Forgiveness of in-group offenders in Christian congregations

Chelsea L. GREER, Everett L. Jr. WORTHINGTON, Daryl R. VAN TONGEREN, Aubrey L. GARTNER, David J. II JENNINGS, Yin LIN, Caroline R. LAVELOCK, Todd W. GREER, Man Yee HO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Religious communities, as other communities, are ripe for interpersonal offenses. We examined the degree to which group identification predicted forgiveness of an in-group offender. We examined the effects of a victim’s perception of his or her religious group identification as a state-specific personal variable on forgiveness by integrating social identity theory into a model of relational spirituality (Davis, Hook, & Worthington, 2008) to help explain victim’s responses to transgressions within a religious context. Data were collected from members of Christian congregations from the Midwest region of the United States (Study 1, N = 63), and college students belonging to Christian congregations (Study 2, N = 376). Regression analyses demonstrated that even after statistically controlling for many religious and transgression-related variables, group identification with a congregation still predicted variance in revenge and benevolence toward an in-group offender after a transgression. In addition, mediation analyses suggest group identification as one mechanism through which trait forgivingness relates to forgiveness of specific offenses. We discuss the importance of group identity in forgiving other in-group members in a religious community. Copyright © 2014 American Psychological Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-161
JournalPsychology of Religion & Spirituality
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


Greer, C. L., Worthington, E. L., Van Tongeren, D. R., Gartner, A. L., Jennings, D. J., Lin, Y., et al. (2014). Forgiveness of in-group offenders in Christian congregations. Psychology of Religion & Spirituality, 6(2), 150-161.


  • Forgiveness
  • Spirituality
  • Religion
  • In-group
  • Offender
  • Social identity


Dive into the research topics of 'Forgiveness of in-group offenders in Christian congregations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.