Why Forgive? Book Cover

Why Forgive?

232 Pages

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In Why Forgive? Arnold avoids glib pronouncements by letting the untidy experiences of ordinary people speak for themselves – people who have earned the right to talk about overcoming hurt, and about the peace of mind they have found in doing so. "Hurt" is an understatement, actually, for these stories deal with the harrowing effects of violent crime, betrayal, abuse, bigotry, gang warfare, and genocide. But Why Forgive? examines life's more mundane battle scars as well: the wounds caused by backbiting, gossip, strained family ties, marriages gone cold and tensions in the workplace. As in life, not every story has a happy ending – a fact Arnold refuses to skirt. The book also addresses the difficulty of forgiving oneself, the futility of blaming God, and the turmoil of those who simply cannot forgive, even though they try.

Twelve years ago, Why Forgive? appeared in bookstores under the title "Seventy Times Seven" – a reference to Jesus’s advice on how many times we should be ready to forgive in one day.  Today, translated into more than 20 languages, this modest but compelling volume of true stories has been reprinted hundreds of times, and sold or distributed to audiences around the world.

Why Forgive? Read these stories, and decide for yourself.

Also available, a free study guide to facilitate group discussion or personal study.

Nelson Mandela
A much-needed message not only for South Africa, but for the whole world.

ALA Booklist (Starred Review)
A most impressive book…so powerful that tears often impede reading.

Houston Chronicle
Thought-provoking and soul-challenging…Arnold writes with an eye-opening simplicity that zings the heart.

Softcover, 5.375 x 7.5
ISBN: 978-0874869422

This book is also available in العربية 中文 français Deutsch हिंदी עברית മലയാളം русский 한국어 español


I recommend this book to anybody who has experienced any sort of tragedy in their life and that tragedy has held them back in anyway! Forgiving is not about forgetting, it's about not letting a wrong hold you back! I've had the pleasure of meeting Pastor Arnold a few times and his kind words wether written in a book or spoken in person always have profound meaning for those who hear him speak!

I have really enjoyed and appreciated the content of the book and audio of WHY FORGIVE. i must say iam glad i found this website and really needed some answers to some of the issues i was facing. for a long time now i have had some struggles on the issues of forgiveness and this material helped me a lot. Its a long journey but Iam making progress.May the Good Lord richly bless you.

Someone visited your gift shop and gave me the book why forgive It is simply beautiful I have already lent it to a friend, but I want to purchase some more to share with others. Thankyou..

To forgive someone who has cheated you and played with your feelings it is not easy, but we do forgive in the name of the lord whi was crucified for the forgiveness of our sins.

Dear Mr. Arnold, For close to ten years now I have been teaching a college level course on Forgiveness and Reconciliation using your wonderful book, "Why Forgive?". I want to thank you for touching so many lives and by so doing helping to make our world a more forgiving and loving place...

...The chapter that stuck a personal chord within me was the one on forgiving ourselves. I never really allowed the idea of self-forgiveness to penetrate into the core of me before. The idea of making peace within your soul is not just mind talk or talk therapy. It's bigger than that - it's a way of being ok with all the paradoxes, all the contradictions, all the vagaries of one's life story....Self-forgiveness is finally allowing yourself to exhale after holding your breath for what seems like an eternity. Thank you for the book.

I first off would like to say how extremely powerful and moving your book was for me. Through each of these stories I was able to get an understanding of just how important and difficult forgiveness might be. Each of these stories is an inspiration. The story about how Ron Carlson forgave Karla Faye Tucker for the murder of his sister, for me was the most powerful. Ron doesn't start off forgiving her but really wanting her dead. The fact he got from such hate to such compassion is unbelievable. If only everyone had Ron's strength. Thank you again for each one of these stories.

Hi, dear Arnold i really like your book before i couldnt be able to forgive at all... But after i read it i completly changed and now im translate the book to my language so that other people understand and learn how to forgive and enjoy the feeling of forgiveness. Thank you.

Dear Johann, I once heard a quote that the hallmark of a successful marriage was two good forgivers. Your chapter, "Forgiveness and Marriage" really struck a chord in me as it resonated this quote that I haven't really reflected on after I heard it....I thought of how being a good forgiver is also important in the mother-daughter relationship. This relationship is almost as intimate as marriage so it requires being vulnerable, humble and forgiving...

...When I read of the commitment, conviction and pure courage of the people whose stories you tell, and how it is they came to forgive their perpetrators, I am convinced forgiveness is possible in all situations. I suppose that must mean it's possible in the situations in my life as well. I guess I don't have an excuse do I? What has been most poignant are the stories of those who forgave on the spot, those who did not take what I would have thought was required time to "think through" the situations and then decide to forgive, and then work through the issues, and then by the Grace of God offer forgiveness..... Thank you for providing holy insights into the mysterious human question that you yourself asked and I believe inspired your book, "How can such a man ever be forgiven?"

Dear Johann, ...The one line that I will carry forever that in the end we don't have to answer for what others do to us - only for what we do to them. Also your definition of forgiveness in the inset on page 44: " Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin...and nevertheless being wholly reconciled to the person who has done it." Thanks from the heart! You have brought me closer to Jesus.

...I was really touched by Steven McDonald's story in the chapter, "Not a Step, But a Journey". I thought it was amazing that Mr. McDonald found it in his heart to forgive Shavon for shooting him that night in Central Park. His life has suffered greatly because of Shavon's mistake. Mr. McDonald could have retaliated and chosen to stay angry with Shavon, but instead, he decided to show Shavon the love Shavon did not receive in his life on the streets. ...You allowed me to see how people with the most traumatic circumstances are able to forgive people that do not deserve to be forgiven. You made me realize that I should learn how to forgive people on a regular basis more than I do now. For that and many more, thank you for sharing the beautiful stories I read and learned in your book.

...I was particularly stuck by your reflections contained in the section entitled "Bless Your Persecutors." You mentioned cultural recognition, in that our culture, particularly those in "the west" so strongly emphasize self-preservation & individualism that people often scoff at the notion of forgiveness. Rather than the perception that forgiving is a sign of weakness, you suggest that fogiving is empowering & contains the possibility for true closure. You illustrated this with the powerful witnesses found in the Arab-Israeli conflict who found freedom & peace after years of turmoil - I am so grateful & hope to share your insights with the high school students I teach at a local all-girls High School in the subject of social justice. Many thanks to you. God Bless!