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15 of 16 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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