Last fall, Pastor Brett Robinson graciously allowed me to use his office to host the online gathering on AltarLive for Calvary back in Ottawa through December 2nd. While I was doing that, I would peer through the stacks of books on his desk. This book was in the pile. He receives a package of books occasionally from a service called “Pastors Box.”
I’m fascinated by the topic of forgiveness. It was the lynchpin in my life. Forgiving my dad in my late teens is how I had a life-changing encounter with God, and has served as a cornerstone for my life so far.
As, I experienced more life, I saw the same principles repeated in John Eldredge’s book “Wild at Heart,” Bill Gothard’s “Institute in Basic Life Principles,” “The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous,” almost everything I’ve encountered in counselling and inner healing and marriage resources, and then most recently in processing grief from “The Grief Recovery Handbook.” Forgiveness is a key component of spiritual and emotional and even physical health. It’s also been described as an art, and something that as we get older, we can expect to get better at as the years go by. You either get “bitter or get better.” What’s guaranteed is that we will all have ample opportunities to forgive.
When it comes to forgiveness, what has really helped me is the Apostle Paul’s words in his letter to the church in Collossae. He writes: “Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive.” For me, that tells me that Jesus knows exactly how I feel about this situation. And, that encourages me. It also tells me that Jesus is my example on how to deal with the situation. This isn’t one of those situations like creation, where I can’t follow his example. He creates something out of nothing. Humans can’t do that. But, with forgiveness, this is something that humans, especially Christians, people who have put their faith in Christ, received the forgiveness of their sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit, this is something that we can do.
And, that’s really good news. Because the alternative, not forgiving, becoming bitter, or burying the offense down deep inside of us is poisonous. That there’s a way out is really, really good news, and we can simply follow the leader.
So, the topic always piques my interest. And, this title is “The Language of Deep Forgiveness.” It had two new words in it that I hadn’t seen before connected to forgiveness. That was “language” and “deep.”
What threw me off was that the book almost looked self-published and the author had a connection to Fuller Seminary. But, it was small and the words were big and the topic is interesting to me, and so I dove in.
I think he’s got some great insights and I think what he’s bringing to the topic can be very helpful for some people. Dr. Gee shows how that forgiveness is an act whereby we accept what’s impossible to accept. And, he does dig down deep into how we process what’s happened to us.
He says that forgiveness rests on two pillars. The law of retribution and the law of restitution. What’s been done to us has to be both repaid and punished. These are laws. It must be. And, so we have to address them in order to be released from the burden of the offense.
He then goes on to give some examples of how you would phrase things to express both what happened, what should happen as a response and what you are deciding to do about it. It’s language to help your heart and mind (and even your body) process the trauma.
And, it’s important to do it in both areas, both punishment that’s due and repayment.
I could see how this could really, really benefit some people. And, so, I recommend this little book.
You can probably find it on the internet at a huge website that starts with an “A” that doesn’t need one more cent from anyone.
But, I would encourage you to start by visiting Dr. Gee’s site – http://forgivewell.com it looks like you’ll end up on the big “A” anyway, but still a good place to start.