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BookMark - Forgiving My Father, Forgiving Myself: An Invitation to the Miracle of Forgiveness
‘God always has a plan’: Encouragement from Will Graham
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A presentation of latest Christian books to hit the stores

Forgiving My Father, Forgiving Myself: An Invitation to the Miracle of Forgiveness

Author: Ruth Graham, Cindy Lambert

Genre: Religion / Christian Living - Spiritual Growth

ISBN-10: 0801094267

Publishing Date: October 1st 2019

Availability in London: Creation Bookstore.

Available in: Paperback

Reviews courtesy of: Goodreads


Forgiving My Father, Forgiving Myself: An Invitation to the Miracle of Forgiveness

When we live with unresolved anger or hurt, the result is nearly always bitterness, broken relationships, and unhealthy behaviors. Unforgiveness not only sabotages our interactions with those around us, it impedes our own spiritual growth and inner peace. And it can happen to anyone.

In her most vulnerable writing yet, Ruth Graham reveals how a visit to Angola Prison inspired her to release the unforgiveness lurking in her own heart--toward others, herself, and even her heavenly Father and her earthly father, evangelist Billy Graham. In this encouraging book, she weaves her own personal experiences with biblical examples to explore what holds us back from forgiving others and ourselves--and what we gain when we finally discover the power to forgive. Along the way, she guides us into our own deeply personal experiences of forgiveness that will penetrate our protective walls and unleash true transformation in our lives.


Joanne Viola rated Forgiving My Father, Forgiving Myself a 4 out of 5 Stars

It is a struggle for us all at some point in life. It was certainly a struggle for Peter, who asked Jesus this question:

“Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” (Matthew 18:21, NLT)

In her book, Forgiving My Father, Forgiving Myself, Ruth Graham shares from her heart on the topic of forgiveness.

Offering a biblical understanding of the concept of forgiveness and its importance in our lives, she gently leads us through the process of forgiving those who have wronged us.

The book shares powerful and personal stories from her own life and experiences. There are many rich quotes which add to the telling of the stories. I found myself constantly reminded of the forgiveness which I was offered even while I was yet a sinner.

This brings a most amazing invitation:
“What fascinates me about forgiveness is that through it God invites us to participate with Him in the miracle. We have a part to play and choices to make – when we submit our wounds for transformation to His holy use and choose to display His character to the world, Go will “intervene in our affairs” and actually change our hearts from bitterness to love, from resentment to restoration. This is miraculous.” (from page 68)

The book is a thought-provoking journey, a journey which can lead to freedom as we extend the gift and miracle of forgiveness.

“A forgiving spirit is home to humility, divine grace, and love, which give witness to a life dedicated to God and filled with God’s presence.” (J. Randall O’Brien as quoted on page 231)

The question before us all is – Will we participate in offering forgiveness?

Aminata Coote rated Forgiving My Father, Forgiving Myself a 4 out of 5 Stars
The ability to forgive is one that many people struggle with. This book by Ruth Graham is a comprehensive look at the process of forgiveness. According to the author, forgiveness is holy. Forgiveness is an opportunity to participate in the character of God.

Forgiveness is a process–one that takes time and effort from the person doing the forgiving. As Christians, we need to get beyond the point where we believe someone has to repent or ask for forgiveness before we forgive them.

Forgiveness is more about us that the person who wronged us. Forgiveness is a choice we make to move on with our lives.

I found this book to be well-written and easy to read. The author was transparent about her journey and encouraged us to be the same.

C.L. Burger rated Forgiving My Father, Forgiving Myself a 4 out of 5 Stars
Ruth Graham’s book Forgiving My Father, Forgiving Myself is a book of self-revelation and vulnerable sharing. Her father, Billy Graham, was well known throughout the world and in the evangelical church, he is nearly a saint. It is not surprising that Ms. Graham reveals her wounding by her father’s abandonment due to his constant travel and ministry duties. The author shares her heart and vulnerability around her abandonment issues on almost every page.

The story is bittersweet since it talks of falling from grace and the journey back to redemption. This book, for me, was bittersweet in other ways as well. It spoke to me of the damage inflicted by the church in putting ministry above family and the ripple effect from abandonment in a person’s life. Ms. Graham also touches on the unspoken rule of the Christian evangelical church that if one is a Christian, and especially a child or spouse of a well-known Christian, one must always appear perfect on the outside while denying deep wounds at the same time. Ms. Graham’s book speaks of the shame birthed in that environment and how shame wreaks havoc through life choices.

This book addressed forgiveness but more importantly, the author acknowledges the challenges one faces to forgive; which helps the reader feel understood and even hopeful if they are still struggling to forgive someone in their own life. The story became disjointed for me near the end of the book when the author seemed to fall into a “Bible study mode” as opposed to telling her story. Nonetheless, it is a good read and I would recommend it to anyone who seeks to forgive others or themselves.

Barb Wild rated Forgiving My Father, Forgiving Myself a 4 out of 5 Stars
I liked this book. It reminds me something of my own life experiences and have passed the book on to my book club. Positive all the way.

Donna Pingry rated Forgiving My Father, Forgiving Myself a 2 out of 5 Stars
Her previous book "In Every Pew Sits Broken Heart" touched me at a time when I was really hurting. I think I read it 2-3 times to get it all. This book I will give away immediately. It took me a month to complete it because I kept putting it down to read something more interesting. It's an important subject. This did not do it justice.

Pat Roseman rated Forgiving My Father, Forgiving Myself a 3 out of 5 Stars
good read on the subject of forgiveness, but nothing I haven't heard before. A lot of personal stories from her own life and how her feelings of abandonment shaped her and may have been behind so many failed marriages. An honest and vulnerable presentation.

Bob rated Forgiving My Father, Forgiving Myself a 4 out of 5 Stars
Ruth Graham was leading a team into Angola Prison when she encountered Michael, on death row for murder, and yet at peace with God. Graham learns the amazing story of how the grandfather of the murderer's victim had forgiven him and was praying for him. It led Ruth on a journey where forgiveness went from head knowledge to transformation in her life.

Ruth grew up in an extraordinary family. Her father was Billy Graham. Such a family carries its own stresses, that Ruth speaks about, never bitterly or cynically, but honestly. She made a series of bad choices in marriages, going through four divorces. Her mother's advice was often less than helpful. She also began to see that she had a deep wound in her life from her father's long absences. Despite her love for him, and his for her, she struggled with feelings of abandonment, and anger. Graham never excuses her own bad decisions, but weaves her journey of learning to forgive her father, forgive her self, and seek the forgiveness of others with biblical principles of how we forgive, and the tough issues of forgiving when forgiveness is not sought or rejected, when those we forgive are no longer around, and forgiving when the other person is not safe to be around.

She helps us see that forgiveness is neither fair nor easy, but that God has commanded it. She shows us that forgiveness is a process that does not depend on our feelings, but that God can help us to do something against which our feelings rebel. In forgiveness, bitter wounds become sacred wounds as we offer these to God and open our wounded places to Him. She teaches us how to ask forgiveness: "I did this. It was wrong. I'm sorry. Will you forgive me."

Unlike Bryan Maier in Forgiveness and Justice (reviewed here) she believes that forgiveness can occur separately from repentance, reconciliation and restoration. Maier contends that forgiveness (which Graham might call reconciliation) can only occur when the offender confesses and repents from the wrong done. Maier contends that where there is no repentance, the proper response of the aggrieved is to take the grievance to God and trust God for justice

Graham would propose that forgiveness delivers us from bitterness, even in the absence of reconciliation, or when reconciliation is no longer safe or possible. Maier, I believe, would say that we take our anger to God as well as to pray, where it is possible, for the repentance of the offender, but not prematurely forgive.

I don't believe Maier deals adequately with what one does when it is not possible to reconcile with an offender. At the same time, I think there is a point that Graham misses that was called to my attention in watching the documentary Emanuel on the deaths of nine people at the hands of Dylan Roof and participating on a panel with two black scholars who have studied the history and literature of violence against blacks. One of the remarkable things is how quickly a number of families forgive Roof, even though Roof never shows remorse (and other family and friends struggle to or refuse to forgive to this day). While we all recognized how these believers were shaped by biblical teaching, it was observed that it has often been the place of oppressed blacks to forgive, often accompanied by celebration that this has averted a more violent response. One scholar asked, "should not there be anger at the white supremacists and a system that produced Roof, at the history of violence in the forms of lynchings and church burnings against blacks?"

What I wonder is whether it is possible to forgive, as Christ forgave unrepentant enemies on the cross, and yet be angry, but not with bitterness, at the things which anger God, whether systemic racism, infidelity, sexual abuse, or morally corrupt leadership. There is an anger which is not hate, but which motivates advocacy, that does not relent in seeking justice. Sometimes, at least for some, forgiveness is a quick release from the hard feelings of grievance, or an escape from the hard work of seeking justice.

What I would say is that Graham does not minimize the challenge of forgiveness. She also offers a model of honestly facing her own need of forgiveness and what she hadn't forgiven in others and herself. She helps us see the corrosive character of bitterness arising from an unforgiving heart and the grace God can give to forgive. Yet I think we also need teaching on forgiveness that teaches us how to know and live amazing grace while avoiding cheap grace, that does not heal personal or national wounds lightly.