I am finishing up a brand-new book for you!
Debunking Forgiveness has been a long time in the works--parts of it are dated back to 2009.
- It's the result of my own personal wrestling over what forgiveness is and isn't.
- It's the result of trying to understand how forgiveness, trust, healing, and reconciliation work in real life. Especially if the other person keeps doing the bad thing.
- It's the result of needing better answers for my clients who have often suffered terrible harm as a result of being slammed with what amounts to the Christian "F" word.
- It's the result of having some ideas about forgiveness that I haven't seen written down elsewhere.
So, even though people like Desmond Tutu have written books about forgiveness, and that makes me feel horribly presumptuous when it comes to writing ANYTHING AT ALL on the topic, I decided to take the plunge.
My problem is that Jesus says things like:
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30, KJV
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18,19, NIV
But I don't find our common practice of forgiveness to line up with rest for our souls AT ALL. Most of the time, what we do with forgiveness seems to make things worse. We forgive, only to get beat up all over again. Maybe a few people have managed to make forgiveness work, but for most of us, it's a bust. What's up with that?
Here's what I wrote in the introduction to the book:
I think we’ve used “forgive” as a way to shut people up, frankly. We tell other people to forgive because we can’t deal with their reality. We get uncomfortable with the terrible pain of another person, and to escape it, we say, “Forgive.” Then we can check our “I gave good spiritual advice” box and walk away.
We slap each other with the “Christian F word” and think we’ve done a good day’s work, leaving behind a victim now staggering under yet another weight. They’ve got the pain they started with, and we’ve just loaded on guilt and shame, as we imply that their problems are their fault since they haven’t forgiven properly.
How do we make forgiveness into truly good news, and not just another burden for people who are already hurting?
I think we've got to confront and dismantle these myths:
· Forgiveness is quick and easy
· Forgiveness makes me a victim
· Forgiveness condones abuse
· Forgiveness means I can’t confront
· Forgiveness means the relationship is automatically restored
· Forgiveness requires restoration of the relationship
I think when we've learned to look at forgiveness within the context of who Jesus is, and the soul-deep rest he wants for us, we'll find that forgiveness is good news, and not just another burden.
And that's what Debunking Forgiveness hopes to do: relieve burdens and bring rest to your soul.
I've included questions for reflection, so I think it will work well for personal processing, and it might even be a resource you could use in a small group.
We hope to release Debunking Forgiveness in time for Black Friday, because you know it entertains me greatly to have a Black Friday sales event.
And, while we're talking about extra projects. As I mentioned a while back, I bumbled into creating short animated talks just recently. I am having the best time making these!
I want to keep this blog space mostly for big ideas and personal processing. The animations are letting me expand the content of my website, and answer reader questions in a creative way, without sacrificing the heart of what I love writing about on this blog. Win win!
I'm continuing to create animations fairly regularly. I won't always write a blog post about the new ones, but I am publicizing them to my Facebook group, and I'm trying to remember to add them to the "my animations" page here. You can also follow my YouTube channel if you are truly enthralled, or if it turns out I've forgotten to upload everywhere I'm supposed to. Which could happen.
You are welcome to make requests for animation topics, and I hope that you will. My latest animation, on anxiety, came from reader requests. Just use the connect page to let me know what you want to hear about.
I truly love writing and creating resources for you! I hope you like them, too!