"If your enemies are starving, feed them some bread; if they are thirsty, give them water to drink." Proverbs 24:17 (CEB)
There is nothing more crippling than holding on to anger.
Anger, more than any other emotion, has the power to consume all aspects of our lives, distort our sense of purpose, and destroy our relationship with God. In the passionate and life-changing book Forgiveness: Finding Peace Though Letting Go, bestselling author Adam Hamilton brings the same insight that he applied in the bestseller "Why?" to the challenge of forgiveness. Hamilton argues that revelation comes when we realize that forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves rather than to someone else. He also contends that only when we learn to forgive others and ourselves can we truly receive forgiveness from God.
- Short and sweet
Short and sweet, Adam Hamilton’s Forgiveness gives just a brief overview the most difficult—yet divine--practice of the Christ-follower. This is a well-written, practical primer on the subject of forgiveness.
The book divided into four parts: forgiveness in our relationship with God, forgiveness in our relationship with our significant other, forgiveness in our relationships with family and those close to us, and, finally, an overview of the biblical story of Joseph as an illustration of forgiveness and healing. He uses a great analogy of big and small rocks in a backpack to represent both our guilt over sin (in part 1) and the pain caused by others in our life (throughout the rest of the book). This device works well to tie the parts together, as they would be pretty loosely connected otherwise.
Although there are, as Hamilton himself admits, many other books on this subject out there that are lengthier and more scholarly, this book shines because of its brevity and approachability. That is to say, someone who is struggling with bitterness because of a past hurt, or doubt about whether or not they are truly saved by grace will appreciate how Hamilton cuts to chase and the heart.
But I felt like this book could have gone even deeper into the raw-ness of our struggles with forgiveness and grace, the way a book like The Return of Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen does. It stays pretty light for the most part, and the most impacting passages for me were the stories of people choosing to forgive despite the serious pain they’ve experienced at the hands of others. I think the narration is partly to blame here. Sean Runnette does a fair job, but it would heighten the impact if the tone of the narration matched the deeply pastoral message that Hamilton is trying to communicate. The emotion just isn’t there.
Despite this, I recommend this book for anyone who is struggling with forgiveness, grace, and their identity as a child of God. And it’s short enough to recommend even to those who may not normally turn to a book for direction and hope in the midst of their hardship.
Please Note: This audiobook was gifted as a part of the Christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. This has in no way influenced my opinion or review of this work.
- good narration for the text
Forgiveness, as Hamilton puts it, is essential to our lives. It is due to our human nature to cause harm. Success, freedom, and joy come from “I am sorry” and “I forgive you.” These six words determine if we will have bitterness and pain, or otherwise. Not intended as an exhaustive study on the doctrine of forgiveness, this text instead examines the four common relationships in which forgiveness is crucial: G-d, significant other, parents/siblings, and others.
While each circumstance is unique, Hamilton summarizes the most common relationship struggles that people encounter every day, and this book is the basic summary of how to heal from each relationship hurt through forgiving and seeking forgiveness.
Runnette’s narration is solid for this text, reading at a medium pace and with a slight intonation. He manages to provide an empathetic reading that permits listeners to identify with the text and learn from the material. Whereas prior works have felt slightly mechanical, Runnette’s effort in this text is clearly heard, reducing the amount of “computer” feel to his voice talent narration. Audiobook enthusiasts will find this performance to be a fair pairing to the written material.
christian audio commissioned this review. Read works like this one at scriptedgenius.com.
- Short, Simple, and Easy to Apply
It is impossible to walk through this life without hurting someone or being hurt by someone. God, of course, knows this fact, which explains why he chose to teach us in his word about forgiveness. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas and author of several books, has taken a stab at the important topic of helping Christians understand forgiveness in simple terms in his book appropriately titled Forgiveness.
Hamilton’s work is sweet, simple, and full of application. He illustrates often, depicting carrying the burden of anger like a backpack full of stones. Nothing in this work is too complex for believers to easily grasp and immediately apply.
One example of the helpful counsel the author offers is in the acronym R.A.P. Whenever we find ourselves offended by something that another person does that is not really significant, Hamilton suggest we (R) remember that we have probably done something similar in our own lives, (A) assume the best about the person who offended us, and (P) pray for the person who has offended us. IF we will practice this simple plan, we will find it much easier to let go of simple annoyances before they become big problems.
Hamilton also does a fine job with his explanation of the concept of repentance. The author grasps that repentance is more than mere change. Instead, he presents the truly biblical understanding of repentance as a change of mind which leads to sorrow and a change of action.
I found that the book may have relied a bit more heavily on psychological theory than I would have preferred. An example of this comes in the premise that we forgive in order to free ourselves of burdens, regardless of the actions of others. The author does not back this teaching with a solidly biblical foundation, thus leaving it open to question whether this principle is truly in Scripture or merely in modern therapy. Understand that I’m not arguing that the author is wrong here (it is often experientially true that we feel a release when we forgive and there is also an appropriate way in which we let go of our anger against others before God that is clearly biblical), but simply that I would have liked a more Scripture-driven approach rather than an approach founded in psychology. Since the need to forgive has been present since Adam and Eve, the authors of Scripture and the God who inspired it obviously knew the topic well. Why, then, can we not find letting go for one’s own emotional release as a Scriptural motivation for forgiveness? This leaves me wondering if there is not something missing.
Similarly, the author points out that it is often important to confront those who have sinned against us. However, he does not share with us much about when we can then complete the transaction of forgiveness. I would have liked to find more in this work about the hard question of what to do when a person sins against another and yet refuses to acknowledge it or repent.
Hamilton’s work is a nice, short, and easy read on a topic that is of great importance to Christians. In many ways, the book is helpful. Obviously, a book of this size will not be able to cover every contingency and will not be an exhaustive theological look at the topic. For those looking for a quick peek at the topic of forgiveness, this book has points to recommend it. However, in general I would send readers elsewhere if they really want to dig into the topic. Specifically, I would recommend Chris Brauns, Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds (Wheaton: Crossway, 2008).
As part of their reviewers program, I received a free audio version of this book from ChristianAudio.com in exchange for an honest review. The audio quality of this work, like all the products from this company, was quite solid.
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- Fantastic, thoughtful and forgiving
I can honestly say that this was an incredible book to listen to, the melodic and meditative tone of the narrator totally suited the thoughtful, contemplative and considered prose of the author.
Forgiveness is not an easy subject to address and yet Adam Hamilton really manages to put forward warm caring practical and helpful advice on both forgiveness as an act we must take part in and as an act we must accept.
The metaphor throughout of the pebbles, stones and boulders that fill our rucksack and weigh us down was a genuis one, an example easy to grasp and visualise and really helped add concrete expression to the acts I needed to do, to the forgiveness I needed to grant and to offer, to the realities of my actions across a wide range of real and percieved situations, and to the people I meet and interact with daily. This was a short work, just under 3 hours but so very powerful for all of that.
Be warned though that if you, like me, are someone that listens to audio books in your car going to and from work in peak travelling times, you are likely to realise how many pebbles you pick up and throw out over the very slightest of things, and your journey to work will be a salutory experience for that.
An excellent book on Forgiveness from the author and a wonderful book on audio from christianaudio.com and it's gifted narrator.
- Very Good
I received this book courtesy of Christian Audio for the purpose of reviewing and promoting this book.
I was so excited to begin my reviews for Christian Audio. I love audiobooks and spiritual books. This is the best of all worlds.
Narrator thoughts –
I like this narrator. He has a very clear distinct voice. Some narrators just show up and say the words and you can tell that in their voice. This narrator sounded like he tried to put himself in the authors shoes and read from the authors point of view.This added a great dimension to the audiobook.
Book thoughts –
As far as the book went, I liked that he described forgiveness as a process. Some people make forgiveness sound so easy and fast. I appreciated the Adam Hamilton’s advice on how to reconcile relationships and restore peace. It’s not a one size fits all process, it’s God working in us that brings about forgiveness. “True forgiveness happens when we accept the truth of God’s forgiveness for us. Only then can we forgive others.” This is my favorite quote from the book. One of the other things I like is that he emphasized prayer in every situation and getting personal help. I liked that he didn’t try to fix everyone’s problems, but tried to help you toward forgiveness.