The Truth About Forgiveness (book review)

One of my favorite quotes about forgiveness comes from the pen of C.S. Lewis. He wrote: “We all agree that forgiveness is a beautiful idea until we have to practice it.” How true that is! In this short, but power-packed book, The Truth About Forgiveness, John MacArthur shares how beautiful and freeing true forgiveness is.

You may know John MacArthur as a preeminent Bible teacher. If so, you will not be disappointed in the content of this amazing book. Pastor MacArthur eloquently explains the need for forgiveness, how unworthy we are of God’s forgiveness, how unthinkable it is that God forgives us anyway, and how we should now live as people who regularly ask for forgiveness.

Pastor MacArthur’s Bible teaching skills are on full display as he digs deeply into well-known scriptural stories, and places us squarely in the middle of the character’s lives. In fact, one story he so beautifully portrays through the lens of forgiveness, but I had never seen it that way before!

This is not a long treatise on forgiveness, but it is a easy-to-read guide into new thinking about forgiveness. Trust me, after reading The Truth About Forgiveness, you will never look at forgiveness the same way again.

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

Strengths Formula

God wants you to be yourself, but not as you can make you. But to be the “you” He created you to be. Part of what He implanted in you was certain gifts, talents, abilities. To the extent that you allow the Holy Spirit to (1) reveal these gifts to you, and (2) turn these gifts into strengths, you will find more joy in being “you” as your “you” builds up the Body of Christ.

Just before listing some of the innumerable spiritual gifts God reveals in humanity, the Apostle Paul says this —

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (Romans 12:3)

Does that sound contradictory at all: Do not think… but rather think?

The root word is the same in each usage (phroneo in the Greek), but the prefix is what sets them apart from each other.

  • The first has the prefix hyper. That means it’s overly analyzed, overly concerned = self-focused. 
  • The second time the prefix is soph (meaning “wise”). This is sound thinking, big-picture thinking = others-focused.

The Holy Spirit gives you sophroneo thinking to reveal your God-implanted gifts and talents to benefit others—to benefit the whole Body of Christ. He helps us turn our talents into strengths by using a formula like this:

Passions + Talents + Your Obedience = Strength for the Body

Pay attention to your passionate responses to situations, as they will reveal to you some of your gifts.

Listen to areas where others say you are talented. This will help you know how God has wired you.

Then you must be obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in how to use your talents. If you let them sit on the shelf, they will never become strengths. Strengths develop when you passionately and obediently use your God-given talents for God’s glory.

The Holy Spirit wants to help you in all of these areas. Will you let Him?

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