Near the end of Forgiving the Unforgivable, Dr. Stoops contrasts the true power of forgiveness with the false sense of control we feel when we withhold forgiveness. His comment is reminiscent of T. D. Jakes’ assertion that holding onto anger is not a replacement for losing something we love.
Dr. Stoops states: “We often believe we are retaining or regaining a sense of power and control when we withhold forgiveness, but that is a false sense of control. We think we are in control, but the truth is quite the opposite. When we forgive, we actually regain self-control when we give up (our false sense of) control.”
Dr. Stoops cites a research study reported in a book titled To Forgive is Human (InterVarsity Press, 1997), that indicated that people who truly forgive from the heart feel an increased sense of personal power over time. Those who didn’t forgive or forgave for less noble motives experienced a decreased sense of power.