religious and political groups. I was introduced to the work by an exceptional undergraduate psychology major, Kayla Jordan, who is currently pursuing a doctorate in Social Psychology. Our published academic review is available online . In this review, I provide a summary and some thoughts about the usefulness of Haidt's approach. Haidt's work is organized around three principles of morality. First,  “intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second,” Drawing on the philosophy of Hume and supported by research, Haidt explains how so much of morality is governed by emotion driven, automatic thinking, rather than cool, rational thought. This is a contrast to the comm