A practical call for forgiveness from people who learned it the hard way.
Nobel Peace Prize recipient and Anglican archbishop Tutu (God Is Not a Christian: And Other Provocations, 2011, etc.) teams up with his daughter, Mpho, also an Anglican priest, to advance the cause of forgiveness. Their work stems from a shared past steeped in South Africa’s apartheid system. Mpho’s experience is also informed by a personal tragedy: the murder of her family’s housekeeper. For both authors, forgiveness has been a lifelong struggle, yet one which they both embrace and endorse. “There is nothing that cannot be forgiven, and there is no one undeserving of forgiveness,” they write. Indeed, one of the authors’ important points is that all people feel pain, and no one hurts another without having been a victim at some earlier point. They acknowledge that forgiveness is not easy; however, they are convinced that forgiveness offers peace, healing and an opening to a productive future. They guide readers through a “Fourfold Path” of forgiveness: telling the story, naming the hurt, granting forgiveness, and renewing or releasing the relationship. They also provide focus for individuals in need of another’s forgiveness and those who need to forgive themselves. The book is almost entirely practical in focus, geared toward helping people come to grips with issues of anger, grief and loss. It includes meditations, rituals and journal exercises after each chapter. While potentially useful, the text is lightweight in relation to some of the examples of superhuman forgiveness punctuating the work—victims of grave crimes pardoning those who have caused such anguish.
There is a disconnect between the gravitas of the surname Tutu in relationship to what is basically a self-help book. Tutu’s No Future Without Forgiveness (1999) is a far weightier and more worthy discussion of the topic.