The Church as Forgiving Community: an Initial Model

The Church as Forgiving Community: An Initial Model Liberty University Summary To forgive is not to condone, excuse, forget, or even to reconcile. To forgive is to offer mercy to someone who has acted unjustly (Magnuson; and Enright, 2008). The study of forgiveness in this research article leads us down a path of insightful hopefulness for reconciliation, peace, trust, self-esteem and greater self-actualization. Along with humanistic values this article gives the reader a deeper comfort in the mercies that is given from a greater high power when forgiveness is asserted.

The overall premise of “The Forgiving Community,” as an initial model was a great starting point for greater research. Within the article we see why a basic theory could be important and should be implemented, especially in the case of reaching our children before a culture of unforgiveness and grudges engulf them. The main idea of this article was how to train the church community to instill the forgiving model. One of those ideas of how to instill the forgiving model was for forgivers to learn from their forgiveness and understand one must forgive because they have been forgiven for something themselves.

As forgiveness is given and received both recipients, especially the forgiver now see that we all live in a world full of brokenness yet we still yearn to be restored into full fellowship with one another. While the authors were building their case for the forgiving community model they really focused on trying to teach the forgiving model. Looking at forgiveness as a model in the church within the numerous levels of its hierarchy was greatly insightful. Because, this lead to a purpose driven environment that was built on the back of repetition.

This shows an effort not to exclude anyone out of the conversation as one is trying to make a lifestyle of living in the atmosphere of forgiveness. Interaction At first glance this article seemed interesting to me simply because of its title. It was one of those things that you look at and say, should not it be that way anyway. As a pastor I have been teaching on forgiveness and confession for a number of weeks in my bible study class. Everything that has been read and the scriptures that have been used in my study time have validated my conclusions of the past few weeks.

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Not only has my conclusions been validated it has now allowed me to deepen my studies with some empirical materials to allow my class to partake into some knowledge outside of scripture interpretation. This journal piece has challenged me as a pastor to become more psychological in my studies and further deliberate in my method of teaching. There should be a continuum of information that is given out not just from the pastor but from every auxiliary leader so that the message is not just heard but is embedded to all that are receiving the message.

This will lead to the sustainability of a message and a life of character change, which will lead one to a life of self-gratification, healing, love and respect for self and others. Robert D. Enright is not just noted as an author in this article but a lot of his work is also cited in this article. Because of the dynamic references in this article his books are now on my reading list for future sermons and bible study topics especially on the topic of forgiveness.

Along with reading his other works, there is a piece of me that wants to see how he interprets the scriptures of forgiveness through the lens of academics. Is there a more spiritual rational for his belief of forgiveness or is it mere empirical data received through research. Application The counseling session topics that will be used in this scenario are rape and forgiveness. Based on the article we would have to establish a level of comfortability and trust for this conversation even to blossom.

Because rape is such a private encounter and the lack of trust that is in the mind of the victim; encouraging one to release their fears and pains is a delicate task. Initially, I would create a series of messages dealing with forgiveness, confidence, love, misconduct, rejection and/or acceptance. This would be done in a group setting and the conventional church service setting. There would then be a time of self-evaluation and reflection so that individuals have time to process the actions of their past lives.

Afterward, there will be a time of one-on-one discussion to feed the beast of past pains and allow the clients to see since one is still here God has a continued plan past their hurtful ordeal. The subsequent steps of further sessions will be how to forgive others and how to forgive oneself for the past actions after the rape occurred. Using the church as a forgiveness community we will allow others to discuss their past and how they made it through as in the life of Joseph with his brothers in Genesis the 50th chapter.

A beginning and ending of any session would begin like this, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done” (Genesis 50:20, New Living Translation). You can accept the past. No one sin, no one exploits, no one choice on your part is too big for God to handle or for God to work out. Just look at Joseph! The same brothers that plotted, sold, and lied about him had to rely on him for their survival. You can embrace the present. There is no place in your life to ride the, what if thrill ride.

The past is forgiven and gone, and the future is in God’s hands; so you are free to focus on your present: because you’re present is where God’s love, grace and mercy will stream from. You can look expectantly toward the future. Even if you make mistakes today, God still controls your future. Even when things appear to be terrible, you can trust that God is still working out his divine plan for your life. Reference Magnuson, C. M. , & Enright, R. D. (2008). The church as forgiving community: An initial model. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 36, 114-123.

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