Jesus’ purchase of our forgiveness on the cross is one of the most pivotal themes of the Bible. But for many Christians, especially those who are in the midst of a serious conflict with someone, the topic of how to approach forgiveness biblically is a challenging one. In his first book, Unpacking Forgiveness, Chris Brauns carefully lays out the reasons why true, biblical forgiveness is more complicated than many think, and also argues convincingly that it is an essential characteristic of a committed, forgiven, follower of Christ.
The book begins with a quiz which identifies many of the most commonly-held misconceptions of forgiveness held by many Christians. Significant among them is the idea that we can or must forgive those who have not asked for or demonstrated repentance. Brauns offers up his own definition, based upon the language of Paul and others throughout Scripture, namely, that forgiveness is “a commitment by the offended to pardon graciously the repentant from moral liability and to be reconciled to that person, although not all consequences are necessarily eliminated.” He then proceeds to “unpack” this definition, using a number of Scriptural texts as well as stories and anecdotes from his experience as a counselor and pastor.
Braun’s style is clear and easy to understand, and the many interesting stories he tells serve to make the book truly compelling reading. But even more compelling is the way he clearly teaches from Scripture what true forgiveness looks like and how giving and receiving it can be the key to greater joy and effectiveness as a believer.
For any Christian who has ever needed forgiveness, or who is struggling to offer it to someone else, this is a must read book. – Rachael Starke, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Helps readers move beyond the wounds and baggage of bitterness, disagreements, and broken relationships.
“True or false: most Christian pastors and counselors agree on what forgiveness is and how it should take place.” This question is part of Chris Brauns’s Forgiveness Quiz that draws readers into his book and gets them thinking about the subject of forgiveness. The truth is, pastors and counselors disagree profoundly on this subject. Unpacking Forgiveness combines sound theological thinking and honesty about the complicated questions many face to provide readers with a solid understanding of biblical forgiveness.
Only God’s Word can unpack forgiveness. The wounds are too deep for us to find healing on our own, and the questions are too complex to be unraveled by anything but the wisdom of God. This book goes beyond a feel-good doctrine of automatic forgiveness, balancing the beauty of God’s grace and the necessity of forgiveness with the teaching that forgiveness must take place in a way that is consistent with justice.