There’s a theological reality that is inescapable. We know it because the Bible tells us so. It’s the reason Jesus came in the first place. The reality is this: We are horribly broken people. But we could come to the same conclusion simply by engaging our senses without the gift of God’s written word. We can see, smell, taste, hear, and feel our own brokenness. It’s stuck all over us and all through us like glue. And then there are all the other people who come into our lives. Broken. . . all of them. . . just like us.
Time and life have a way of so driving home the reality of our brokenness, that we have to be in a complete state of denial to not recognize its gnawing ever-presence in our lives. We are broken people who live with, work with, are raised by, equally broken people living in a horribly broken world. And when the broken meets the broken, we find ourselves in situations where the need to forgive and be forgiven are equally present.
The older I’ve gotten, the more meaningful and haunting are those words our Lord taught us to pray: “Forgive us our sins as we forgive the sins of others.” On my trip to Rwanda with Compassion International four years ago, I saw countless first-hand astounding stories of what it means to forgive, as genocide victims and perpetrators were engaging in the costly yet life-giving work of forgiveness. Upon my return, I began to read more and more about forgiveness.
Two weeks ago, I read a book about forgiveness that’s one of the best I’ve ever encountered. . . devoured might actually be a better word. It’s a book that actually releases today. And I’m so excited about it’s content, spirit, and message that I’m encouraging everyone I know to give it a read. It’s Leslie Leyland Fields Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers: Finding Freedom From Hurt & Hate.
I first encountered Leslie through her amazing article published a few years ago in Christianity Today magazine. The article – “The Myth of the Perfect Parent” – has remained a favorite for us to pass on to others. So many have it found it to be incredibly freeing. After contacting Leslie, she told me about her book Parenting Is Your Highest Calling, And Eight Other Myths The Trap Us In Worry and Guilt. That too, has become a favorite of ours here at CPYU. What I appreciate about Leslie’s writing is her ability to communicate powerful and timely messages that are built on a solid foundation of good, Biblical theology. She is a gifted writer whose writings are a gift to the church. This latest book is no exception.
Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers, written along with Dr. Jill Hubbard, takes readers into an understanding of God’s call to forgive that is not only theologically sound, but extremely personal. Leslie unpacks forgiveness not as a mere exercise in theology, but as one who has had to figure out how to forgive a father who, to many in our culture, might be labeled as unforgivable. This is a very personal book at several levels. You hear Leslie and Dr. Hubbard’s own stories. They have lived what they are writing. And because it is personal at that level, readers cannot help but “take this book personally,” as God brings to mind the need to forgive. . . not just fathers and mothers. . . but anyone in their lives who is deserving or undeserving.
How important is forgiveness? Leslie writes, “Often we think the cost of forgiving is too high. But we do not consider the cost of not forgiving. We do not see who we’re becoming. We’re too busy trying to extract our debt that we do not see what it has done to us.” True. But do we realize that?
If you’ve got a pile of books stacked in your “still to be read” queue, add Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers to the pile. . . and put it at the top.
Good news. . . I’ve asked our good friend Byron Borger at Hearts and Minds Bookstore if he would be willing to offer and discount Leslie Leyland Fields new book, Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers. . . and he said “yes”! To contact Hearts and Minds and order your copy, click here.