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If we want Forgiveness in our lives, it’s very important we understand what Forgiveness is and is not. It may seem simple, but as Dr. Stoop reveals in this book, Forgiveness is a complex process we go through in stages. Having the wrong ideas about what Forgiveness is delays and derails this process.



Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Time for another Christian book review for The Christian Book Corner.

If you’ve read my last few posts you already know what today’s book is. It’s Forgiving what You’ll NEVER Forget by David Stoop. And as you could guess from the title, it’s a book about Forgiveness. In this case, it’s about Forgiving the big stuff, the major violations and wounds and traumas.

Forgiveness is something we all have a hard time with. Forgiveness is so hard to do because it’s so unnatural. It goes against all our natural instincts. But as I said in a recent post, Jesus calls us to rise above our natural desire for revenge and choose Forgiveness. But can we Forgive the big stuff, like murder, sexual crimes, childhood abuse, and other evils??

The premise of this book is: Yes, we can Forgive that. This book says there is nothing that’s beyond Forgiveness. Because when we know and feel we’ve been Forgiven through Jesus of a debt we could never pay, we find the power to Forgive others in turn.

Sound good?? I hope so. Let me tell you a little more.

What’s in the Book

Forgiveness is something I never stop studying. I’m always on the lookout for more Wisdom and insight on the topic. That’s why I was so happy to pick up Forgiving what You’ll NEVER Forget. It sounded like it was right up my alley, and it didn’t disappoint.

I liked the book right away for some “lazy” reasons. It’s short, it’s small, and so it’s easy to read because there’s not a lot of words on the page. Hey, look. I read a lot of books, including many tough reads from other time periods. Sometimes I want a book that’s nice and easy to read, OK?? And this book is definitely easy to read for being so short and hand-held sized.

As for content, the book takes us through the process of Forgiveness, with a focus on Forgiving the big stuff. This book covers topics like why we must Forgive, what Forgiveness is, and what Forgiveness is not.

On that last point, it’s nice to read a book that doesn’t over-simplify Forgiveness. David Stoop doesn’t sugarcoat or downplay anything in this book. He respects and acknowledges the long-lasting pain of the traumas we have to Forgive. It was exactly these most tragic cases who Dr. David Stoop wrote this book for.

His whole argument is that, being Forgiven for so much by the Grace of God through Jesus Christ, we can Forgive all sins against us. Even the worst sins imaginable. What enables us to do this is Jesus and His Forgiveness. Without that, Forgiveness is hopeless or not even real, because Jesus is the key. Even so, Stoop never implies Forgiveness is easy because we’ve been Forgiven by Jesus. David Stoop honors the difficulty of Forgiving from the heart. And I appreciate that.

Even many Christians have a hard time Forgiving, to the point where they are unForgiving people. Stoop recognizes that too. And why is that?? He says it’s because we have the wrong ideas about what Forgiveness is:

Why, then, do some of us want to make certain things “unforgiveable?” I think the only reason is that we have some wrong ideas about what forgiveness is and what it isn’t.

David Stoop, Forgiving what You’ll NEVER Forget, Page 22

If we want Forgiveness in our lives, it’s very important we understand what Forgiveness is and is not. It may seem simple, but as Dr. Stoop reveals in this book, Forgiveness is a complex process we go through in stages. Having the wrong ideas about what Forgiveness is delays and derails this process.

One of the most common misconceptions about what Forgiveness is, is confusing Forgiveness with Reconciliation. Many people choose not to Forgive because they think it means they must Reconcile too. But that isn’t true—Forgiveness and Reconciliation may be related, but they’re different!!

Forgiving what You’ll NEVER Forget does an excellent job explaining the difference between the two. After making the differences clear, David Stoop puts the lie of “Forgiveness = Reconciliation” to rest with one simple statement:

But reconciliation is always an option, not a requirement. We are not required as an act of obedience to reconcile. We are required as an act of obedience to forgive.

David Stoop, Forgiving what You’ll NEVER Forget, Page 112

The most important definition of Forgiveness Stoop gives is that Forgiveness is a process in which we must experience both sadness and anger. Sadness for ourselves, and anger toward the other person. Yes, it’s healthy and even necessary to feel this anger, so we can Forgive!! This is because, as Stoop explains, Forgiveness is grieving. And the process of grieving involves both anger and sadness. If we try to skip one or the other of those painful emotions, we get “stuck” in our Forgiveness.

But it’s on this point, actually, that I will transition to my only major criticism of the book.

Doesn’t Go deep enough

One of the strengths of this book is also its weakness. Since it’s a quick read and a short book, the book doesn’t go as deep into some concepts as it needs to.

One example is when Stoop talks about how Forgiveness requires grieving, which means feeling and expressing both anger and sadness. I’ve read many other books on healing, so by the time I read this I already had good knowledge on how to express and let out both anger and sadness. But a reader without that knowledge won’t find any helpful advice on that here. All they are told is they need to experience both anger and sadness as they grieve, but not given any ideas about how.

This is what I mean when I say the short length and quick chapters, which I personally liked, also take something away from the book.

Having read so many other self-help books on healing from trauma—the big stuff that is the subject of Forgiving what You’ll NEVER Forget—I would say the other books are more helpful on a practical level. I say this even though many of those books (but not all) are secular and don’t have a Christian perspective. What they do right is give practical guidance on how to deal with both the anger and sadness of grieving, among other topics. Forgiving what You’ll NEVER Forget falls short in this area. It tells you the concepts, gives you the outline, but doesn’t fill in the blanks as much as it could.

For that reason I label Forgiving what You’ll NEVER Forget as an intermediate level book about Forgiveness. It helps a great deal if you approach this book having done some Forgiveness work already, and have some background knowledge of your own. A Forgiveness “beginner” will still find a good starting point with this little book. But someone who has already walked a bit of the Holy path of Forgiveness will get a lot more out of this book than the “beginner” will.

The Final Word

Forgiving what You’ll NEVER Forget is an excellent book about Forgiveness. Let’s be clear on that. If Forgiveness is a topic we want to know more about, we’ll find a lot of great Wisdom on it here.

What makes the book so valuable is it gives a realistic sermon on Forgiveness. It doesn’t sugarcoat or downplay anything about how painfully difficult Forgiveness is. It doesn’t overlook or deny the pain of the horrible traumas we must Forgive to move forward in life.

This book does a great job explaining the process of Forgiveness, and what Forgiveness is and is not. It’s a very valuable book for the author’s Wisdom and insight on this most difficult Christian obligation.

It’s an extra bonus that the book is so little and easy to read. Perhaps because of that, it’s also cheap. I got mine for $5. But these are only bonus considerations. I recommend it because it’s a great book first, then think of other stuff second.

It’s easy-to-read nature also harms it a little bit though, because there are a few areas where more detail is needed. That’s why I say it’s an intermediate level book on Forgiveness. That means those who have already spent a little time walking the Holy, painful, and rewarding path of Forgiveness will get much more out of this book than Forgiveness “beginners” who are only starting out.

But it’s still a great book on Forgiveness, and even “beginners” will still get valuable Wisdom from Forgiving what You’ll NEVER Forget. I highly recommend it to everyone!!

Forgiving what You’ll NEVER Forget

by David Stoop. Spire, 2016.

Buy Forgiving what You’ll NEVER Forget on Amazon. (This is an affiliate link. I receive a small commission if you buy with this link.)

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One comment on “The Christian Book Corner #15: Forgiving what You’ll NEVER Forget

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