Forgiving As We’ve Been Forgiven: Community Practices For Making Peace by L. Gregory Jones and Celestin Musekura

For most of us, the nature and realm of our ‘forgiving’ others revolves around relatively minor issues – and even then we find it hard to forgive someone the word spoken to us in anger or meanness; or the action which was done against us that hurt our feelings.

Also, we have tended to reduce forgiveness to simply ‘moving on’ from a situation or encounter, rather than confronting and then restoring the relationship.  As the authors say, “The practice of forgiveness calls us to willingly do things with and for one another so that communion can be restored.”

And yet, when we read about other people who have had families butchered and killed by friends, neighbors or even other relatives or who experienced apartheid or genocide and yet have forgiven those who perpetrated such actions against them, we realize that we really have not got a handle on what forgiveness is, especially as those who follow and worship Christ – the one who forgave us the horrendous crime of treason against God.

Forgiving As We Have Been Forgiven will challenge you to re-think and re-evaluate what forgiveness is both as an individual and as a community. Both the authors have been involved with the ‘Reconciliation’ movement and especially Celestin Musekra who had his family killed during the Rwanda genocide.

Forgiveness is not easy. It is a complicated process involving our hearts, minds and actions. But in Christ – as believers in the living God, we have a new identity as a forgiven people who are to practice forgiveness and to recognize God’s image in others, even those who are our enemies.

How did South Africa recover from Apartheid through the The Truth and Reconciliation Commission – how did Rwanda and the Hutu’s and Tutsi’s recover? Community and national forgiveness begins with individuals forgiving each other. This is the call of the book – let us, the forgiven people, be a forgiving people which will effect whole communities and whole nations.

Highly recommended.


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