The Process of Forgiveness: Reconciliation between Female Domestic Abuse Survivors and their Perpetrators through the works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
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Forgiveness is an essential element in Christian doctrine, and Christians are expected to forgive others of their wrongdoings. Although it is our duty as Christians to forgive others regardless of their crimes against us, it is difficult to implement the concept of unconditional forgiveness in the context of domestic abuse against women. Focusing on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s ideas of forgiving others, I will defend that forgiveness should be looked at with sympathy regarding abused women. While women who undergo domestic abuse should be respected, biblical passages that address forgiveness must also receive reverence. I examine the bitterness that makes it difficult for abused women to forgive their perpetrators, as well as putting the struggle of offering forgiveness in context with Bonhoeffer’s sermons and his life during Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. Furthermore, I address what forgiveness looks like between abused women and their perpetrators. As Christians, we should examine Bonhoeffer’s works to understand why extending forgiveness remains problematic for women who endure domestic violence.