Cobblestones on the Path to Forgiveness

This seems to be becoming a year focused on forgiveness;  I have written quite a bit already on my process and my Forgiveness Project. A couple of friends have asked me for recommendations of resources that I have found to be useful in my own journey to forgive, I consider them the cobblestones that are helping to pave my way on this journey. Therefore, I have created this resource list. I will likely continue to add to it as I find new things that encourage me.

Coping With Your Anger: A Christian Guide by Andrew D. Lester, Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.

Were you raised to think that having anger was unChristian? It’s not! Thankfully, Dr. Lester was one of my seminary professors for my studies in pastoral care and marriage & family. His understanding, and subsequent teaching and writing, about anger and the outcomes of potential actions was so helpful to me. This book is essential to helping anyone understand the purpose of anger, and what to do with anger. It’s a great place to start when you are still hurting, angry and not yet ready to forgive, but ready to try to deal with whatever circumstance has caused you pain.

Forgive & Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve by Lewis B. Smedes, Harper One, 2007

This book was also very helpful in that it recognized the difficulties in forgiveness. It discussed especially well the responsibility to remember without continuing to hold the pain, with good attention to the reasons behind our reactions. He uses true stories to illustrate the difficulties and importance of working toward a place of forgiveness, where the past is released from its ability to effect today and the future.

Dream Walking by Donna Rose-Heim, Dog Ear Publishing, LLC, 2007.

I include this one because, as a kind of visioning workbook, it helped me to start to see what my future could look like if I took the forgiveness path. The book itself is not about forgiveness, it is about listening for God’s direction in your life. Chances are, if you need to forgive someone & are ready to work for it, this book will help you listen for God’s guidance on how you can do that. It is also appropriate for group study, and the author will do a teleconference with groups who study the book together. There is a discount for bulk ordering (details in the back of the book.)

With forgiveness being understood as a tenet of Christian faith, a good Bible also makes essential reading. And as many of my resources assume a Judeo/Christian understanding of forgiveness, you’ll want to be able to look-up the references that I, and these resources, note in a translation that speaks to you. My personal favorite is the HarperCollins Study Bible-New Revised Standard Version. I’ll be making a list of scriptures, and that will be posted separately.

Guideposts Magazine
, the focus for 2011 is Forgiveness. Each issue this year features a reader-submitted story about forgiveness. Also includes several inspirational stories and quotes, often a recipe, too!

Fetzer Institute based inKalamazoo, MI, the Fetzer Institute has a mission to teach and exercise love, forgiveness and compassion. Their physical facilities offer opportunities for individual and group oriented growth.  Their website is a veritable treasure trove of articles, speeches, activities and seminar/event offerings. Dig deep with persistence, I have found the searching feature to be non-intuitive, but it’s still worthwhile.

Intent is a website where you are encouraged to state your mission, your intent, whatever is; if it’s for today or for your life.Then other members of the site will click on a heart to show they support you in your intent. There are sections on a number of topics, as well as groups and even courses related to them. This is an interactive site! The post that first got my attention was called “Letting Go of Blame,” which, as you read in the aforementioned books, is one of the steps in forgiving those who have hurt you.

Spirituality & Practice is a website dedicated to active faith and spirituality. It has book reviews, suggestions, lessons and information on spiritual practices and making the most of your spiritual life. The link will take you to one of the pages on forgiveness.

Psych Central is a more clinical blog that also has a section on forgiveness. I’ve only read a little bit here but have found this article particularly helpful, “Forgiveness Means Giving Up All Hope For a Better Past.”

Defy Gravity by Caroline Myss

Listening for God: a minister’s journey through doubt and disbelief by Renita Weems

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