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In Why Forgive? Arnold lets the untidy experiences of ordinary people speak for themselves--people who have earned the right to talk about forgiving.

Some of these stories deal with violent crime, betrayal, abuse, hate, gang warfare, and genocide. Others address everyday hurts: the wounds caused by backbiting, gossip, conflicts in the home, and tensions in the workplace. The book also tackles what can be the ...
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Why Forgive?

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In Why Forgive? Arnold lets the untidy experiences of ordinary people speak for themselves--people who have earned the right to talk about forgiving.

Some of these stories deal with violent crime, betrayal, abuse, hate, gang warfare, and genocide. Others address everyday hurts: the wounds caused by backbiting, gossip, conflicts in the home, and tensions in the workplace. The book also tackles what can be the biggest challenge: forgiving ourselves.
These people, who have overcome the cancer of bitterness and hatred, can help you unleash the healing power of forgiveness in your own life.

Why Forgive? Read these stories and decide for yourself.
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Editorial Reviews

ALA Booklist
A most impressive powerful that tears often impede reading.
Houston Chronicle
Thought provoking and soul challenging...Arnold writes with an eye-opening simplicity that zings the heart.
Linda J. Thorlakson
In Why Forgive?, Pastor Johann Christoph Arnold ventures beyond biblical cliches to delve into the hearts and minds of victims of unforgivable acts. Whether relating incidents from another century, or yesterday's news, Arnold swiftly transforms the reader from objective observer to intimate confidant. In his quest to discover which acts are beyond the capacity of the human spirit to forgive, he draws from the experiences of celebrities, heroes, legends, and just plain ordinary folks.

It comes as no surprise that charismatic leaders like Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. were capable of forgiving tremendous injustices, but what about everyday folks like the father of an Oklahoma City bombing victim, or the mother of a child who was kidnapped from a family camping trip and subsequently murdered? Readers ache with pain, seethe with rage, and yearn for retribution only to watch in stunned disbelief as victims extend the hand of forgiveness to the enemy. As poignant and unique as each story is, their common bond is the revelation that the only way to move beyond the pain is to let go of the anger.
Independent Publisher

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Little more than a series of anecdotes, this quick read might not be noteworthy were it not for its profound and always timely subject matter. Arnold, a pastor and author whose admirers range from the evangelical Right to the secular Left, tells story after story of people who have forgiven despite unfathomable personal tragedy and a vengeful cultural climate. Readers may recognize many of these tales from Oprah, Guideposts and other purveyors of inspiration, but they are no less remarkable the second or even third time around. Despite the fact that he weaves so little analysis in between these anecdotes, Arnold manages to drive home several points that unequivocally answer his titular question, the most powerful of which is that no one, whether victim or perpetrator, can heal until forgiveness is granted. Not one to engage in long theological explorations, Arnold instead allows many of his subjects to speak for themselves in extended quotations, allowing insight into their desperate, brokenhearted rage. Some of these subjects, such as Mumia Abu-Jamal, ultimately choose not to forgive, while others describe a force beyond their conscious control that makes forgiveness inevitable. Arnold also writes about everyday forgiveness in marriage, families, communities and the workplace. In all cases, he reminds us that to forgive is neither to excuse nor to anesthetize ourselves from the pain that attends life and love, but rather to enter again into life's fray. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
From the Publisher
Thought-provoking and soul-challenging…Arnold writes with an eye-opening simplicity that zings the heart. Houston Chronicle
ALA Booklist (Starred Review)
A most impressive book…so powerful that tears often impede reading.
Denver Post
Why Forgive? shows humanity at its gut-churning worst and ennobling best through the experience of people who have endured unthinkable losses and struggled to make peace with their perpetrators.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874862225
  • Publisher: Plough Publishing House, The
  • Publication date: 1/2/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 659,834
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

People have come to expect sound advice from Johann Christoph Arnold, an award-winning author with over a million copies of his books in print in more than 20 languages.

A noted speaker and writer on marriage, parenting, and end-of-life issues, Arnold is a senior pastor of the Bruderhof, a movement of Christian communities. With his wife, Verena, he has counseled thousands of individuals and families over the last forty years. His books include Why Forgive?, Rich in Years, Seeking Peace, Cries from the Heart, Be Not Afraid, and Why Children Matter.

Arnold's message has been shaped by encounters with great peacemakers such as Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, César Chavez, and John Paul II. Together with paralyzed police officer Steven McDonald, Arnold started the Breaking the Cycle program, working with students at hundreds of public high schools to promote reconciliation through forgiveness. This work has also brought him to conflict zones from Northern Ireland to Rwanda to the Middle East. Closer to home, he serves as chaplain for the local sheriff's department.

Born in Britain in 1940 to German refugees, Arnold spent his boyhood years in South America, where his parents found asylum during the war; he immigrated to the United States in 1955. He and his wife have eight children, 42 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. They live in upstate New York.

To learn more visit
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Read an Excerpt

From the foreword by Steve Chalke:

What do you do when your friend gives you a sawed-off shotgun? For Roger, this was an easy question to answer. He used it. And he says that if he had the chance, he'd use it again. Roger's entire life has become consumed by one unquenchable desire: avenging his daughter's death.

Sarah was out on her bike when she was hit by a drunk driver. She died almost instantly. There was no doubt about who was to blame, and the driver (who didn't have a valid license because of a previous drunk driving conviction) was sent to prison for manslaughter. But that wasn't enough for Roger. He borrowed a gun and - when the driver was released from prison - shot him, fully intending to kill him. So now the tables were turned, and Roger found himself charged with attempted murder and faced with the possibility of a long prison sentence. Astonishingly, he was found not guilty. Despite the fact that he had deliberately tried to take a man's life, the jury found his victim -who had never once shown the slightest remorse - so repulsive that they unanimously acquitted Roger. Even so, he wasn't satisfied: if anything, he was more determined than ever to avenge his daughter's death. I asked him if squeezing a trigger and watching a man collapse in agony made him feel any better. No, he said. Only killing him could make me feel better. I asked his wife, Cathy, how she felt. Her answer was even more chilling. I could never be happy if Roger killed him, she told me, because that would mean that I hadn't killed him. I need to pull that trigger myself. I need to see him dead, and know I'm responsible.

Sitting with them in their house, I was overwhelmed by their anger and pain, and by the horror of their ordeal. There was little doubt in my mind that justice had not been served by the light punishment given their daughter's killer: his self-centered callousness shocked me to the core. Yet I also couldn't help feeling that their continued bitterness over her death was compounding their misery. Having been through one hell, it seemed to me that their inability to forgive and let go was putting them through another. Day after day they were letting new hatred and resentment consume them. Was this really what their daughter would have wanted for them - this living hell that was destroying their lives, but which had no impact on that of her killer?
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Table of Contents

1. The Cancer of Bitterness
2. Believe in Miracles
3. Ending the Cycle of Hatred
4. Bless your Persecutors
5. Forgiveness and Justice
6. The Deeds of Mercy
7. When Reconciling Is Impossible
8. Forgiving in Everyday Life
9. Forgiveness and Marriage
10. Forgiving a Parent
11. Blaming God
12. Forgiving Ourselves
13. Accepting Responsibility
14. Not a Step, but a Journey
15. Making Ripples
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2000

    We are not alone

    Every one has something to forgive or need to be forgiven for. My granddaughter, Saira and I are proud to be a part of this book, sharing the message of forgiveness with our personal testimony with the ongoing journey of forgiveness. It is the ONLY way to heal!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2000

    Think you've got issues? Read these stories!

    Even little things -- people getting on my case, or whatever -- used to get me very upset. But this book is a big help; it puts things in perspective. Arnold tells the stories of people who know how to forgive (some even forgave murderers), and also people who don't. The difference is incredible. WHY FORGIVE? shows clearly what can happen, depending on our answer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2000

    Forgiveness, true forgiveness is a gift.

    This book gives good examples of true forgiveness. I mean the kind of forgiveness that really heals minds and souls. Reading about how others with deep wounds can forgive will help readers to realize that this gift of peace and healing is available to each of us through prayer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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