Saturday, August 15, 2009

Free Yourself to Love {Book Review}

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You may remember that I wrote several posts focused on things that I had learned from the book The Mentoring Mom by Jackie Kendall {and I'll insert here again that it was a great book!}. When Jackie's publicist offered to send me her latest book, Free Yourself to Love: The Liberating Power of Forgiveness to read and review, I jumped at the chance.

Over the last few months I have been reading and re-reading the book, while studying it with a friend of mine. During that time there has been so much simmering in me and I have been sorting through various things that the book has brought up in me. While I was a bit skeptical at first as to how the book would apply to me, I can honestly say that for myself {and for the friend I'm reading it with} it has been a definite 'God-timing' read.

Jackie Kendall grew up in a completely dysfunctional family ~ suffering abuse as a child and living through the pain of two siblings committing suicide. She is amazingly transparent and open in her writing, sharing how she has learned what a forgiving lifestyle is truly about.

Throughout the book, Jackie address various aspects of forgiveness: reasons we don't forgive, counterfeit forgiveness, saying goodbye to shame, authentic forgiveness and the tools to forgiveness. She also addresses the six most commonly used excuses we use in not forgiving others:
  1. The offense was too great.
  2. The memories of the offense are so vivid.
  3. The offense was repeated.
  4. You want to make the person pay for the offense.
  5. You are too angry to even consider forgiving this person.
  6. The offender didn't say, "I am sorry."
The one thing that has impacted me the most from this book is the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. In my mind the two were so entwined - but the two are separate in nature. This passage from Jackie's book describes it so well:
"Forgiving is a gift I give because of Jesus' gift to me. It is a gift I bestow upon my offender and a gift I give to myself. Forgiveness is also a gift I give to God. Such a response in faith and obedience is, indeed, an offering to God. Reconciliation is the gift exchanged between me and the offender when he or she has repented. Because I have already forgiven, I am not held hostage to that person's offensive behavior, waiting for him or her to repent. Forgiveness is my being set free, and reconciliation is when the relationship between me and the offender is healed."

Jackie breaks things down so well, gives great examples throughout the book, and provides excellent 'personal questions' to help you understand the heart of forgiveness. Free Yourself to Love has challenged me on so many different levels ~ this book is one that I am still pouring over and will be referencing for years to come.

Be sure to stop by and visit 5 Minutes for Books and their monthly meme called "What's on Your Nightstand?" and also the Saturday Review.


  1. Jolanthe,

    Don't you just love books like that you refer back to over and over again. Those are the definitely keepers on our library shelves here at home.

    Look forward to adding that one to ours. Forgiveness should be something so easy to do, it's the forgetting part that I need help with. Thankfully God is there!

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  2. I think reading your blog today was a "God thing" for me. I love Jackie Kendall's writing, but I must confess I had not even heard of this book. I have just ordered a copy from because of your suggestion. You wrote a great review and now I'm in search of a friend to ponder its pages with as well.


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