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Working Towards Forgiveness – A Model to Bring Peace to Your Life


Pertinent Points:

  • Forgiveness is a healthy and positive action you take for yourself.

    Peace and Forgiveness

  • Forgiveness can happen without reconciliation. However, reconciliation cannot proceed without forgiveness.
  • Apologies are never guaranteed. Forgiveness can occur without receiving an apology.
  • When you forgive someone, you are NOT condoning what they did or implying that it is okay.

How can the P.E.A.C.E Model assist in forgiveness work?

  1. Perception and Clarification. Think about clarifying your perceptions of your needs, values, and desires. Dr. LaVena Wilkin says to ask yourself, “How are you benefiting from holding onto the anger? How would you benefit if you released that anger, resentment, and blame?” Be honest with your responses.
  2. Empathetic Listening. Listen to your heart, and put aside what your ego and pride are telling you. Ignore the voice telling you that if you forgive this person, then you are saying it is okay what they did.
  3. Appreciating Diversity. Appreciate and acknowledge all the different feelings and emotions that are coming up for you. You are not wrong to feel what you feel.
  4. Collaborative Problem-Solving. Forgiveness takes work. While collaborating with the person with whom you are angry is ideal, sometimes that person doesn’t believe they did anything wrong and are unwilling to work with you to reconcile. Instead, reach out to your support network and do collaborative problem-solving with them.
  5. Emotional Intelligence. Be aware of what triggers you and why. Don’t deny your anger, instead acknowledge it. Dr. LaVena Wilkin explains, “When you are aware of your emotions you can discriminate against them and better understand why you do the things you do and why others do the thing they do.”

Your Assignment:

In our interview with Dr. LaVena Wilkin on The Texas Conflict Coach® podcast, Dr. Wilkins’ suggested an assignment that can assist you in forgiving others. This is task is for YOU.  Dr. Wilkins’ asks you to “Think about an area in your life that needs forgiveness work. Use the P.E.A.C.E Model to reflect and work through that area.”

To learn more about forgiveness, listen to the entire episode entitled: Forgiveness: The Gift You Give to Yourself

Abigail R.C. McManus, M.S Negotiation and Conflict Management

Guest Blogger

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Finding Forgiveness- Tips on how to forgive even when it’s difficult

forgivenessEvery Christian knows where Jesus stood on the act of forgiveness. Steve Cornell, a senior pastor at Millersville Bible Church, points out, “Jesus clearly warned that God will not forgive those who sin against us (Matthew 6:14-15; Mark 11:25). It’s not that we earn God’s forgiveness by forgiving; instead, God expects forgiven people to forgive (Matthew18: 21-25).” Even though giving forgiveness is an expectation of Christian people, it is not always so easy to provide. A spouse has an affair, a friend talks badly about you to another friend, a criminal breaks into your house and steals personal items that were important you. No matter what the situation, granting forgiveness to those who hurt you can be difficult. In conflicts, forgiveness is necessary if reconciliation is to occur.

So why is it so difficult to forgive? According to Wayne Stiles, the Executive Vice President for Insight for Living Ministries, forgiving is difficult because “[…] we feel that not forgiving is our payback to our offender. But in truth, unforgiveness tortures us more than it does anyone else.” He goes on to explain, “ The problem with forgiving is that the debt is real. […] And in order to forgive, you must give even more than has already been taken.” Forgiveness is difficult for people who experience a reoccurrence of pain in their lives.

Throughout my life, the challenge has often been granting forgiveness to someone who is not apologetic. I have felt that if I forgave a person who hurt me without them apologizing then they are getting away with it. In an article by Lynette Holy on the Power to Change website she explains, “Forgiving someone does not cancel out the consequences of their actions.” Dr. Andrea Brandt, author of Mindful Anger: A Pathway to Emotional Freedom writes, “By forgiving, you are accepting the reality of what happened and finding a way to live in a state of resolution with it. This can be a gradual process—and it doesn’t necessarily have to include the person you are forgiving.”

Unfortunately, there is not a particular process that works for every person on how to forgive. Depending on the situation and the people, each process is different. However, there are some suggested tips to move toward forgiveness.

Angela Haupt, a senior editor for U.S News, suggests “[Expressing] the emotion. Let yourself feel hurt and angry. Verbalize the way you feel. Ideally, express it to the person who made you feel that way. Otherwise, talk to a stand-in friend or even an empty chair. Write a letter; you don’t need to send it.” Allowing your thoughts and feelings to get out of your head can be a very therapeutic process, people often internalize, and it wears down their energy.

The Mayo Clinic Staff advises that you, “Reflect on the facts of the situation, how you’ve reacted, and how this combination has affected your life, health, and well-being.” Understanding your role, feelings, and thoughts on the situation permits you to gain perspective.

E.C LaMeaux from Gaiam Life suggests that you, “Develop empathy. […] Looking at things from another person’s perspective takes you out of your bubble of hurt, and may make it easier to become more forgiving.” In my graduate courses, we have been required to write about the same conflict from multiple perspectives. Doing this activity has been difficult, but it has allowed me to take myself out of the equation and brainstorm why the other person acted or said what they did. I found it easier to approach the conflict or move on from the conflict once I gained this perspective.

Finally, The Mayo Clinic Staff recommends you, “Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life.” To forgive does not mean you forget, but that you are no longer letting this person or situation effect your day-to-day life.

Granting forgiveness to someone that hurts you is not always an easy task, but continuing to harbor a grudge can be detrimental to your emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual health.

Abigail Clark

Graduate Student, University of Baltimore –

Negotiation and Conflict Management Program



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Theatre of Witness – Finding the Medicine in Stories of Suffering, Transformation and Peace

Teya Sepinuckzena ZumetaTheater of Witness is a form of performance in which the true life stories of people whose voices haven’t been heard in society are performed by the storytellers themselves as a way for audiences to bear witness to significant social issues. The theater productions are scripted from individual and group interviews as well as a variety of creative process techniques and consist of scripted text, music, movement, imagery and film projection. The productions are created with the performers who themselves have directly experienced the issues being explored. Theater of Witness invites audiences to put a face and heart to societal issues of suffering and to celebrate the power of the human spirit to grow and transform. Theater of Witness is a form of peace building and inspiration.


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