Louisville, Kentucky—Marjorie J. Thompson, the author of the best-selling book Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life, takes a close look at our understanding of forgiveness in a new Lenten study. In Forgiveness (Westminster John Knox Press), Thompson uses biblical examples along with real-life situations to help address such questions as the following:
- Is forgiveness a Christian duty under all circumstances? Or are there situations when Christians do not need to forgive?
- Is forgiveness a matter between individuals, or is it meaningful only in the context of communities?
- Is forgiving the best route to healing for the injured?
- How do we get past emotional barriers to real forgiveness?
In her introduction, Thompson writes, “There is . . . no Christianity without forgiveness. It is impossible to conceive of any expression of Christian discipleship that ignores or excludes a virtue so central to the Good News. The entire message of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection would be lost without it. Forgiveness is the healing stream flowing from the crucified Christ out over a world that does not know how desperately it needs the healing. Yet divine forgiveness—what Christ on the cross represents—is precisely what makes a realistic future possible within a human community still largely wading around in the muck of emotional and spiritual immaturity.”
A study guide is also included at the back of the book that is appropriate for either individual reflection or group discussion.
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Marjorie J. Thompson is author of the best-selling book Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life. A Presbyterian pastor, she spent thirteen years as Director of Congregational Spirituality with Upper Room Ministries. She currently does freelance work in retreat leadership, teaching, and writing.