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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Most Profound Books You'll Ever Read About Forgiveness
Although this is a book primarily about forgiving our parents, its lessons are for anyone who has been wounded deeply by the very people who were supposed to love and protect us the most. Fields goes far beyond the dry duty and Scriptural "shoulds" of forgiveness. Instead, she tells her story like a love song, peeling back the layers of the process to expose the...
Published 7 months ago by carre gardner

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Story, Misguided Intentions.
I didn’t WANT to read this book. I still don’t want to read it, and I’ve read it. This book challenges everything I think concerning my father. Yet deep inside me there’s a voice prompting me to pursue the principles contained within this book. Still, there’s another voice telling that one to just be quiet! It’s maddening. And...
Published 3 months ago by T. Richards


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Most Profound Books You'll Ever Read About Forgiveness, January 21, 2014
This review is from: Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers: Finding Freedom from Hurt and Hate (Paperback)
Although this is a book primarily about forgiving our parents, its lessons are for anyone who has been wounded deeply by the very people who were supposed to love and protect us the most. Fields goes far beyond the dry duty and Scriptural "shoulds" of forgiveness. Instead, she tells her story like a love song, peeling back the layers of the process to expose the beauty of forgiveness for the sake of the one who extends it. Fields tells the story of her and her siblings' forgiveness of a father who was cold, emotionally absent, and unrepentant of the deep damage he inflicted on his children. She walks us through their process of not only letting go of the injustices done them, to then learning to pour out Christ-like love on a man who, to the end, never acknowledged his need to be forgiven. The end result is a picture of the way God loves us: lavishly, undeservedly, faithfully.

A beautiful look at why we forgive anyone who doesn't deserve--or necessarily even want--to be forgiven.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For any of us who have had difficult relationships with our parents, January 21, 2014
This review is from: Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers: Finding Freedom from Hurt and Hate (Paperback)
Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers arrived in my mailbox the day I arrived at an impasse with one of my parents. It's essentially the same roadblock I've been running into for my entire adult life. I was primed to read this and finished it in three days. Not only is Leyland Fields a great writer, she has tremendous integrity on topic. Raised by a father who struggled with mental illness and was mostly absent, Leyland Fields does not exhort her readers to forgive from a detached, academic perspective. She's been there and thankfully done that which allows her to empathize with those of us who have been hurt or disappointed by our parents. If you have struggled to let go of bitterness, anger, or unforgiveness with one or both of your parents, you will be encouraged and challenged by this offering. (And if you have never been hurt by your parents but minister to those who have been, trust me, you won't be skipping pages.) The book is grounded in Scripture and fleshed out by real life experiences. The study questions at the end of each chapter are also insightful and worth working through. WARNING-I would not advise reading this in public spaces unless you don't mind crying in front of total strangers. I started it while on the elliptical at the gym and had to put it down. It's an incredibly moving book.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a good time to shine a little more light on those dark memories, January 22, 2014
This review is from: Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers: Finding Freedom from Hurt and Hate (Paperback)
Even though this is a very good book about forgiveness, it is also a book about how one wants to finish their relationship story with (difficult) parent. Reading this book brings up hurtful memories of my childhood with a mean father. Even though I believe I have done a good job of applying the Biblical forgiveness principles that are presented in the book, the book went on to make me ponder how I want story between my father and I to end. (My father does not have a computer or go on the internet, so he should never see this.)

I appreciated how the author acknowledged that an abusive parent may feel no obligation to ever admit their bad parenting, ever ask for forgiveness, or even want to begin a new loving relationship with their child even as they come to the end of their life. The book also made me open my eyes to the hurts that my two brothers experienced with the same mean parent and could still use help healing.

This book would serve well in a study group. Initially I read through the book academically, and it wasn’t until I discussed several of the study questions with a friend that I could see how to begin to apply some of the Biblical principles to my life.

I now realize my significant but limited influence over how my father could possibly reconcile his bad behavior toward me as my parent. But looking forward, I am determined to reconcile any parenting rifts in my relationships with my own adult sons. Surely there are examples of my bad behavior as a mother that I need to ask their forgiveness for. I want to wipe that slate clean so that they can have as good a relationship with me as possible and have those parental forgiveness issues resolved.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If we do not forgive, we die., January 23, 2014
By 
Joni Powers (Dallas, TX USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers: Finding Freedom from Hurt and Hate (Paperback)
Leslie has never pulled punches in her writing. She takes a hard-scrabble life and gleans redemptive worth from it all. In this book, Leslie and Jill illuminate the process of forgiveness while avoiding platitudes or easy fixes. A Rwandan friend once told me, "if we do not forgive, we die." Leslie seeks life out of the ashes of her relationship with her father. The book includes hard stories where people choose to lean into forgiveness as a way forward into a new reality. I recommend the book for its perspective on what it is to love well in the trenches of human relationships.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forgiveness is essential, January 21, 2014
This review is from: Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers: Finding Freedom from Hurt and Hate (Paperback)
My initial response to Forgiving Our Fathers And Mothers is simply this: it taught me a lot not only about forgiveness, but also how I view myself as a parent. I learned a lot about forgiving myself. Perhaps this is because I didn't go into it with deep-seated hurts from my parents; I have been blessed in my relationships with them. But still I found so much truth in these pages for my relationships with my parents, my friends, my family, myself. Forgiveness is essential to our lives. In the introduction Leslie Leyland Fields unpacks her reasons for pursuing this particular topic: medical findings have shown its importance, it is freeing, restoring, good. She concludes the introduction: "There are many reasons to begin this path: To silence your memories. To forget what's been done to you. To unlock your own hard heart and walk about free. To do good to someone who doesn't deserve it. To restore a relationship." This path to a life of forgiveness is not an easy one, but it is worth every step.

Leslie, along with Dr. Jill Hubbard who wrote an afterword to each chapter, touch on the depth and breadth of this path to a life of forgiveness, essentially asking the question: How do we honor our parents, and protect and free ourselves, when they have injured us? So often the hurts we hold cause us to run from forgiveness, but then Leslie argues that is how we are abandoning ourselves. God's forgiveness is so complete and when we endeavor to be like Him, we can learn to forgive as He does. The reminders come again and again that God's forgiveness frees us "to love more fully" (LLF) and that He "is greater than the power of our past" (Dr. Jill). So to forgive makes us more who we are purposed to be now and tomorrow.

One of the most important aspects of this book is the reminder that our parents (or anyone who has harmed us) are just as human as we are. As Leslie recounts from an interview, "She sees them [her parents] as fellow human beings suffering under the weight of their own inheritances." What an incredible reminder. Just as we are human, so are they; just as we are forgiven, our debt paid, so are they, so is theirs. "We are a found, forgiven, celebrated people," Leslie reminds us, and we are given a gift: grace. I scribbled a note in the margin, a reminder for myself: "Grace is received." Each of us much receive the gift and there are times we must offer it to others and to ourselves.

This is an important book. Life stories are shared, scripture is searched, truth is revealed. There is a lot to struggle through, questions to find answers for, hurts to heal. I hope you will read it to understand something of your own heart, give a new perspective to your past, give a new hope to your future. For as Leslie reminds us: "As long as there is breath, there is hope for truth-telling, forgiveness, and reconciliation." -LLF

This review also appears on Goodreads.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Story, Misguided Intentions., May 9, 2014
I didn’t WANT to read this book. I still don’t want to read it, and I’ve read it. This book challenges everything I think concerning my father. Yet deep inside me there’s a voice prompting me to pursue the principles contained within this book. Still, there’s another voice telling that one to just be quiet! It’s maddening. And frustrating. And I don’t clearly understand WHY I need to deal with this. AT all.

Forgiveness for what my father did to our family is one thing. Reconciliation is QUITE another. Ultimately, that’s what this book is about. Forgiveness to the point of reconciliation.

Leslie’s story is inspiring, if not completely heartbreaking. Some of the stories she relayed from others, make you want to vomit. The atrocities that some parents will do to their own children is horrifying. The pain and misery and fall-out from these abuses are unconscionable. There is no reason for it.

At the heart of the book is the reconciliation between Leslie’s family and their father. A man who abandoned them. A man who would not make his own children a part of his life. A man tormented by a mental disease. Yes, it’s warming, if not somewhat convicting, that her sister was willing to help him through the end of his life, after he had sexually abused her. The story of reconciliation between siblings is the handiwork of a God who loves them.

Yet, I can’t help but wonder, just how much this story helps others on their journey of healing. There’s REALLY no practical advise given. How does one deal when their father is in jail, a life-long pedophile? How does one reconcile that though the person gave life, they are a harm to one’s children?

Is honoring your father and mother TRULY mean reconciliation? Is that what God requires? To re-start a relationship that is the source of one’s issues today? To allow a man, who preys on the innocence of little children, uses them for his own pleasure and damages their souls, back into their life?

I appreciate what the author was trying to convey. But too often, I feel that books like this do more harm than good. Whenever you start saying that something is a commandment you move from an encourager to a judge.

And it could be that my heart is still cold and bitter toward my father. I don’t feel that way. I feel that I have forgiven him, even to the point of exchanging letters with him, and that I do not feel the abuse or what he did defines me. I will honor what he did: Gave me life, raised me in the admonition of the Lord, gave me a solid foundation of truth that has been my comfort. I will NOT allow myself to be drawn back into his twisted view of the world.

I pray for my father. I pray that he finds the deepest, darkness that dwells inside him. I pray that he comes to the end of himself enough that he’ll admit to his Maker who he is. I pray that one day he gets over his pride and admits to us who he is and what he did. If the man would just, for ONCE in his life, admit to his children what he did, that would be a start.

Forgiveness is required. It’s necessary for my healing. I don’t believe reconciliation is. This is what I believe the author was advocating.

Written for: Those needing to forgive their parents so that they may follow the commandment, "Honor your Father and Mother".
Why I like this Book: I’m still trying to figure that out…

Do I Recommend: Only if you are completely grounded in your faith, you are willing to be pushed beyond your ability to reason, and you are healed from your wounded past.

Will I recommend it to my friends – not at this point in time.

I received this book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hope and Healing Insights to Benefit Everyone, January 25, 2014
None of us have had (or are) perfect parents and so this book has much to offer all of us. The title gives the purpose of the book; the subtitle offers the reason why we should read it. Leslie Leyland Fields takes us not only alongside her journey, but shares views of several others' experiences that help illustrate the points explored in the nine chapters. The corresponding wrap-ups by clinical psychologist, Dr. Jill Hubbard, give extra insight to each step and ten study questions encourage further commitment to the process before beginning each next chapter. Clearly, this book does not intend to simply point fingers in guilt and shame; it offers hope and healing which requires some work. The easy reading offers practical avenues for moving through your hurt and toward forgiveness of whoever is keeping you from real joy.

There are numerous references to the Bible which will understandably qualify this book for religious and Christian bookshelves. They should not, however, discourage someone with no Biblical understanding or belief from benefitting from the rich resources this book brings to us.

I requested and received an Advance Reader's Copy from the author. This review and my recommendation are my own.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For my health I must forgive, January 31, 2014
This review is from: Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers: Finding Freedom from Hurt and Hate (Paperback)
I've been reading this book for several weeks slowing ingesting the words of faith and hope in my heart. This is not an easy read for me. I have much to forgive but I am determined with God's help and the wisdom from this book to make progress in my hurting heart. It was good for me to read about reframing my experience and writing it in my mind so as to understand how I will benefit from the pain as others can benefit from my experience. Just as Leslie and Jill have much to offer me perhaps I can offer help and hope to others in my journey of forgiving. God does not waste a hurt and for that I'm thankful. The questions at the end of the chapters are thought provoking...I'm actually on a retreat working through this book. Thank you for sharing your pain Leslie. I've just finished the book and plan to read it again soon because for me forgiveness is a daily act and I want the victory.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Advice, January 22, 2014
This review is from: Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers: Finding Freedom from Hurt and Hate (Paperback)
Leslie Leyland Fields and Dr. Jill Hubbard make a strong case in support of forgiving our fathers and mothers. I appreciated Leslie's encouragement to move beyond forgiveness to honor those who gave us life. Her effort to establish a relationship with her dad, a man suffering from mental illness, offers good reason for all readers to honestly face family dynamics and trust God for healing. While this is essentially Leslie's story, Leslie and Jill include other people's stories, clinical evidence, reference material, and study questions to help a reader not only forgive, but to remember their past, and embrace the good God has redeemed out of pain, abuse, or neglect.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How about we not introduce our kids to abusers?, April 24, 2014
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I want to be clear that I admire the author for putting out a deeply personal struggle into the public domain. However, in light of all of the overwhelmingly positive reviews and my own personal expectations for the book, I have to say it was not quite what I was looking for. I fully admit that it is entirely possible that I am not far enough along in my own journey of forgiveness to understand everything that she was putting forth, so with that in mind, this is what stuck out as bothering me the most;

I became distinctly uncomfortable when I read about how she introduced her children to her physically and emotionally abusive father. I can maybe understand letting teens meet the man for posterity, but she kinda lost me when she had a range of kids--some as young as toddlers--also have access to him. This was not an unavoidable family function, this was a planned meet-and-greet trip. My uncomfortable feeling grew to outrage when she later discovered her father had sexually abused her older sister. All I could think was, "She let her children around this incestuous pedophile!" sure, she didn't know that one detail at that time, but that's almost beside the point. She knew well before that was revealed, that her father had an atrociously destructive track record against children, and yet she allowed her children to be exposed to him despite the fact that she knew he had never entered professional therapy for it. For me personally, that is enough of a red flag that I would most likely not ever arrange a trip just so my child could meet my parental abuser. Discovering he was a child molester was just the icing on the cake, and only reinforced my initial feeling that it was wrong to bring her kids along on an arguably personal choice to reunite with her father.

So I hope you understand why I had a difficult time heeding the rest of her advice. Although I have no doubt that it's sincere and well intentioned, I also believe there needs to be a healthy balance of boundaries and realism. I was lost when she claimed on one hand she accepted her father for the way he was, but on the other hand regretted not being with him at his last moment because she missed out on the highly unlikely chance to hear or experience some kind of loving act on his behalf towards her. This is a sincere question; despite the fact that he had never, ever displayed that kind of temperament--and she had known this her whole life--how then can she feel regret over not being there because she "might have missed out" on something that was simply not going to happen? How can one claim to acknowledge the facts of the situation but yet still cling to this misguided notion?

Then at the scattering of her father's ashes, her brother said something to the effect of "He was never mean to us," as an attempt to try and say something positive in his memory. Both sisters kept their mouths shut at that patently untrue remark, but to me it simply reinforced my suspicion that maybe there wasn't so much forgiveness, as delusion running through the family's choice to reintegrate their father into their life.

Maybe that's what works for them. But I don't think that is going to work for me. I had expectations for more practical examples of what honoring a parent would look like (outside of exposing one's children to danger) without resorting to misty-eyed fantasies of what MIGHT happen or what COULD happen IF ONLY the parent would wake up and smell the roses, IF ONLY we try harder to understand what a difficult childhood the parent had, etc. I understand that there are pages in the book where the authors talk about the importance of disengaging from abusive relationships, and such, but to me the advice seemed frequently at odds with the examples that were given on honoring/forgiving abusive parents.

To me, the most important piece of advice I understood was offered by Dr. Hubbard. At the end of the book she makes the distinction between forgiveness and reconciliation, which I think is invaluable in beginning to have a grasp on how to handle these kind of complicated relationships (or non-relationships, as the case may be). I feel I personally would have benefitted a lot more from hearing about this aspect in more detail, and with additional examples as to how that plays out in the context of reevaluating parental relationships.

As I said in the beginning, no doubt I am simply not enlightened enough to fully grasp Dr. Fields' personal story, and that probably explains why I am the first to leave anything less than a 3 star review. This is simply the opinion of someone who is desperately trying to find forgiveness and honor for an abusive parent, and clearly stumbling along the way.
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Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers: Finding Freedom from Hurt and Hate
Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers: Finding Freedom from Hurt and Hate by Leslie Leyland Fields (Paperback - January 21, 2014)
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