The Sacred Art of Forgiveness: Forgiving Ourselves and Others through God's Grace

Download Discussion Guide

Offers a new perspective on forgiveness and reconciliation, an approach rooted in the Spirit that can be learned by anyone no matter how deep the hurt. Through real-life examples, penetrating reflections, Scriptures and practical suggestions, outlines the steps that one by one can help you to forgive.

Marcia Ford

8 x 8, 176 pp | 978-1-59473-175-4

Click below to purchase


  • Amazon
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Indie Bound


  • kindle
  • nook
  • itunes

Large Print edition available from

Tap into the power of the Divine. Learn how to forgive—and be forgiven.

Everyone knows that forgiveness is a virtue and a key to emotional, spiritual and even physical well-being. But learning how to actually forgive—or to accept forgiveness, as the case may be—is a sacred art few of us have mastered.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Writing from personal experience and her broad knowledge of many faith traditions, Marcia Ford offers a new perspective on forgiveness and reconciliation, an approach rooted in the Spirit that can be learned by anyone no matter how deep the hurt. Through real-life examples, penetrating reflections, scriptural references and practical suggestions, Ford outlines the steps that one by one can help you to forgive, including:

  • Coming to terms with anger, bitterness and resentment
  • Understanding the differences between forgiveness and reconciliation
  • Taking the initiative, even when you’re the one who’s been wronged
  • Strategies for listening “with the heart” in emotionally charged situations
  • Knowing when to forgive and forget—and when to forgive and take action
  • Ways of allowing the power of the Divine to work through you
  • Finding compassion for others—and for yourself
  • … and much more

“Worth a hundred other books on prayer and spirituality. Do we want to experience God? There is no better way to start than by forgiving the friend or relative who has hurt us.”

Robert Ellsberg, author of The Saints’ Guide to Happiness

“I thought I knew everything there was to know about forgiveness, until I read this book.”

Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins, editor of Yom Kippur Readings: Inspiration, Information and Contemplation and Rosh Hashanah Readings: Inspiration, Information and Contemplation

“I dare a person to finish this book without reflecting on someone due—or overdue—forgiveness. With poignant personal and spiritual examples, Ford guides readers on the path to make this closure happen.”

Carol Fitzgerald, founder,

“A gentle and wise reminder to forgive where you can, and an accessible guide to help when you can’t.”

Frederic Luskin, PhD, director, Stanford Forgiveness Project, and author of Forgive for Good

“With wit, clarity and candor, Marcia Ford unravels the knots and tangles of complex subjects [with] insights often gained from personal experience.... Affirming and humbling ... evokes a welcome sense of relief, gratitude and hope.”

Palmer Jones, director,


With so many books on the market about forgiveness, what sets yours apart from the others?

There are many excellent books on forgiveness, and I list nearly two dozen at the end of my book. Some are based on clinical experience, others on personal experience, and others on biblical insights. What I felt was needed was a book that pulled all of that together to help dispel the many misunderstandings about forgiveness that I_ve heard people express. I also thought a healthy dose of appropriate humor would help the discussion greatly.

What, then, do you think is the most misunderstood aspect of forgiveness?

Actually, there are two that are tied for the top spot on the list of myths with regard to forgiveness. One is that forgiveness means reconciliation. That is simply not true. You can genuinely forgive another person without feeling forced to continue a relationship with him or her. Another myth is that forgiving others gives them psychological power over you. Also not true. Forgiving means taking the high road; it empowers rather than weakens you.

What are some reasons people hesitate to extend forgiveness to people who have hurt them?

Here are just a few: They find it embarrassing. It hurts their pride. They get some kind of payoff for withholding forgiveness. They don_t understand how a lack of forgiveness hurts them. They have no awareness of the freedom that forgiveness brings. There are so many more reasons; it_s sad, because these misunderstandings only serve to make people bitter.

What particular struggles have you had in forgiving others?

Thankfully, very few. I discovered the positive power of forgiveness as a young adult and never forgot the lessons it taught me. That made me more aware of the evidences of unforgiveness that I saw all around me, and my bewilderment over that lack of forgiveness prompted me to listen, pay attention, and try to figure out what the problem was_or rather, what the problems were.

In your book, you offer some compelling examples of forgiveness in the world. Tell us briefly about several of those stories.

One that comes immediately to mind is the overwhelming expression of forgiveness from the Amish community following the school shooting there, which happened after The Sacred Art of Forgiveness was published. Another example I write about in the book is the 1994 civil war in Rwanda, in which unimaginable atrocities were committed by both the Hutus and the Tutsis_and how small but significant gestures of forgiveness in the aftermath helped bring about a measure of healing.

You tell your readers that there are times when they need to ignore the adage _forgive and forget._ What do you mean by that?

Sometimes we need to _forgive and remember_ so we never allow others to abuse us again. In any tragic or traumatic situation involving atrocities or abuse, _forgive and remember_ serves as a much more effective motto.