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Therapists and researchers interested in forgiveness can learn from those who have experienced interpersonal wounds and have chosen to forgive. We interviewed 20 evangelical Christian forgivers, asking about motives for forgiveness. Transcripts were analyzed using qualitative methods. Five categories of motivation are presented: comfort, duty, relational, humility/empathy, and Christian beliefs. Respondents described multiple motives for forgiveness, often combining a desire for comfort or a sense of duty with their Christian beliefs. Four implications for Christian marriage and family therapists are discussed: Expect diversity, avoid moralistic views of motives, remember religious resources in the forgiveness process, and expect benefits, but not immediately.


Originally published in Marriage and Family: A Christian Journal, 2, 189-199.

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