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      The Forgiveness Tree

      By Dave Henning / June 28, 2012

      When I was in grade school. my parents planted a tree on our front lawn, between the sidewalk and the curb.  One summer day my mom and I came home to find the tree’s trunk nearly severed.  I immediately suspected three tough brothers who lived down the block, previously described in my Short Meditation “Turning […]

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        Forgiveness- process or decision?

        By Dave Henning / June 27, 2012

        According to Dr. David Stoops (Forgiving the Unforgivable), when we are dealing with an offense that is seemingly unforgivable, the answer is that forgiveness is both a process and a decision.  Forgiveness is like grieving.  It’s a process that takes an indeterminate amount of time, perhaps several years when dealing with an offense that feels […]

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          Healthy anger

          By Dave Henning / June 26, 2012

          Earlier in Forgiving the Unforgivable, Dr. David Stoops stated that anger is a necessary part of the forgiveness process.  But not all types of anger are created equal.  Is there a type of anger that is productive? Dr. Stoops describes healthy anger this way: “Healthy anger involves a concern with justice, with protecting you and […]

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            Forgive and remember- Part 3

            By Dave Henning / June 25, 2012

            Virgil Elizondo is a Mexican-American Roman Catholic priest who teachers at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN.  In Forgiving the Unforgivable, Dr. David Stoops relates an experience Father Elizondo had while visiting a monument in Paris, France.  The monument was dedicated to the memory of deported French people who had died in […]

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              Forgiveness and/or reconciliation

              By Dave Henning / June 24, 2012

              In Chapter 3 of Forgiving the Unforgivable, Dr. David Stoops says that when he speaks on forgiveness he’s reminded of the main thing that keeps people in a bind over forgiveness- the belief that forgivenss and reconciliation are synonymous.  He elaborates on the distinction between them: “It is important that we see forgiveness and reconciliation […]

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                “I don’t like your God”

                By Dave Henning / June 23, 2012

                Dr. David Stoops (Forgiving the Unforgivable) tells the story of a young man he was counseling who had been deeply hurt by his pastor and was unwilling to forgive the pastor unless that pastor repented.  Dr. Stoops responded that he didn’t like the young man’s God.  What Dr. Stoops meant was that the young man’s […]

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                  Forgive and remember- Part 2

                  By Dave Henning / June 22, 2012

                  Another common misperception implicit in the phrase “forgive and forget” is the notion that if we forgive we are in effect saying that the offense against us is of no consequence.  Quite the contrary.  Forgiveness is never a magic wand that turns something evil into something good. Dr. David Stoops (Forgiving the Unforgivable) comments on […]

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                    Forgive and remember

                    By Dave Henning / June 20, 2012

                    ‘Forgive and forget’- that phrase most likely has been part of our vocabulary since childhood, when our parents imprinted that instruction in our minds as the proper response to our conflict with another child.  Actually, notes Dr. David Stoops (Forgiving the Unforgivable), that adage has been around approximately 700 years, since the 14th century.  Jeremiah […]

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                      Forgiveness and anger- like oil and water?

                      By Dave Henning / June 19, 2012

                      When going through the process of forgiveness, do the feelings of anger that inevitably interject themselves compromise or jeopardize (guess what show I was watching when I wrote this) the whole process? Dr. David Stoop (Forgiving the Unforgivable) asserts that not only is it alright to get angry, anger is a necessary part of the […]

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                        The role of grieving in the forgiveness process

                        By Dave Henning / June 19, 2012

                        In Chapter 6 (“The Path of Forgiveness”) of Forgiving the Unforgivable, Dr. David Stoops states: “Every painful offense involves a loss of some kind that can only be processed through grief.”  He describes 4 stages in this process.  Stages 1 and 4 are the bookends that hold the entire process together: 1.  Denial or self-blame […]

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                          Defining forgiveness

                          By Dave Henning / June 17, 2012

                          The previous blog ended with Dr. Stoops (Forgiving the Unforgivable) commenting that we want to make certain offenses ‘unforgivable’ because we have misperceptions regarding what forgiveness is and is not. In order to check our belief system regarding forgiveness, Dr. Stoops states that it’s important to define exactly what is meant by forgiveness.  He cites […]

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                            Doin’ what comes naturally

                            By Dave Henning / June 16, 2012

                            When unforgivable (from our point of view) offenses are committed against us, Dr. David Stoops (Forgiving the Unforgivable) says that our natural desire for justice often leads to thoughts of revenge- and that those thoughts often are quite enjoyable.  Yet, revenge never brings satisfaction.  Dr. Stoops cites an old Chinese proverb- “He who seeks revenge […]

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