Making Sense of Forgiveness Book Review

Making Sense of Forgiveness book cover

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?

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Moving from hurt toward hope is author Brad Hambrick’s quest in Making Sense of Forgiveness and he hits the mark with precision. Hambrick’s hopeful, helpful, honest journey for the hurting takes the complex concept of forgiveness and breaks it down into relatable topics that can be digested as quickly or as slowly as needed for the reader’s journey to the peace forgiveness offers.

The pastor and counselor in Mr. Hambrick come across professionally and articulately as he walks through the sometimes tough truths and “gritty work” required on the difficult road to forgiveness. Biblical forgiveness is the foundation of the book and is covered in such topics as embracing God’s forgiveness, is God’s forgiveness unconditional, and leaving room for the wrath of God. In practical terms, Mr. Hambrick covers the gamut of what forgiveness is and what it isn’t, the concept of “forgiving and forgetting”, boundaries and forgiveness coexisting, emotional freedom, and much more.

Each chapter ends with questions for reflection and the book ends with guidance for counselors, pastors, and church leaders.

Making Sense of Forgiveness includes many truths that have the potential to be life-changing for readers, such as, “Jesus was exceedingly gracious, but no doormat,” and “Forgiveness is like a marathon; there is great merit in finishing, regardless of how long it takes.” This book feels like the balm to a painful, festering wound.

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Who would enjoy this book?

Anyone who is struggling after being hurt would find useful information and guidance in this book. I can see this book being a life-changer for a reader who truly wants to get their life back after a painful betrayal. Also, the supplemental material included at the end for counselors, pastors, and other church leaders, makes this book valuable for anyone who counsels people.

How this book affected me:

Making Sense of Forgiveness provided just that for me. I was impressed with the way Mr. Hambrick broke the concepts down into brief, digestible pieces, that would walk a hurting person through all the scenarios, roadblocks, and challenges that forgiveness might entail. This will be my top reference book for those who are struggling with life beyond being hurt.

About the Author, Brad Hambrick:

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. 

Our Christian Book Reviews:

The book reviews at Finding God Among Us focus on Christian books – adult and children, fiction and nonfiction. Our specialties are newly released Christian books on faith and Christian picture books. We’re proud to be included in the Top 20 Christian Book Review Bloggers.  I chose to read this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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