The Book of Forgiving: The fourfold path for healing ourselves and our world


Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu.

HarperOne. 2014

tutu bookThis is one of those books that I have read not only once, but keep it close to dip into from time to time. It’s a gift to all of us to think about the relationships in our lives, how healthy they are and how to consider engaging with any hurts we harbor.

It’s full of suggestions if you decide that you actually want to resolve a hurt rather than simply sweep it out of sight and mind. Consider a grievance you may hold. The suggestion is to find a stone: small enough to put in your pocket but heavy enough for you to be reminded of its presence.

There’s a process suggested to work your way through the grievance to forgiveness. It’s beautiful. The last action involves writing words in the sand that the wind can carry away.

No-one is unforgivable is a central tenet of the book. However, a second tenet is that if forgiveness is tethered to conditions, you may remain tethered. No strings attached is the recommended approach to forgiveness.

And what if you cannot yet find your way to this? Then there is the Prayer for the Unready called the Prayer Before the Prayer:

I want to be willing to forgive
But I dare not ask for the will to forgive
In case you give it to me
And I am not yet ready

The Book of Forgiving: The fourfold path for healing ourselves and our world.

Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu.

HarperOne. 2014

This is one of those books that I have read not only once, but keep it close to dip into from time to time. It’s a gift to all of us to think about the relationships in our lives, how healthy they are and how to consider engaging with any hurts we harbor.

It’s full of suggestions if you decide that you actually want to resolve a hurt rather than simply sweep it out of sight and mind. Consider a grievance you may hold. The suggestion is to find a stone: small enough to put in your pocket but heavy enough for you to be reminded of its presence.

There’s a process suggested to work your way through the grievance to forgiveness. It’s beautiful. The last action involves writing words in the sand that the wind can carry away.

No-one is unforgivable is a central tenet of the book. However, a second tenet is that of forgiveness is tethered to conditions, you may remain tethered. No strings attached is the recommended approach to forgiveness.

And what if you cannot yet find your way to this? Then there is the Prayer for the Unready called the Prayer Before the Prayer:

I want to be willing to forgive

But I dare not ask for the will to forgive

In case you give it to me

And I am not yet ready

….