Recommended Reading on the Topic of Forgiveness

The Tuesday feature of the Worldly Saints blog references something I have been reading lately. The post is meant to share some of my reflections from the latest book, magazine article or blog post I have or am reading.


On Sunday, I will board a plane to fly to Seattle, WA and then travel up into the Cascade Mountains to speak at SR15 (or Snow Retreat 2015) at Double K Ranch. This retreat is organized every year by Grace Academy in Marysville, WA and co-hosted by Grace Bible Church in Marysville. For the week, classes are closed and all students from 9th-12th grades are encouraged to attend.

This will be my 3rd year to be the guest speaker at this retreat. It is always a highlight to speak – not just because I get to preach 5-6 times – because these young people are some of the most attentive and inquisitive teenagers I have ever known.

The 1st year I spoke at this retreat was on the theme of “Amazing Grace: God’s Pursuit of Sinful Rebels” from the Book of Jonah.

The 2nd year I spoke at this retreat was on the theme of “Redemption: Bought with a Price” from the Book of Ruth.

This year I will be speaking on the theme of “Forgiven to Forgive” from the Epistle to Philemon. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to teach through this Epistle at my previous church in Broken Arrow, OK and study the subject of forgiveness in a little more detail than usual.

In preparation for the week of preaching ahead on the subject of forgiveness, I thought I would recommend three resources for you if you are interested in reading on the topic of forgiveness.

#1 – From Forgiving to Forgiving by Jay Adams. While I don’t agree with Adams’ stance on forgiving being conditional, this is a very thorough treatment of the debate between conditional and unconditional forgiveness.

Sample quote – “Forgiveness is not a feeling, it is a promise – a promise to no longer hold something against another. This means that you will never again bring this offense up to the offender to use against them; nor will you bring it up to another, or even to yourself.”


#2 – The Freedom and Power of Forgiveness by John MacArthur. If you only had enough money to buy one book on the subject it is this one. No other book is more fair biblically and addresses just about every practical question one might have on the subject of forgiveness.

Sample quote – “God is the consummate forgiver. And we depend every day on His ongoing forgiveness for our sins. The least we can do is emulate His forgiveness in our dealings with one another. … These things were constant themes in the teaching of Christ during His earthly ministry. His parables, His preaching, and even the Lord’s prayer all emphasized the truth that those who are forgiven must also be forgiving. Some of the harshest sayings were spoke to people who were unwilling to forgive. … Without God’s forgiveness we would have no hope whatsoever. And when we learn to forgive others, a host of life’s difficulties suddenly are settled. Forgiveness, we discover, is the starting point for resolving life’s most troubling problems.”


#3 – Relationships: A Mess Worth Making by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp. This book only has one chapter on forgiveness, but that chapter gives one of the better explanations and definitions of what forgiveness looks like in our relationships.

Sample quote – “Have you ever said, ‘Oops, I didn’t mean to say that!’ Often it would be more accurate to say, ‘I’m sorry I said what I meant!’ If the thought, attitude, desire, emotion, or purpose hadn’t been in your heart, it wouldn’t have come out of your mouth.”


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