Making Sense of Forgiveness: Moving from Hurt toward Hope
Clichés, glib answers, and quick solutions are shared all too often with those who are struggling to forgive or embrace forgiveness. We know Jesus calls us to forgive, but it can be hard to know what that looks like in complicated, messy relationships. Pastor and counselor Brad Hambrick helps readers to understand that forgiveness is the start of a journey that doesn’t erase the past, but honestly confronts hurt and clears the way for a hope-filled discussion on how to move toward healing.
Too often forgiveness is viewed as the culmination of a journey, but when someone says, “I forgive you,” they are not saying, “Things are all better now.” They are saying, “I have decided to relate to your offense towards me differently.” Hambrick helps readers make sense of forgiveness biblically and relationally by addressing a variety of common questions that arise when we have been hurt: Does forgiveness mean restoration of trust? Am I supposed to “forgive and forget”? What is the role of biblical wisdom and boundaries on the road to forgiveness?
Making Sense of Forgiveness speaks to those who are struggling by acknowledging the seriousness of their pain, explaining the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation, and helping readers understand the relationship between forgiveness and emotional freedom. The author explores the characteristics of God’s forgiveness toward us and how that shapes our own forgiveness.
Includes a foreword from lawyer, activist, and former gymnast Rachael Denhollander.
“With gentleness and sensitivity to the real suffering that has taken place whenever the question of forgiveness is raised, Brad lays out a concise and comprehensive approach to understanding forgiveness and what it entails. Much as I did, you will wrestle with what forgiveness is—and what it is not. With insightful reflection questions and practical steps to help wisely guide the process, Brad couples careful exegesis with day-to-day application, bringing clarity and direction to a critical concept too often mired in misunderstanding and unhelpful practices.”
Rachael Denhollander, Speaker; victim advocate; author of What Is a Girl Worth?
“The practice of forgiveness is central to life as a disciple of Jesus Christ. But it is not easy, nor is it always clear how to proceed. Brad Hambrick is a trustworthy shepherd who leads us carefully through a nuanced and practical discussion of this complex topic. Whether you are a person who has been sinned against and are wrestling with forgiving the one who hurt you or an offender receiving forgiveness from the one you hurt, Brad’s biblically-saturated guide will help you take the next wise step.”
Michael R. Emlet, Dean of Faculty and counselor, Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF); author of Saints, Sufferers, and Sinners: Loving Others as God Loves Us
“Extending and receiving forgiveness is sometimes like a sprint. More often it is like a marathon. Running well and finishing the race requires a well-planned strategy. It also is significantly aided by helpful companions. This book is one such companion. It is a reservoir of biblical wisdom. I cannot commend it more highly.”
Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
“There are few voices I trust more than Brad Hambrick. This is especially true as he navigates us through the deep and often tumultuous terrain of forgiveness. From the suffering saint to the seasoned counselor, anyone who reads this book will immediately benefit from its rich teaching on a most important topic. I can say confidently that this will be a resource I will turn to with frequency and joy. I trust the same for all who read it.”
Jonathan D. Holmes, Executive Director, Fieldstone Counseling; pastor of counseling, Parkside Church
“Before reading this book, I thought that everything that needs to be said about biblical forgiveness had already been said. I was wrong. What makes this book unique is how Brad goes beyond the basics to dig deeply into the struggles and the questions we all face when being called upon to forgive those who have hurt us. Brad draws from his extensive counseling experience to address almost every imaginable situation and to correct common misunderstandings. I also appreciate the high regard he shows for Scripture as he offers wise answers to important questions.”
Jim Newheiser, Director of the Christian Counseling Program and Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary; executive director, The Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship (IBCD); author of Money, Debt, and Finances
“Brad Hambrick has done the body of Christ a much-needed favor by addressing the topic and practice of forgiveness with thoughtful nuance to the realities of trauma and abuse. His tone and empathy will be welcome words to those who have had forgiveness required of them in ways that are harmful and unwise. As he clears the debris of unhelpful notions of forgiveness, he paves the way for a robust, redemptive path to forgiving.”
Tim S. Lane, President, Institute for Pastoral Care and Tim Lane & Associates
Brad Hambrick, ThM, EdD, serves as the Pastor of Counseling at The Summit Church in Durham, NC. He also serves as Assistant Professor of Biblical Counseling at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, a council member of the Biblical Counseling Coalition, and has authored several books including God's Attributes: Rest for Life Struggles and Making Sense of Forgiveness, and served as general editor for the Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused curriculum.