Forgiving What You Can’t Forget

What I really appreciate about Lysa TerKeurst’s writing is how honest and real she is. It’s so refreshing to have someone admit to the same kinds of thoughts and feelings that I’ve had, and then discuss how to process and deal with them instead of burying them again.

In Forgiving What You Can’t Forget, she explores how to move forward with forgiving deep hurts, regardless of whether the other party/parties are willing and apologetic, and regardless of how you feel about forgiveness. Forgiveness is both a moment of choice, but then a process of choice. It involves getting specific, and then letting it go. And it is independent of anyone’s choices or actions except for my own. It’s work that I do with God, for my benefit. What others get is simply a byproduct. She states, “I only need to bring my willingness to forgive, not the fullness of all my restored feelings.” A good truth reminder, because the fullness of restored feelings isn’t something I’m capable of on my own.

I appreciated that Lysa makes it very clear, “forgiveness releases our need for retaliation, not our need for boundaries.” Though forgiveness is not dependent on anyone else, restoration, reconciliation, and continued relationship certainly is. And to protect myself from the sins and wrongs of others is not necessarily an indication of unforgiveness on my part. It could be a very healthy boundary.

Lysa uses her own tough story to practically show how to walk the road of forgiveness, acknowledging that some days will be hard, some will be absolute failures, and some will feel like you’ve got it all taken care of. It’s the process we participate in, not so much the end result. She gives a few exercises for her readers to use to begin identifying where hurts have shaped beliefs that keep us walking in more hurt, then practical steps to start feeling the hurt and choosing something different.

For me, this book came at the perfect time. Though it’s not really what I want to be working through right now, it’s incredibly important, and right where I am at. It’s a raw and compelling reminder that to hold on to bitterness and anger truly is only toxic to me. It’s allowing the hurt done to me continue to hurt me day after day. It’s giving someone the ultimate power over me, instead of healing.

Whatever it is in your life that’s been a challenge to forgive and let go, I’d recommend Lysa’s book. But be warned, this is likely to bring up all sorts of things you thought you dealt with but really hadn’t. It’s not a book to read if you’re looking to supplement a comfortable life. But it’s so worth the discomfort.

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