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What Forgiveness Really Means

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What Forgiveness Really Means

Guest Writer

Talking about forgiveness in nice psychological or theological terms keeps it sterile and at a safe distance. The reality is it’s not nice…sterile…or safe. It’s not cheap, quick or easy either. When you look deeply at the issue of forgiving another person, you touch, feel, see and smell the pain and wounded-ness that was inflicted by the wrong actions that create the need for forgiving in the first place. Forgiveness and pain have a common denominator; wrongful event(s).

Those wrongful events come in all shapes, sizes and situations:

  • your three year old son steals a dollar bill from the top of your dresser

  • your father walked out of your life when you were 10 years old

  • your spouse has an affair with your “best friend”

  • you were falsely accused at work and lose your job

  • your husband physically assaults you regularly and threatens to take the children away and have you “committed” if you try to leave

  • your father repeatedly molested you sexually for the first 11 years of your existence

Care to add your story to the list?

The word picture that comes to my mind is entering into a hsopital full of broken hearts, shattered dreams and expectations, wounded spirits and aching souls - the pain inflicted upon you as a result of wrong actions done against you. We need to tread lightly and with gentleness in this hospital, because it’s you and me - real people, not subject matter we’re engaging. We can’t afford to slap Band-Aids on broken femurs or give aspirin to cancer patients. We can’t afford to quote, “all things work together for good” or say glibly, “what doesn’t kill you make you stronger”, because they don’t help the broken hearts or the shattered souls lying in this hospital. Are these statements true? Yes, they are. But this is not the right place or time. Not now, not yet anyway. First things first. Forgiveness is a journey that will take time - maybe a long time to complete.

I want to walk with you through this hospital full of broken hearts, bodies and souls. If you’re lying in one of these beds wounded and broken, I respect you and want to bring hope and a way of healing that’s real for real people like you.

Whatever your personal background is, forgiving is forgiving. What’s real is real and we need to approach forgiveness with that in mind. That’s the way this book addresses the topic forgiving; one person forgiving another person. The first part of the book walk you through the six practical steps of what it means to actually forgive; for real. There are worksheets for every step to make the process very concrete and do-able. The second part of the book then separates out forgiving from topics that often get mixed in. A big part of what makes forgiving someone seem impossible is people try to stick forgiving, trusting, reconciling, restoring the relationship and living “happily ever after” into a blender and turn it on in an attempt to make a Christian smoothie out of it. No! You can forgive and not trust the person (maybe, because they’re not trustworthy. Hello!) You can truly forgive and not be reconciled. You can complete the forgiving journey and the relationship is never restored.

When we’re dealing with hurting people in this hospital, there’s no room to be inaccurate or try to “fix” things quickly so everything looks “normal” again. I wrote Forgive: For Real to be a real, practical, accurate, thorough walk through the journey of forgiving another person so you can heal and go on with your life healthy and free again…or maybe for the first time ever.


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