This little book on forgiveness is one which every Christian should read. It is a short, simple to comprehend book of only 50 pages which can be read in less than an hour. In it the author demonstrates how, as Christians, the way in which we deal with forgiving others when they hurt or damage us should emulate the way that God Himself forgives us and be modelled on His concept and purpose of forgiveness and not our own. Throughout, the discussion is soundly based on Biblical teaching.
Many aspects of Godly forgiveness are covered. What exactly are the ways and means and purposes of God's forgiveness? Why do we find it so hard to forgive and let go rather than revisiting or replaying in our minds the hurt? What does that say about us? If we are hurt by a criminal act, should our forgiveness excise the need for secular justice? What if the other person isn't sorry?
Each reader will find different aspects pertinent to him or herself. For me, two points resonated particularly:
- For God, forgiveness is a means to elicit reconciliation. Forgiveness without reconciliation is incomplete. How often we believe that forgiveness alone is sufficient? Clearly there are situations where, due to circumstance, reconciliation with a perpetrator is unsafe or impossible but generally this should be our primary aim.
- With God, forgiveness is through Grace. We don't deserve it. We do nothing to contribute towards it. We do not merit it. Why then do we so often look to some reason to justify our forgiveness of others? 'He/she was probably having a bad day/going through a stressful time/suffers from low self esteem.' Not only have we probably all done it, we perhaps felt quite noble (even supercilious!) about our ability to be so understanding and reasonable. But the truth is that, on the one hand, we do so because it makes it easier for ourselves (magnanimously!) to forgive and, on the other, we are really basing our forgiveness on the fact that the other person 'merited' it - not God's way of forgiving at all! We must, like Him, forgive unconditionally.
Buy it, borrow it, appropriate it - but read it!
This book was one read recently by the Women's Book Club.
If you'd like to know more contact Liz Turton. Email Liz