“This is by far the most effective forgiveness book I have ever read. I give away many copies every week to help those struggling to forgive!”
— Barbara Solis, Pastor of Family Counseling at Peoples Church in Fresno, CA, the largest megachurch in Central California
Welcome! The introduction and first two chapters of my breakthrough book, The Language of Deep Forgiveness: Break Free from Struggling to Accept the Unacceptable, are available here below for your reading enjoyment. They provide powerful unique insights and tools to help you forgive deeply and quickly so you can move on with your life to have inner peace and happiness.
In this sample, you will discover how the precise language you use to think about forgiveness in your mind affects how deeply you actually forgive in your heart and the level of freedom you experience. You will also begin to learn about the Acceptance Conundrum, a common block to forgiveness which often keeps us stuck, struggling, unable to accept the unacceptable. These insights and others contained within are based on a combination of Christian spirituality, theology, clinical psychology, psycho-linguistics, and brain science.
Although written from a Christian worldview, it can benefit readers from any background or religious tradition.
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Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
— Albert Einstein
Language etches the grooves through which your thoughts must flow.
— Noam Chomsky
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
— Psalms 19:14
In this book, you will find the answers to these important questions:
• Why is forgiveness so difficult?
• What are the two pillars of forgiveness?
• How does the precise language you use to think about forgiveness in your mind affect how deeply you actually forgive in your heart?
• Why are declarations of forgiveness towards others, including those spoken in prayer, often insufficient in producing lasting freedom from unforgiveness?
• How can you speak forgiveness more effectively?
• What can you do when forgiveness seems to require you to accept those offenders you consider unacceptable?
Jennifer’s mind was caught up in a whirlpool of rage, threatening to drown her soul. How can I possibly forgive him? What he did to me was so terrible and inexcusable! All I honestly want is for him to suffer and die! Her anger had become all-consuming, overwhelming, uncontainable. It was more than she had felt in a long time, perhaps more than she had ever felt. And yet another part of her was utterly shocked by its ferocity, stunned by the realization of just how much intense hatred she was capable of feeling toward another human being.
But this man had severely betrayed her trust. What made matters worse was that he was also an authority figure in a position to profoundly affect her life. He had abused his power and treated her unjustly. And it seemed there was little she could do about it. Feeling helplessness in the grip of such unexpected injustice only enraged her further. Because she had once considered him a friend and mentor, so intense was the pain of his betrayal.
Jennifer tried to resolve the situation through open dialog. She approached him with graciousness, hoping that reason might prevail between them. But all she got in return was denial, rationalization, and stonewalling. He was a deeply insecure person, inwardly terrified of being questioned and having his weaknesses exposed. Further communication with him only added more insult to injury. Even the intervention of impartial third parties did no good. The two of them were at a complete impasse.
Jennifer’s anger was quickly turning into long-term resentment and bitterness. Overwhelmed by it all, she didn’t know what to do. How was she going to resolve this tidal wave of negative emotion that had crashed over her, rolling her over and over? Revenge was certainly the easiest option to contemplate. Fantasies of how it might be done came naturally to her imagination. But Jennifer was a deeply devoted follower of Jesus and knew that forgiveness was the option she must choose. It was the Christ-like thing to do. Moreover, she was so tired of thinking about him and realized that her unforgiveness was only hurting herself. She decided to forgive him and move on.
But Jennifer discovered that she simply could not, no matter how hard she tried. Although she had the will to forgive him, her negative thoughts and feelings toward him remained strong. They continued to pop up into her consciousness, whenever her attention was not focused on something else. They were relentless, intrusive, and sometimes even homicidal. She could find no peace from them.
Desperate for help, Jennifer turned to her pastor, who led her through an eloquent prayer, declaring her forgiveness toward the person who had injured her. As they prayed together, she felt a genuine sense of release, her anger subsiding. She thought she had finally forgiven him, but days later to her disappointment, her unforgiving thoughts returned. She continued to pray about it both by herself and with other people. And although more prayer helped, it was never enough to fully set her free. Feeling discouraged and tormented by her own mind, Jennifer wondered what she was doing wrong. The best she could do was repress her unforgiveness and pretend that it wasn’t there. But during moments when she was honest with herself, she had to admit that her resentment remained and was draining much of her energy.
Jennifer’s inability to fully forgive was not due to lack of either choice or faith, as some of those around her insensitively suggested, but the result of a deep inner conflict. As much as a part of her really wanted to forgive and forget, another did not. Whenever she imagined saying the words I forgive you to him, this other part of her didn’t believe what she was saying. It defiantly refused to forgive, vehemently voicing its objection in the form of a rhetorical question: How can I accept the unacceptable? I call this inward resistance to forgive, the Acceptance Conundrum.
In Greek mythology, the Sphinx was a creature with a human head and the body of a lion who guarded the entrance to the ancient City of Thebes. Travelers were not allowed to pass unless they could solve its riddle. Those who could not, it devoured. Likewise, unforgiveness will eat us alive unless we can get through it. The Acceptance Conundrum is the riddle of this inner psychological Sphinx, blocking our path to deep forgiveness until we can provide an acceptable answer.
Many cases of unforgiveness are as difficult as Jennifer’s. They exhibit the common pattern of trying hard to forgive but not succeeding, not understanding why, and then settling for unsteady unsustainable repression. They may display symptoms such as anxiety, depression, numbness, insomnia, headaches, rage, obsessive thoughts, spiritual deadness, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There can even be physical consequences as serious as lower immunity to cancer.
A 2019 research study by the Barna Group found that one in four practicing Christians struggles to forgive someone. When we find ourselves similarly stuck, struggling to forgive those who have wronged us badly, how can we make progress? And even in cases not as severe, how do we resolve those lingering strands of resentment keeping us from the complete inner peace we seek?
In this book, we will learn how we can move forward more speedily on our path to deep forgiveness by examining the language we use to define and speak forgiveness. We will explore the two core pillars of forgiveness and discover why they are often so difficult to do. Most importantly, we will find a way to solve the riddle of the Acceptance Conundrum, this subtle and profound obstacle to full forgiveness freedom. Jennifer will continue to be with us on this journey. We will see how the insights ahead have helped her to find inner peace.
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