Damaging Events: The Perceived Need for Forgiveness



Four models of forgiveness are identified; the health model, the philosophical model, the Christian model and the prosocial model. All define the term ‘forgiveness’ in a way which is consistent with their particular perspective. The authors offer a definition of forgiveness and propose an integrated model of forgiveness which seeks to incorporate contributions from all four areas, but is not biased towards any one model. Four levels of transgression are identified and categorized according to the degree of perceived damage. Apology-automatic (Level 1) and apology-dependent (Level 2) responses are distinguished from a forgiveness response which is restricted to Levels 3 and 4. The advantages of adopting a forgiveness strategy for both the forgiver and forgiven as opposed to other responses, i.e., revenge, denial, and condoning are discussed. The authors provide a definition and model which integrates the important contributions from each of the areas discussed.