HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies (Dec 2000)

Forgiving is a way of healing: Theological approximations<Sup>1<Sup>

  • Geiko Müller-Fahrenholz

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 56, no. 4
pp. 1009 – 1023


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By interpreing a contemporary forgiveness story this article seeks to provide a fresh understanding of the classical penitenial theology in "non-religious" terms (D Bonhoeffer). The "exegesis" of the story shows that forgiveness is a process of truthful encounter with the burdens of the past and of mutual liberaion both for the perpetrator and for the vicim in asmuch as it enables both sides to move beyond the bondage of past guilt and traumaization. Restitution and compensaion are seen as an indispensable element in such a process, with the emphasis being not so much on "repairing" the past than on "preparing" a more just and harmonious way forward.