The Five Stages of Forgiveness in the Workplace
As good Christians, we believe it is our duty to rush headlong into forgiveness the moment we have been trespassed against, as Jesus modeled for us in the gospels. However, in real life, it seems as if we are wired instinctively to do the opposite of forgiveness — especially in workplace settings, where paranoia and competition run rampant.
Our first impulse is more likely to hold a grudge, or to get sweet revenge, or to spread malicious gossip, rather than heaping up loving kindness upon the enemy.
Those feelings of hurt and retaliation run strong, and we instinctively take action to protect ourselves. But Jesus seems to really harp on this subject quite a bit. The gospels are filled with teachings about turning the other check, and praying for your enemies, and walking the extra mile.
It’s just hard, and we may not like it very much. Especially if we have to repeatedly see that scoundrel at the office every day. The point is, though, if we really want to follow Jesus, we must get over our shallow-headed spiritual resistance and face the act of forgiving head-on.
I have found that forgiveness is a gradual process. It’s like throwing your feelings and your spiritual life and your perpetrator all into a slow cooker: sometimes it takes a while until it’s done, even if all the essential ingredients are right there. Here are five distinct stages of forgiveness. Well, at least this is how it works for me.