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Forgive to Live: How Forgiveness Can Save Your Life


Forgive to Live: How Forgiveness Can Save Your Life

When Dr. Dick Tibbits was downsized some years ago, he learned fundamental life-saving lessons about dealing with forgiveness via practical means, which he lays out in this superbly comprehensive text. Believing that "life is fair" is one of the key misnomers of not being able to fully forgive, writes the author. Once this faulty theory is properly disposed of, men and women are freed to view life realistically and start dealing with areas where bitterness and anger have taken root. Though often a long and arduous process, the benefits are far-reaching and beneficial to a person's psychological, spiritual and physical well being.

Citing his own painful personal experience, Tibbits shares how several years after having been let go and supposedly moving on with his life at another organization, he recognized that he had not forgiven his former employers. Tibbits credits this epiphany moment when he reacted with gut-twisting intensity at the announcement that one of the individuals responsible for his dismissal had been hired at his new place of employment. It was then that Tibbits began developing his three-phase forgiveness plan.

According to the author, forgiveness is a process in which the first part involves learning to properly handle memories of painful things done in the past, then overcoming any negative emotions present today, and finally discovering ways to be free "...from a hurtful past to achieve my desired future." Tibbits realized that forgiveness is a learned habit, and as such, some "unlearning" is needed to set a positive course for the future. When something or someone hurts us, we do all we can to "balance" the imbalance by attempting to right the wrong. Wrong! says Tibbits. This type of skewed thinking is negatively progressional as the injured person tries to win an apology, and then feels more hurt as anger turns to resentment when it does not happen. This energizes often-destructive acts of revenge before there is a withdrawal from the relationship.

Tibbits believes that most individuals are experts at playing the "blame game" where my life is your fault. He states that from very young, we are taught to "substitute blame for accountability." This type of belief becomes addictive as one feels initially better blaming another, but core problems are never solved, thus a negative cycle continues to escalate. Instead, Tibbits suggests learning to become a victor instead of a victim by opting to forgive. How does this work out in practical terms? Non-blamers must give up the all-or-nothing thinking; distinguish between intent and impact, and lower expectations of others. It's the shortest path to happiness (and good health), says Tibbits.

Readers also will study how negative "self-talk" can literally kill, what grievance stories mean to one's future, ways to reframe a painful past, finding peace in the present and how forgiving can offer hope for tomorrow. From beginning to end, Dr. Tibbits speaks with a warm professionalism that men and women alike will relate to and be encouraged by.

Reviewed by Michele Howe on September 5, 2006

Forgive to Live: How Forgiveness Can Save Your Life
Dr. Dick Tibbits, with Steve Halliday

  • Publication Date: September 5, 2006
  • Genres: Christian, Christian Living
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson
  • ISBN-10: 1591454700
  • ISBN-13: 9781591454700