The Healing of Relationships

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapter


Some authors, as we have seen, regard forgiveness and reconciliation as interchangeable concepts. David Augsberger, for example, described the burgeoning interest in intrapersonal, therapeutic'forgiveness, the focus of the last chapter, as a'product of the age of individualism'. In the Preface to the third edition of The New Freedom of Forgiveness (2000) he calls for renewed attention towards the focus of'true'forgiveness:'the regaining of a sister or brother. In Jesus' words, that is the goal of faithful forgiving-not the personal release of letting go and healing yourself or finding healing for yourself, but the reconstruction and transformation of relationships.'(p. 9).
In Augsberger's view, theologians and counsellors have got it wrong'when they forget that the heart of forgiveness is about regaining a brother. Instead, he says,'they get caught up in pursuing cultural values of individualism, self-actualization, self-emancipation, and self-healing'(p. 25), claiming that it distorts and reduces the Christian understanding of forgiveness, and that its primary motivation is to make one'feel better about oneself (p. 45). Augsberger's relational focus leads him to define forgiving as' risking a return to conversation and a resumption of relationship'(p. 29).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationForgiveness in Context
Subtitle of host publicationTheology & Psychology in Creative Dialogue
EditorsFraser Watts, Liz Gulliford
Place of PublicationLondon & New York
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9780567084934
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2004


  • forgiveness
  • Reconciliation


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