Project Documents

Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Curtis Fox

Second Advisor

R. Clifford Jones

Third Advisor

David Penno

Abstract

Problem

Forgiveness is a crucial need within the congregation, and the lack of a greater practice of forgiveness is severely impacting the emotional, relational, and spiritual wellbeing of members. This present study investigated causes of hurt within the congregation, and designed a process to assist members in achieving forgiveness to empower them to live a forgiven life.

Method

The Pearson Correlations of Values measured 17 variables of spirituality and forgiveness against variables of avoidance, revenge, distancing, and feeling close. The ] 7 variables were reviewed and validated by Dr. Joan Atwood as a check and balance to personal biases. Forty-eight members were studied, comprised of 15 males, 29 females, and 4 unidentified by gender. ,A focus group facilitated a more in-depth study in forgiveness through a workshop and personalized work. Twenty-t>vo members of the congregation workshop were studied, comprised of 4 males and 18 females. The workshop involved cognitive, narrative, and affirmative techniques in a process of achieving forgiveness.

Results

The correlation matrix showed a number of interesting findings. Some of the correlations were negative relationships. A few were statistically significant: spiritual belief was related to avoidance talk, revenge, distancing, and feeling close (r = .016, .027, .031,039, .041, .057, .071, .078. .085 & .093). These correlations imply that positive belief might inspire more healthy feelings and behavior of closeness for offender, while negative belief, unhealthy behaviors of avoidance talk, revenge, and distance self from offender. Regarding spiritual attitude (r = .000, .010, .031, .048. .052, .061, .063, .093 & .001). These correlations imply that the church's demonstration of understanding and support might inspire feeling of closeness in the offended towards the offender, and community of faith, while lack of understanding and support avoidance talk, revenge, and distancing self from the offender and church community. See table 2 on pages 106-107 for details. There was no evidence to substantiate that the spiritual discipline of forgiveness is easier when practiced in the spiritual community. Apparently humans have similar emotional ways they respond to offenses until empowered to respond differently. Individuals from the focus group and personalized processes of forgiveness used a Likert-type scale to rate benefits. Whereas 65% found the workshop to be very helpful, 35% found it helpful. While 69% felt they had achieved their goal, 10% felt they were still struggling, and 23% felt they were more advanced in the approach.

Conclusions

It appears that the personal belief of an offended member and the attitude of the church community towards the offended and the offense affect the process and outcome of forgiveness. Christians seem to struggle with the virtue of forgiveness as any other people groups.

Subject Area

Forgiveness--Religious aspects; Kingsboro Temple of Seventh-day Adventists (Brooklyn, NY)

DOI

https://dx.doi.org/10.32597/dmin/511

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