The Church as forgiving community article review


The article under consideration is entitled “The Church as Forgiving Community: An Initial Model” by Chad M. Magnuson and Robert D. Enright. The main objective of the authors is to explore the notion of forgiveness and place it within the context of the church community as a sort of environment that is the most promoting and beneficial for its spread. The article provides a brief overview of available literature sources and empirical studies relating to forgiveness and its impacts at various levels with a view to providing a justified foundation for the authors’ approach. This approach concerns the ways forgiveness can be fostered and spread in a church community due to efforts of various stakeholders. Thus, the main idea of the article is that forgiveness is an essential component of daily life and has significant psychological and physical impacts on an individual and the community, in general. Therefore, forgiveness should be introduced and promoted in the church community with a view to creating and maintaining a sustainable forgiving community.


The authors suggest using “a three-tiered holistic psycho-educational approach called ‘The Forgiving Communities’” with these tiers being represented by the family, the church, and the school (Magnuson & Enright, 2008). The approach envisions involvement of all stakeholders, including the church staff with the pastor being the central figure of the process. It also includes various ministers, community members, teachers, and volunteers. The article emphasizes that currently the church can hardly be deemed a community where forgiveness is fostered and promoted, which is rather ironical if to take into consideration that Christian religious texts consider it be a virtue. Forgiveness can be promoted on the basis of various models with the Worthington’s model and the Enright’s model being the most wide-spread. In any case, empathy is an integral component of any forgiveness model and should not be neglected when building a forgiving community.

Withal, the authors suppose that forgiveness is of utmost significance for “psychological, physical, and relational health” and should become an integral part of the church community due to its positive impacts on individuals, families, and the community on the whole. Therefore, the church staff should develop and implement a series of sermons, trainings, seminars, meetings, and lectures on forgiveness that would be customized with account for targeted groups and spread throughout a year. However, forgiveness can be successfully integrated into the community only when its implementation is sustainable, which means that the program aimed at its spread should not be abandoned within a year or two.


Personally, I find this article extremely enlightening and informative not only for professional purposes but also for individual use as well. The two key models of forgiveness described by the authors are quite detailed and can be used both in daily life and while performing professional duties. I have found this article important as forgiving may be quite complicated for me even though I realize that anger is exhausting and is slowly draining my life forces. It might be easier to learn to forgive in a community that would support one at each step of the process. Thus, the authors’ ideas are all reasonable, well-justified, and easily comprehensible, which makes them suitable for implementation in local church communities.


The model suggested in the article can be applied only if all church staff members and community volunteers participate in the process. Even if the entire Forgiving Community model is not implemented, pastors and counselors should use the Worthington’s model when communicating with individuals seeking a way to forgive people who have insulted them. According to this model, the forgiver should be asked to recall the details of the insult in a supportive environment with the pastor being constantly present. Afterwards, empathy should be promoted, while the forgiver should acknowledge the hurt before giving such altruistic gift as forgiveness. Finally, the forgiver should commit in public to the act of forgiveness and maintain this state in the future, no matter how difficult it may be. With the support of the pastor, this process may be implemented in reality and be extremely beneficial for the forgiver who will let go of resentment and anger. Of course, ideas from the article may be applied not only at the community level but also by individuals on their own as well. However, the participation of a competent and knowledgeable pastor or counselor can significantly facilitate the process of forgiveness.

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