The Forgiveness Handbook: Spiritual Wisdom and Practice for the Journey to Freedom, Healing and Peace

The Forgiveness Handbook: Spiritual Wisdom and Practice for the Journey to Freedom, Healing and Peace


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Inspiration, encouragement and spiritual practice from across faith traditions for all who seek hope and wholeness through letting go.

We all carry wounds that can bind up our hearts and keep us from fully loving—and fully living—in the present. Our pain may come from devastating trauma or unconscious resentment from accumulated everyday grievances. No matter the depth of the hurt, in the warmth and wisdom of this inspiring guidebook readers will find courage to face the past and begin the process of letting go.

Contributors active as spiritual directors, clergy, religious scholars and retreat leaders draw on the depths of their own spiritual practice, religious traditions and sacred texts to offer hope and encouragement for the journey of forgiveness. They provide a rich variety of practices for cultivating an open and forgiving heart, both toward ourselves and others, as well as step-by-step guidance in the process of forgiveness. They share their insights on:

  • Healing ourselves through forgiveness
  • Overcoming obstacles to forgiveness
  • Letting go of resentment, blame and anger
  • Forgiving ourselves
  • Deciding whether to restore relationships
  • Asking for and accepting forgiveness
  • Receiving Divine forgiveness
  • Fostering mercy in our hearts
  • Seeking peace and reconciliation in our communities

For use by individuals as well as groups in worship or counseling settings, this wide range of perspectives, offered with grace and compassion, will gently move readers toward the wholeness and freedom that come from true forgiveness.

Contributors: Nancy L. Bieber • Rev. Carolyne Call • Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell • Nancy Barrett Chickerneo, PhD • Paul Wesley Chilcote, PhD • William Cleary • Nancy Corcoran, CSJ • Linda Douty • Rabbi Ted Falcon • Marcia Ford • Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune • Tamar Frankiel, PhD • Rabbi Edwin Goldberg, DHL • Caren Goldman • Rev. Steven Greenebaum • Judy Greenfeld • Kent Ira Groff • Diana L. Guerrero • Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar • Kay Lindahl • Rabbi David Lyon • Pastor Don Mackenzie • St. Maximos • Ron Miller • Diane M. Millis, PhD • Rev. Timothy J. Mooney • Rev. Dr. John Philip Newell • Linda Novick • Rev. Larry J. Peacock • Gordon Peerman • M. Basil Pennington, OCSO • Jan Phillips • Susan Quinn • Imam Jamal Rahman • Marty Richards, MSW, LCSW • The Rev. Canon C.K. Robertson, PhD • Rev. Nanette Sawyer • Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper • The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori • Aaron Shapiro • Rami Shapiro • Louise Silk • Rev. Susan Sparks • Aaron Spevack, PhD • Rabbi Elie Kaplan Spitz • Molly and Bernie Srode • Tom Stella • Sohaib N. Sultan • Terry Taylor • Yoland Trevino • Rev. Jane E. Vennard • The Rev. Peter Wallace • Cynthia Winton-Henry

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594735776
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
Publication date: 10/31/2014
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

SkyLight Paths is the publisher of many award-winning personal growth books for people of all faith traditions—and none.

The Rev. Canon Marianne Wells Borg is former canon pastor at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon, and founding director of The Center for Spiritual Development, an outreach ministry engaging in Christian life in the twenty-first century.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix
The Rev. Canon Marianne Wells Borg

Understanding Forgiveness 1
What's Stopping You? 3
Linda Douty
How to Let Go of Resentment 6
Rabbi Edwin Goldberg, DHL
Proverbs on Forgiveness 11
Translated by Rami Shapiro
Crossing the Bridge 12
Karyn D. Kedar
A Choice and a Gift 14
Rev. Timothy J. Mooney
Practice: What Am I Holding on To? 16
Practice: The Log in Our Own Eye 17

Letting Go 19
Leaving the Past Behind 21
Rev. Jane E. Vennard
Reflection: Looking Backward and Forward 23
Practice: The Courage to Forgive 23
Repainting Your Story 25
Linda Novick
The Qur'an on Forgiveness 28
Clearing the Wellspring 29
Nancy Barrett Chickerneo, PhD
Practice: A Clearing Experience 30 Four Rs for Relinquishing 32
Kent Ira Groff
Practice: Emptiness as Space for God 33
Practice: A Focusing Exercise in Three Gestures 33
Practice: "Let It Be" 34
Naming Your Hurts and Fears 35
Nancy L. Bieber
Practice: The Naming Game 35
Practice: The Room 36
Practice: Accepting Love 36
Letting Go of Old Illusions 37
Jan Phillips
What Animals Can Teach Us about Letting Go 41
Diana L. Guerrero

Reconciliation and Forgiveness in Relationships 45
Reconciliation in Your Own Heart 47
Caren Goldman
Practice: Journaling with Others and Self 50
It Starts with You 51
Marcia Ford
Practice: Making the First Move 53
The Sacred Speech of Forgiveness 54
Rev. Donna Schaper
Listening for Reconciliation 59
Kay Lindahl
The Philokalia on Forgiveness 62
Prayer for Our Mothers 63
M. F.
Prayers for Marriage 64
Annotated by The Rev. Canon C. K. Robertson, PhD
Forgiveness in Caregiving 66
Marty Richards, MSW, LCSW
Setting Boundaries 77
Marcia Ford
Practice: Clarifying Your Boundaries 79
Finding Peace in Letting a Relationship Go 81
Susan Quinn
Forgiveness and Grace after Divorce 85
Rev. Carolyne Call
Forgiving Suicide 90
Rabbi Elie Kaplan Spitz
Practice: Journaling about Loss 93
Practice: Letter Exchange 94
A Prayer for Forgiveness 95
Rev. Steven Greenebaum

Forgiveness and the Divine 97
A God Who Desires to Forgive 99
Annotated by Rami Shapiro
Letting Go of a Vengeful God 100
Tom Stella
Reflection: The Moral of Your Story 104
You Accept Us—At Times of Self-Doubt 105
William Cleary
You Are Living a Good Story 106
Karyn D. Kedar
The Psalms on Forgiveness 108
Translated by M. Basil Pennington, OCSO
Offering All to God 110
Annotated by Paul Wesley Chilcote, PhD
Trusting God’s Forgiveness 112
Rev. Larry J. Peacock
Practice: Forgiveness Dance 113

Accepting Forgiveness 115
The Privilege of Asking Forgiveness 117
Rabbi David Lyon
Humbly Embracing Imperfections 119
Tom Stella
Questions in Asking for Forgiveness 122
Rev. Carolyne Call
Ghazali on Forgiveness 123
Translated by Aaron Spevack, PhD
More Than Apologizing 124
Rami Shapiro
Developing Self-Compassion 128
Imam Jamal Rahman
Practice: Loving the Heart 129
Practice: Sacred Naming 130
Granting Yourself Absolution 132
Marcia Ford
Reflection: Being Drained of Self-Criticism 134
Practice: "I Can’t Forgive Myself Because __________"134
Laugh at Yourself 136
Rev. Susan Sparks
Reflection: Laughter and Forgiveness 137
Facing Brokenness 138
Terry Taylor
Practice: Maitri—Embracing Your Pain 141

Love Your Enemies 143
Hospitality to Enemies 145
Rev. Nanette Sawyer
Practice: Self-Examination 148
Practice: A Circle of Love 151
(Draw It Large Enough to Include Your Adversary)
The Gospel of Matthew on Forgiveness 154
Translated by Ron Miller
Encountering the Heart of the Enemy 155
Rami Shapiro
Practice: Dining with the Devil 158
Practice: Dear Hated One 158
A Prayer of Forgiveness for Enemies 161
Nancy Corcoran, CSJ
A Moveable Feast 163
Katharine Jefferts Schori
Praying with the Angels 166
Imam Jamal Rahman

Forgiveness, Justice, and Peace 169
Seeking Justice on the Path to Forgiveness 171
Marie M. Fortune
Wise Justice, Merciful Hearts 175
Rev. Donna Schaper
The Book of Common Prayer on Forgiveness 178
Reconciliation, Retribution, and Justice in Islam 179
Annotated by Sohaib N. Sultan
Prodigals and the Path to Peace 181
Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell
Reconnecting with the Earth 185
John Philip Newell
Interfaith Forgiveness 190
Pastor Don Mackenzie, Imam Jamal Rahman, and Rabbi Ted Falcon
Peacemaking in Our Own Hearts 197
Molly and Bernie Srode
Practice: Affirmations for Personal Peacemaking 198 Dancing Peace and Forgiveness 199
Cynthia Winton-Henry
Practice: Inner Peace Dance—80 Percent Stillness 201
Intercession and Justice 203
Rev. Larry J. Peacock
Practice: Intercession Collage 204

Cultivating a Forgiving Heart 205
Lovingkindness Meditation to 207
Open the Heart and Mind
Louise Silk
Practice: Mettabhavana Meditation 208
Escaping the Blame Cycle 210
Gordon Peerman
Practice: Working with RAIN 214
Meditations of Marcus Aurelius on Forgiveness 216
Bedtime Forgiveness Prayer 217
Tamar Frankiel, PhD, and Judy Greenfeld
Practice: Bedtime Forgiveness Meditation 218
The Fruit of Love 221
Nancy L. Bieber
Living in Love 223
The Rev. Peter Wallace
Reflection: Loving and Being Loved 226
Meeting Everyone as a Stranger 227
Diane M. Millis, PhD
Seeing a World Where There Is No “Other” 230
Yoland Trevino
Pursuing Kinship Rather than Estrangement 233
Rev. Nanette Sawyer

Credits 236

Notes 240

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