Lysa Terkeurst is no stranger to pain. She was a victim of childhood abuse by a neighbor, and her husband of many years betrayed her by having an affair. She uses her own life story to illustrate both the need to forgive and the difficulty in forgiving those who have wronged us.
Her approach is both practical, empathetic and biblical. The Bible tells us to forgive others because God forgave us. It does not tell us that we will be able to forget or that we will always be able to reconcile with the person who has hurt us. Sometimes we must establish boundaries for our own peace of mind and to avoid enabling the other person to avoid the consequences of their actions. Sometimes the other person involved will never ask for forgiveness or desire reconciliation.
Often a lack of forgiveness leads to bitterness and the desire for revenge that only hurts us. Painful events from long ago, can continue to fuel anger that makes us easily offendable. As Lysa says,
“Holding on to thoughts of resentment is like pulling a belt so tight across the middle of our thoughts that it prevents us from ever completely relaxing and resting and certainly makes future growth near to impossible.”
She emphasizes that forgiveness is a decision, but also a process. Even after we have forgiven a particular person and let go of resentment, it may surface again when we encounter a trigger that reminds us of the event or situation. We need to learn to forgive over and over again, and to forgive daily. She encourages using The Lord’s Prayer each morning to prepare ourselves for the times we will need to forgive that day.
“The best time to forgive is before we are ever offended. The next best time to forgive is right now.”
At the end of the book there are other resources including:
- What the Bible actually says about forgiveness (this lists and explains many verses on forgiveness)
- Lysa’s most asked questions about forgiveness
- How to get the help you need
- Important notes to consider on abuse
- Online resources at http://Proverbs31.org/forgiveness
VERDICT: 4 Stars. A bit repetitive at times, but certainly helpful for those who are struggling with the issue of forgiveness
For more on the topic of forgiveness, see these posts: