Hill (Forgiveness Versus the Covert Bondage of Unforgiveness, 2010) struggles to forgive as she graphically recounts the emotional and physical abuse she received as a child at the hands of her mother and her mother’s boyfriend.
As a child, Hill hoped to attend a carnival, but at the last minute, her mother told her no. Disappointed, Hill stood up for herself; she was savagely beaten by her mother’s boyfriend. Although some readers may suspect a more complicated, longer-lasting cycle of abuse, this slim volume tells of only that one childhood incident, then jumps to Hill’s adult struggle to let go of the anger and hate that have haunted her ever since. Such a large gap in the narrative leaves many questions unanswered, such as how this resentment affected her life; as such, the narrative might better lend itself to a speech or a discussion in a recovery group. Hill longs to live a life of integrity and leave behind the anger she now feels hurts only herself. By turning to her faith, she discovers a new perspective: Those who hurt her were themselves hurting on the inside. Through this insight, Hill finds herself able to forgive the man who beat her. Yet she finally overcomes her emotional cycle of anger and pain not through her own intervention but through her mother’s. In one sudden, heartrending conversation, Hill’s mother apologizes while expressing guilt and sadness. Their subsequent reconciliation seems to be no less satisfying than if Hill had initiated the healing discussion herself. That said, her mother’s enduring guilt indicates a shared burden that seems not to have been recognized until Hill was a grown woman. In the end, Hill successfully conveys the relief and joy now filling her life as a result of letting go of her anger. Although she finds her life radically changed by her new relationship with her mother, readers might need a deeper look at such a dramatic renewal.
Forgiveness doesn’t come easily, but Hill demonstrates its lasting effects on the path away from pain.