Experiences and Ideals of Forgiveness

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Tammy Stewart
Nancy DeCourville
Kathryn Belicki


There has been a call to examine whether or not people forgive in the way that has been
conceptualized in the literature (Rye et al., 2000). This issue was
addressed using Q methodology to examine participants' perspectives on
their experiences and their ideals of forgiveness. Thirty community
members (20 women) ranging in age from 25 to 68 participated in this
research, which involved sorting 66 statements about forgiveness
according to the level of agreement with each statement. This process
yielded three factors describing experiences of forgiveness, labelled
Unresolved Forgiveness, Compassionate Forgiveness, and Forgiveness
Motivated by Religious Beliefs, and two factors representing ideals of
forgiveness, namely the Christian Model of Forgiveness and the
Humanistic Model of Forgiveness. Our participants' experiences and
ideals of forgiveness tended to differ from the definitions proposed in
the literature.

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How to Cite
Stewart, T., DeCourville, N., & Belicki, K. (2010). Experiences and Ideals of Forgiveness. Operant Subjectivity, 33(3/4). Retrieved from https://ojs.library.okstate.edu/osu/index.php/osub/article/view/8818