Forgiveness: The Choice that Sets You Free

Guest Post by author Debbie Barr

It’s practically impossible for any of us to go through life without stepping on someone else’s toes. That means, of course, that sometimes it’s our own toes that get stomped on. It’s not hard to forgive someone when their offense is as minor as literally stepping on our toes. When the offense is major, however, forgiveness may not be nearly so easy. When we’ve been deliberately insulted, violated, or betrayed, and the wound is deep and painful, it can be very, very difficult to forgive. How do I know that? I know because, just like you, I’ve been hurt by other people, sometimes deeply. And what’s true of most people is true for me, and probably for you too: forgiveness can be awfully hard when we are emotionally wounded. In fact, the more hurtful the offense, the harder it can be to forgive.

I was excited to write about forgiveness, partly because forgiveness is the cornerstone of our Christian faith. Forgiving others mirrors the gospel—Christ died so that all of our offenses against God could be erased, removed as far from us as the east is from the west. Because we’re totally forgiven, God wants us to freely forgive our fellows. Just as loving another person is always a choice, so it is with forgiveness. Every time we are offended by another person, we have a choice to make: will we forgive that person or will we harbor resentment? A simple choice, right? Sometimes yes, but rarely quite as simple as it sounds. How can we forgive an offense we cannot stop thinking about? Should we forgive someone who doesn’t ask for our forgiveness? Why should we forgive someone who doesn’t even care that we were hurt by what they did?  These are some of the questions I knew it was important to address in a book about forgiveness. I also knew it was very important to get it right. That’s why I asked a Bible teacher, Jerry Morrison, and a pastor, Dr. Gary Chapman (yes, that Gary Chapman) to read the manuscript and share their thoughts with me. They were both super helpful, and I am very grateful for their insights.

I learned so much in the process of researching and writing this book. One of my biggest personal takeaways is the fact that there are two kinds of forgiveness: transactional forgiveness and unilateral forgiveness. When I started writing the book, I knew about transactional forgiveness, but not about unilateral forgiveness.

Transactional forgiveness is the kind of forgiveness that reconciles relationships. It’s interpersonal; it involves both the offended person and the offending person. It’s about one person’s repentance and request for forgiveness and the other person’s choice to forgive.

The other kind of forgiveness, unilateral forgiveness, is intrapersonal, It takes place entirely within the mind and heart of the offended person. The offending person is not involved. Because unilateral forgiveness requires nothing from the person who caused the offense, it doesn’t matter if that other person has asked for your forgiveness or not. It doesn’t matter if they have no remorse for what they did. It doesn’t matter if they’re not speaking to you or if their deeds were done to you anonymously. It doesn’t even matter if the person has died. You can still forgive them—because the purpose of unilateral forgiveness is to set yourself free! This is why God wants us to forgive even when reconciliation is not possible. Forgiveness is for us, for our peace of mind and heart, for our happiness, and for our spiritual and emotional freedom from the toxic effects of resentment and unforgiveness. Forgiving others brings about the inner freedom that God desires for us. This is where the title of the book comes from: forgiveness is the choice that sets you free. It’s not always easy to forgive, and it may be a long time in coming, but because it’s God will for us to forgive—every time, 70 times 7—he will supernaturally enable us to do it. He will, because he wants us to live in freedom!

This post is from author Debbie Barr, author of our NEW book Forgiveness: The Choice that Sets You Free, available now!

Forgiveness: The Choice That Sets You Free (NEW)

by Debbie Barr

Forgiveness is one of the most difficult things you may ever have to face. But it’s also one of the most important and rewarding things you can do. Packed with practical advice, helpful visuals, scannable outlines, and encouraging scriptures,Forgiveness is an all-in-one resource to get you started on your forgiveness journey today! This book will help you:

  • Understand what forgiveness really is (and what it’s not)
  • How to know when you’ve truly forgiven someone
  • Find hope and empathy for a hardened heart
  • And much more

Making the brave choice to forgive can benefit us in amazing ways—in fact, it sets us free! Even more amazing is the mysterious fact that God can bring something good out of even your most painful wounds.

All-In-One Scripture- and Science-Driven Forgiveness Advice
Award-winning author and speaker, Debbie Barr, explains the high price we pay to our mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing when we cling to resentment, bitterness, and thoughts of revenge. Backed by science, psychology, and scripture, this all-in-one book will help you equip your empathy, faith, and resilience to rise to the challenges forgiveness may bring.

Writing with compassion and understanding, Barr shares her own experience with forgiveness and stories from others who have made the choice to forgive. She also shows how forgiveness can bring peace of mind, self-respect, and the kind of wellbeing that God wants us to have.

Forgiving others is what God requires of us—and the more atrocious the offense, the more we need his help to do the hard work of forgiveness.

Key Features of Forgiveness: The Choice That Sets You Free

  • Biblical – Enjoy getting biblical examples, scriptures, and word studies to help you grasp a deeper understanding of forgiveness.
  • Practical – With step-by-step instructions and research-driven adviceForgiveness will equip you with everything you need to let go and live. Whether you’re dealing with a recent betrayal or a generational wound, get the keys you need to turn to God for freedom and peace.
  • Real & Compassionate – Using true stories and compassionate advice, Forgiveness will at once make you feel seen and hopeful in whatever circumstance you face. Get the encouragement and motivation you need to keep moving forward.
  • Easy-to-Understand and Read – It’s never been easier to get help on your forgiveness journey! With definitions, clear outlines, visuals, and scannable lists, you’ll be able to grasp key information at a glance, no matter how busy your schedule is.



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