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The Art of Forgiving Paperback


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The Art of Forgiving + Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don't Deserve (Plus) + Shame and Grace: Healing the Shame We Don't Deserve
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Fifth Printing edition (August 12, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034541344X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345413444
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When a heinous act is committed, sometimes one wonders if forgiveness is even possible. Lewis B. Smedes would certainly advise it. "When we forgive," he says, "we set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner we set free is us." In an easy-to-read yet astute analysis of the meaning and value of forgiveness, Smedes teaches the reader that more than anything, forgiveness is a way of healing. He takes as his model the Judeo-Christian God and outlines the many subtleties involved in forgiveness, such as distinguishing anger from hate, and noting that we only forgive those we blame (including ourselves). Forgetting may be more difficult, but at least The Art of Forgiving can help us along the path toward release and healing.

From the Publisher

We all know the right thing to do is usually the harder thing to do. I am continuing to struggle with forgiving and moving past conflict. I know that bitterness and anger taint my day to day existence, so why hold on to them? What or whose purpose does it serve? I'm not at the point where I could forgive the murderer of a loved one, but I strongly suggest to everyone reading this that you give up a lot of the hostility you carry around from petty disagreements with friends and colleagues. It really will make a difference in how you'll feel about yourself. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

This has to be the best book written on the subject.
James W. Scott
One of the most difficult struggles in interpersonal conflict is practicing forgiveness.
Dr. Carlus Gupton
This is a very well written book that gives you a very deep insight into forgiving.
Eric L. Nystrom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 70 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book helped put it all in perspective for me, I had been deeply hurt by a trusted friend and I did not think I had what it took to forgive. This book showed me the way and helped me to realize that it is not an overnight process nor does forgiving mean reunion with that person. Forgiveness means freedom from the shackles of that painful experience. If you need to forgive and can't find the way, make this book your reference guide.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Carlus Gupton on February 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
One of the most difficult struggles in interpersonal conflict is practicing forgiveness. There are many well-written works on this subject, but few match the depth and sensitivity of two by popular author and seminary professor, Lewis Smedes. The sequel to this one, Forgive and Forget, is a Christian classic on the subject. This volume, The Art of Forgiving, builds upon the concepts of the first. Smedes says: "We all know the right thing to do is usually the harder thing to do. I am continuing to struggle with forgiving and moving past conflict. I know that bitterness and anger taint my day to day existence, so why hold on to them? What or whose purpose does it serve? I'm not at the point where I could forgive the murderer of a loved one, but I strongly suggest to everyone reading this that you give up a lot of the hostility you carry around from petty disagreements with friends and colleagues. It really will make a difference in how you'll feel about yourself." Using many real life examples, this practical book illumines, step by step, the path of healing and the road to peace and freedom. It is an indispensable resource on the subject of forgiveness. If you only get one, get The Art of Forgiving, but if you want to double the blessing, get both.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Wayne McHugh on October 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have bought this book at least four times, because each time I get it, someone desperately needs it, then they ask if they can keep it. Read this book if you've been hurt. It is very readable, and brings out what's really wrong inside. Forgiving very often is God's medicine for the heart, Reading this book may lead you towards a freedom you never thought you could have.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By David R. Bess VINE VOICE on April 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
For people who have been wronged and struggle with negative, consuming emotions, this title is the one to read. Smedes describes in great detail what it means to forgive, and that the benefit is not to the one forgiven, but to the one forgiving. His words here are like a long, cool drink of water to a soul parched from hatred, bitterness and animosity. There is great healing power in forgiveness, and Smedes harnesses that power in this book as few other authors have done.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By James W. Scott on August 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
This has to be the best book written on the subject. It makes you realize that forgivness is the only way to heal pain and hurt. You are not letting the other person off the hook, you are saying that you understand that they are only human and capable of error. The forgivness is on your part only, you do not even have to tell the person who hurt you that you forgive them, it cleanses your soul.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By SL Cole on February 15, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The problem likely lies in your understanding of what forgiveness is... and what it is not. One thing it is not, is saying what happened was okay, that nothing happened that shouldn't have happened, that the person who generated the painful experience isn't responsible for their choices and behaviors. Forgiveness does not involve "forgetting"... it does involve clearly seeing what happened, the impact it has had on you, and taking the opportunity to make different decisons about the impact you will permit it to continue to have in the future.

Lewis Smedes clarifies what forgiveness REALLY is. You have the right to choose to not forgive, to hold onto hatred. You have the right to continue to choose to be miserable. But if you want to be free, if want to move away from the pain once and for all, you must choose to forgive... and Lewis Smedes shows how to do that effectively. There is no magic here, other than the reality that you don't HAVE to stay stuck in anger and pain. It won't necessarily happen overnight... but it can happen if you are willing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B Lovell on January 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lewis Smedes is amazing with words, he is easy to read, and he is very honest. I have read his books and some others like Total Forgiveness, I have found that most people use Smedes as a reference. He says things that just make sense, but that we aren't used to hearing. For example, you have to place blame before you can forgive, you do not justify what someone did because that means you don't have any reason to forgive them if they did nothing wrong. He even goes on to say that we can forgive and still be angry or even feel glad when if they receive justice for what they did. He does not tell you that wanting someone to pay a punishment that fits their crime is wrong, he says that is ok to want justice. Read it! It will help you understand what forgiveness is and is not. Overall I think he is a great writer.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Devon on July 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book was given to me by a friend who knew I really enjoyed books of this nature. One line that I've always said to my friends is something this book expounds on in depth: Forgiveness isn't a gift you give to another person. It's something you do inside of yourself and for yourself. A very positive look on the subject of forgiveness, and learning to let go of revenge and embracing justice instead... I recommend it for anyone who is having issues with letting go of a wrong perceived or otherwise that they feel has been done to them.
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