St. James' Episcopal Church - Potomac 301-762-8040

Hello friends,

Our conversation this week is about something we all can relate to: being wronged by someone. More specifically, what we do after we’ve been wronged. You probably know where this is going…forgiveness.

We’ve talked about forgiveness before in Stronger Together, but this week we’re going to focus on a particular science-backed strategy called the “REACH” method, which has been shown to make forgiveness a little easier to implement and live with. Here’s a highlight from the linked article:


Think about the hardest thing you ever successfully forgave. Remind yourself that you CAN forgive.Rehearse the benefits to yourself of forgiving, and know that forgiveness might help your relationship, if it is safe, prudent, and possible to reconcile.

Work through the five steps to REACH emotional forgiveness.

    • R = Recall the hurt as objectively as you can.
    • E = Empathize with the one who hurt you. Try, if possible, to see things from their viewpoint. If you can’t, use sympathy, compassion, or even love (particularly in romantic relationships) to replace the negative unforgiving emotions.
    • A = Altruistic gift of forgiveness. No one deserves forgiveness. Forgiveness is your choice. If you choose to give it, it is an altruistic gift.
    • C = Commit to the emotional forgiveness you experience.
    • H = Hold on to forgiveness when you doubt that you’ve really forgiven.
Seek to make a decision to forgive, which is deciding not to pay the person back but to treat the person as a valuable and valued person. This is about your intention to treat the person differently.

Try to solidify your forgiveness by applying the REACH steps and making a decision to forgive in several other relationships that are not characterized by full forgiveness.

Our warm-up question for this week:

What’s an instrument you wish you could play?

See you soon,