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The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World
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The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  2,917 ratings  ·  354 reviews
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Chair of The Elders, and Chair of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, along with his daughter, the Reverend Mpho Tutu, offer a manual on the art of forgiveness—helping us to realize that we are all capable of healing and transformation.

Tutu's role as the Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission taug
Hardcover, 230 pages
Published March 18th 2014 by HarperOne (first published January 1st 2013)
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Craig No, this book is not Christianity-centered and is applicable to all religious beliefs or ideologies. Worthwhile read for anyone struggling to forgive …moreNo, this book is not Christianity-centered and is applicable to all religious beliefs or ideologies. Worthwhile read for anyone struggling to forgive or be forgiven.(less)

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Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
When I first started reading this I confess it was a hard read. So much pain at levels I have never experienced. It made me feel small and fragile to even think of whining about my own troubles when these people really know what it is to experience trauma.

Then I learned through the way Mpho and Desmond Tutu explained it that the un-forgivable in my own life was holding me back from being the person I know I can be. I look at these things differently and slowly have become lighter, and feel more
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Archbishop Desmond Tutu will be the first to tell you that forgiveness is not for sissies.

As the chairman of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he spearheaded the landmark effort to heal a country torn asunder by apartheid. A time and space were created to introduce perpetrator to victim - thieves to those they vandalized, torturers to those they injured, kidnappers to the kin of those they abducted, killers to the families of the slain - so that witness could be borne and quest
Geoff Livingston
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A truly restorative book filled with fantastic spiritual exercises and examples. This is not an entertaining read, it is work. Not the prose, but the subject matter. Yet, if you read it through you can't help but feel better and see the world differently.
Megan Clarke
Aug 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Until I read this book, the idea of forgiveness was rather vague and obscure--something that as a Christian I knew I was "supposed" to do, but I really had no idea how to go about it. How did I know if I had truly forgiven? I always had the impression that I had forgiven when I was no longer angry. But how could I stop being angry? Well I guess I needed to do a better job at forgiving because if I was still having flashes of anger, clearly I had not "completely" forgiven.

Needless to say, the top
Brian Tucker
May 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
***UPDATE 3/6/17***. Finished my fifth read. Continues to resonate with me in a multitude of ways.

Oprah described this as a "doctorate level education" in the concept of Forgiveness. With a capital F.

This book made me weep. Read it if you need to learn how to forgive, what forgiveness is, what it is not, and why it is absolutely mandatory if you want to live a life of love and connection.
Ken Hammond
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow...this was so complicated and simple at the same time. Forgive to me was just a word, bandied around... all over the show, by bunches of well meaning do gooders, but now after Desmond Tutu its just so much more. A collection of stories from so many who displayed the utmost in forgiveness in unforgivable situations, it's these powerful displays of forgiveness, that has moved me, enriched me, taught me, calmed me
& to forgive is what we should all do, and now is a good time to start.
Oct 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The best book on forgiveness that I have ever read. It took me four months to read it. It is one you have to digest slowly and purposefully. <3 I love that I started it in the fall when everything was dying and am finishing it as the hope of spring is right outside my door. ...more
Sep 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Important read. I started this book in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks. I seek a world of forgiveness and peace. I believe no one is beyond the reach of forgiveness.

"Forgiveness is nothing less than the way we heal the world."

"There is also no end to the human capacity for healing. In each of us, there is an innate ability to create joy out of suffering, to find hope in the most hopeless of situations, and to heal any relationship in need of healing."

"Forgiveness is simply about und
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Twenty years ago I had an experience that rocked my world in the most tragic way. It destroyed my sense of safety, my hope of a loving family, my ability to start my married life with joy & welcoming, & my ability to see myself truthfully as a good human...I was abused by family. It was so destructive that I couldn't even speak of it fully for about 15 years. I searched for knowledge about what to do & how to forgive. But every path ended without many answers. The truth was that our culture just ...more
May 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-cultivation
I must express my gratitude to Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu for writing this book. It has opened my eyes, my heart, my mind to truly understanding forgiveness. It has inspired me to embrace this work and has bolstered my courage to move forward. At first I found it a bit difficult, as it uncovered some deep-seeded pain and trauma. But I am grateful to now have the warm, loving framework this book provides to walk the path of forgiveness.

I appreciate the book's holistic thoroughness - understandin
Bree Dunscombe
One of the most important books you'll read in this lifetime. If survivors of apartheid can rebuild a country based on the concept that we're all part of the same human family, that any act can be forgiven, and that every person is capable of transformation, then certainly we can reconsider our own views of who is worthy of forgiveness and who isn't. Including ourselves.

It was especially meaningful to read this book while horrific acts of violence are being committed all across the country. Fing
Scott Wozniak
Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a beautiful, poetic book about forgiveness. And it was a practical book about the process of forgiveness--how we need to name the story, acknowledge the hurt, grant forgiveness and decide to renew or release the relationship. But it's not a spiritual book, which surprised me a bit. He does reference his Christian faith a few times, but it's mostly universal insights and gripping stories that lead to psychological techniques and personal reflection exercises.

Given the current crisis of t
Julie Rose
Mar 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Both beautiful and very practical. A book I think could benefit and inspire just about anyone and everyone.
Laura Thompson
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Truly beautiful book. The instruction for forgiveness is really illustrated well with fabulously shared stories.
Gabrielle Jarrett
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It was a struggle for me to finish Desmond and Mpho Tutu's book on forgiving. I was immediately wary of the Christian message which galvanizes me due to having spent 1/2 of my life devoted to Christianity. I was in denial about the power-driven harmful ministers in my ultra conservative tradition. At the end of the book, I realized I had to forgive my experience with Christianity, even though I left it long ago.
That aside, they present a psychologically sound path to accommodating tragedies or
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The weight of its authors' experience transforms what could otherwise have been a regular self-help book into a remarkable guide to personal and collective transformation. Not only does the book offer solid justifications for forgiving others, and personal experiences to back up the justifications, it also includes unique rituals and meditations for readers to try if they're struggling with forgiving others. I learned much from this book.
Sam Benson
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book could also be called, “how to process pain and grief in a healthy way.” It walks through a particular process/model for moving forward from painful experiences in what felt to me like a very well- balanced, thoughtful, and practical way. It doesn’t really hold any surprises - facing the harm that we have experienced or have caused, feeling our feelings, and accepting how we and our lives have been changed is how we move forward and no longer allow ourselves to be defined/continually vi ...more
Elise Shipley
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Something I will probably reread many times. Incredibly insightful and instructional on meaningful forgiveness.
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I can’t say enough good things about this book. Regardless of your life story, you need this book. It now occupies a place very near the top of the most influential books I have ever read.
Sarah Parsons
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, it touched my heart. Tutu's stories and references on forgiveness were inspiring and unforgettable. My favourite quote in the book is by Elizabeth Kugler-Ross "The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. Those persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautif ...more
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This books message, for anyone who’s ever dabbled in this sort of self-work, is probably not a new one. Tutu’s message is that forgiveness, both of others and of oneself, is the necessary panacea to improve our world.

I went into this book ready to roll my eyes at how simplistic I suspected he’d make this process sound especially given that I am someone who works with trauma survivors for a living and have heard all the unhelpful platitudes people tell my clients about “moving on” after horrific
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
I ordered this book for my son after completing the Tutu Forgiveness Challenge on line. (Check out the intro video with his daughter. Delightful!) At first I found it almost simplistically silly. But as I continued to force myself to work the daily challenge, I begin to realize this simple little program was having a defined effect upon and within me. Archbishop Tutu in concert with his daughter, Reverend Mpho Tutu have compiled a successful program reflected within the pages of this little book ...more
A pretty comprehensive look at what I’ve come to be convinced is one of the most powerful forces of transformation of both self and others that is in humanity’s toolkit. Most of the stories here are no small-potatoes injustices – we’re talking true, heartbreaking tales of violence, cruelty, negligence, loss, grief, etc. I won’t lie to you – they weren’t always easy to read, but every one of the people who rose above the situation and forgave healed not only themselves but the entire community an ...more
Apr 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I recommend this as a must-read book for every adult especially those struggling to forgive either oneself or another human being. The authors, Nobel Laureate, Desmond Tutu and his daughter, Mpho Tutu, offer a practical four step process or path for forgiving others as well as ourselves. These four steps include 1) Telling the Story 2) Naming the Hurt 3) Granting Forgiveness 4) Renewing or Releasing the Relationship.

The authors recount how the people of South Africa were able to forgive the most
Feb 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Forgiveness? Really?

What forgiveness is...and what it is not; that is the question finally answered in this incredibly insightful and thought provoking book by Desmond and Mpho Tutu. If you have ever felt guilty because forgiveness was taking too long, or could not muster it up at all, this book is for you. If you have ever been the one seeking forgiveness, this book is for you. If you have not been able to forgive yourself, this book is for you. Although written by two people who would be cons
Sep 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: motivational, 2014
This is a beautifully written and powerful map to forgiveness and the power of forgiveness in each of our lives and to all of us as an interconnected people. Not only are there narratives, some of which are very difficult emotionally, there are clear step-by-step guides, journal and meditation exercises, and support resources offered throughout the book. It is a book that you may want to own rather than borrow as actually working through the process is so valuable and the structure provided is r ...more
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
The idea and text of the book I actually liked (3 stars) but that the mentioning of "God" and "Religion" is way to much for me. Before I bought the book I checked the blurb and nothing indicated that this book will be a filled with religion. Obviously I should not trust a blurb for the content if it is written by priests.

The ideas behind the book and text I really liked.

It has as well rituals, meditation practices and diary exercises which I all found rather annoying even though I practice medit
Fred Kohn
Oct 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
If you are worried that this book will be overly religious because it is written by a bishop, don't. It contains very practical advice regardless of your religion or lack thereof. I found many of the exercises at the end of the chapters very helpful. The only downside of this book is that Tutu brings his experience with horrific acts to the forefront, and most of us don't have experience with having to forgive on this level. So personally, I found the later chapters about how to seek forgiveness ...more
Kayla Platoff
Jan 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This book is eye-opening and relevant to anyone's life. The Book of Forgiving can help people recognize and name their pain, assist them in seeking or giving forgiveness, and deciding where to go from there. Tutu heavily relies on the idea that nothing is unforgivable, and nobody is unforgivable.

Though written by a religious man, non-religious folk can still relate and use his ideas to change their lives. He mentions God and religion on occasion, but he seems to be a sensible person and realize
Mar 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Desmond and Mpho Tutu's text is ideal for congregational and community group work on forgiveness, as well as for individual reflection. Spiritual exercises accompany each chapter, inviting readers into the relational, emotional, and spiritual work of forgiving and being forgiven. Recognizing how difficult forgiving and being forgiven can be, the counsel and stories that accompany the exercises show ways to healing and encourage the reader in the journey. Recommended. A peace-cultivating text.
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Desmond Mpilo Tutu is a South African cleric and activist who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid. In 1984, Tutu became the second South African to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Tutu was the first black South African Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, and primate of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (now the Anglican Church of Southern A ...more

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28 likes · 15 comments
“Forgiveness does not relieve someone of responsibility for what they have done. Forgiveness does not erase accountability. It is not about turning a blind eye or even turning the other cheek. It is not about letting someone off the hook or saying it is okay to do something monstrous. Forgiveness is simply about understanding that every one of us is both inherently good and inherently flawed. Within every hopeless situation and every seemingly hopeless person lies the possibility of transformation.” 36 likes
“We are not responsible for what breaks us, but we can be responsible for what puts us back together again. Naming the hurt is how we begin to repair our broken parts.” 24 likes
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