Review of ‘The Book of Forgiving’ by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu.

Powerful! This book is a life changer. A paradigm shifter!

Forgiveness is so important and something that is at times hard to get my head around. We all know we have to forgive. Jesus taught us to pray in the’Our Father’ asking the Father to forgive us, just as we forgive others. I don’t know about you but I have a lot to be forgiven for.  I feel like I better get this forgiving thing right because I need plenty of God’s mercy. I feel like God is calling me to have a continuously forgiving disposition.

The book describes a four-step process of forgiveness-Telling the Story, Naming the Hurt, Granting Forgiveness, and Renewing or Releasing the Relationship. Each step is explained in detail with stories of actual events, exercises, journaling questions and meditations. They suggest very specific steps to guide us through the process.

In the ‘Naming the Hurt’ step, it is important to realize that when we are hurt we often lose something. It is normal to grieve that loss and to walk through the steps of grieving. It is important to grieve and not deny the pain. If the grieving process is denied, it can lead to self destruction. By learning from the experience, I can let the experience transform me, not make me a perpetual victim.

Don’t let your suffering make you a perpetual victim.

“Your suffering can embitter you or ennoble you, it’s your choice.”

How? The authors go on to explain that you can become a richer, deeper person by your suffering, especially when you help others with their suffering.

Perhaps surprisingly, the authors explain that it can be harder to ask a person to forgive you then to actually forgive. Much healing can occur when the wrong is admitted. If I choose not to admit my wrongs, they will haunt me. By admitting them and asking for forgiveness, only then I can move on to self forgiveness.

Forgiving self does not mean I don’t make amends but it does mean I can have eternal peace. Not forgiving self is arrogant. Self forgiveness requires humility and a desire to never do it again.

Forgiveness will transform the painful past into a hopeful future. I highly recommend this book for both learning how to forgive and for asking for forgiveness.

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