Vergeben als Sich-Verschenken
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Because of the doctrine of justification, theology has always orientated the topic of forgiveness towards the offender. The profound consequences of this focus are that the victims' shame is largely excluded from the discussion of forgiveness, and that in worship the forgiveness of victims appears obsolete in the light of the divine absolution of guilt and sin. The aim of this article is therefore to shift focus to the victim's perspective by taking the findings of psychology into consideration. For this purpose, victim-sensitive criteria are developed which examine the phenomena of shame and guilt, the process of forgiveness, and interpersonal concepts of forgiveness. Inner tensions mean that these criteria have implications beyond the level of interpersonal action, a point at which theology can make a decisive contribution. Finally, the criteria developed are transferred into an integrative position of forgiveness which respects the victim's perspective on the one hand and fundamental theological insights on the other hand.