• Last updatedLast updated: Jan 27, 2021

6 Most Inspiring Books on Forgiveness — Learn Why and How to Let It Go

The art of forgiveness is something we all need to learn. Grievance can be that little seed in your soul that will not go away on its own; instead, it will grow bigger, piercing each corner of your mind with its sharp thorns. In this post, I’ve collected the best books on forgiveness that helped me let it go and live again.

Editor's Choice

This heartbreaking story will teach you the art of forgiveness and explain why you should forgive even your worst enemies

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9.6
Best Step-by-Step Guide

This step-by-step tutorial will explain why and, more importantly, how to forgive

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9.5
Most Diversity of Opinions

A story about a Nazi soldier asking for forgiveness, but does he deserve it?

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9.2
Best from the Amish

Learn more about the story that shocked the whole world: how and why do Amish forgive with ease?

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9.0
Best Fiction on Forgiveness

A beautiful and sad story about the importance to forgive and accept the closest people of your life

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9.0
Best Children's Book

An adorable short story with fantastic illustrations that will teach your kid (and you!) the right values

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8.9

Top 6 Books on Forgiveness Review 2021

Features
  • Useful: 9.8
  • Easy to read: 9.3 (tough at the beginning)
  • Christianity-related: yes
  • Publication date: 2012

When you start reading this book, please, equip yourself with a box of paper tissues, cause this is gonna be a complex one to digest. Nevertheless, it’s totally worth it.

Chris Williams describes a true story that happened to him and changed his entire life. Divided it into “before” and “after”. A drunk driver crashed into Chris’s car where his entire family was: his pregnant wife, son, and daughter. No one survived, except him.

It’s hard to imagine what a man can feel in these circumstances. Despair, madness, anger, hopelessness, desolation, depression… Only time can heal all this. Or something else can help?

Chris shares his thoughts and reasons for why he must forgive his offender, no matter what it takes. And it does take a lot: courage, wisdom, time, belief… A large part of the book is dedicated to the Savior and his role in the process of letting it go.

An emotional, heartbreaking story that is, however, filled with the author’s optimism and even humor leaving a positive overall impression. The writing is simple and straightforward, it’s easy to read, and the book itself is not that long. If you’re not religious, the book, however, might push you away.

Pros
  • True story of forgiveness
  • Explains why you should forgive and what it gives you
  • Author’s own way to forgive is described
Cons
  • Very emotional and heart-breaking at times
  • Not for atheists
2.

Radical Forgiveness: Making Room for the MiracleBest Step-by-Step Guide

Features
  • Useful: 9.9
  • Easy to read: 9.2
  • Christianity-related: yes
  • Publication date: 1997

If you need a guide, a tutorial, a reference book, if you will, to provide you with some real tips towards a genuine, profound forgiveness, this one surely deserves its place on your shelf.

My close friend advised me on this when I needed it most. And I’m grateful to her and to the author of this fantastic, mind-changing work. I now keep it at hand, just like my collection of the Carnegie books, so that I could re-read some parts when necessary and get that inspiration and strength I lack on at any given moment.

What I liked most about it: it’s not just a philosophical text about “how good it is to forgive”, it’s a step-by-step instruction on HOW to do it. Also, it contains things other than just forgiveness; the book will open a new way of thinking, loving, and living.

A great, insightful work that will help you to get rid of victim mentality, release tons of anger, finally become responsible for your life, thoughts, and feelings, and not to blame others for anything. Contains some controversial thoughts like “there is no right or wrong” which are explained in a way some people would argue with.

Pros
  • Step-by-step guide
  • Changes your life perspective
  • Leaves you emotionally recharged
  • Contains a handy workbook
Cons
  • There are some thoughts that may seem controversial to some
Features
  • Useful: 9.4
  • Easy to read: 9.0
  • Christianity-related: partly
  • Publication date: 1969

It’s obviously not easy to forgive a friend who once betrayed you. An ex who broke your heart. An abusive mother who you try not to communicate with. But imagine yourself in the shoes of a man whose entire nation suffered genocide, with millions of your brothers and sisters had been killed in the most violent way possible. And one of their killers is asking you to forgive him on behalf of those millions of victims. What would you do?

This is the story of a Jew who was incarcerated in a Nazi concentration camp during the World War II. Simon Wiesenthal was performing physical labor when one of the nurses asked him to follow her. In the room she led Simon to, was an SS soldier, lying on a bed with fatal injuries. The young Nazi tells Simon his story: he was raised in a religious family and even wanted to become a priest, but the war began, and his dream didn’t come true.

Soon the soldier’s company arrived to a Russian small town where they were commanded to kill all the Jews (mainly the old, children, and women – those who weren’t at the war). They were throwing grenades at them, setting fire to the houses they were locked in, and shooting anyone who tried to get out of the houses to save themselves. At his deathbed, the Nazi soldier was asking for forgiveness.

Simon didn’t say a word. He was sitting by, trying to listen to the soldier’s horrible story, standing up in the middle of his story several times in order to leave. The soldier wasn’t forgiven. At the end, Simon finally stood up and left in silence.

The rest of the book consists of 53 opinions given by different people: political leaders, psychologists, writers, Holocaust survivors, and many more. Did Simon do the right thing? What would forgiveness give him and the Nazi soldier? Unlike the Radical Forgiveness which many blame for defining and defeating the only point of view, this book will provide you with many, all of which are supported with their arguments, so that you could define your own position in this controversial situation.

Pros
  • Based on a true story
  • Shocking story which won’t leave you indifferent
  • Multiple opinions from people of different culture, profession, and beliefs
Cons
  • Rather tough to read because of the topic
  • Won’t give you a step-by-step guide on how to forgive
Features
  • Useful: 9.2
  • Easy to read: 8.9
  • Christianity-related: yes
  • Publication date: 2007

Don’t let the name of this book push you away if you’re not an Amish yourself or don’t support their values. The book is not focused on religion, instead, it shares the story of Amish families who managed to forgive the killer of their children. How and why did they do it? What it gave them and the killer’s family?

In 2006, Charles Roberts, 32, entered a small school in Pennsylvania, asked only the girls to stay, tied their legs, and opened fire on all of them after which shot himself.

Several days later, families of the shot girls brought words of forgiveness to the Charles’ family. The story drew attention of the media, and, apart from the obvious questions “Why did he do it?”, “Why did he shoot himself?”, “Why girls only?”, another one, much more popular arose: “How did they manage to forgive him so quick?”. “Amish forgiveness” became the main sensation of the world media.

In the book, you’ll discover the Amish philosophy on forgiveness, some historical facts, and the difference between pardon, forgiveness, and reconciliation. The book made me think more about this topic, and I really focused on teaching myself to let it go faster and easier to save myself from the devastating feeling inside that keeps growing day by day, if you don’t brace up and forgive the person who once hurt you. If Amish can do so with the killer of their children, you surely can forgive the ex who cheated on you.

Pros
  • Heart-breaking story that makes an impact
  • The best from the Amish philosophy of forgiveness
  • Rather easy to read
Cons
  • Might not be so impressive for non-religious people
  • Amish forgive outsiders with ease, but never – those of their families who left the community
5.

The Last SongBest Fiction on Forgiveness

Features
  • Useful: 8.8
  • Easy to read: 9.3
  • Christianity-related: no
  • Publication date: 2009

If you’ve seen the movie by the same name (with Miley Cyrus), you already know the plot of this one. It doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t benefit from the book.

17-year-old Veronica Miller is a typical teenager with a typical behaviour of a young girl whose parents are divorced. She thinks she knows how to live her life, or, more likely, makes an impression that she does. In fact, that’s her psychological defence: look everyone, I’m almost an adult, I’m strong and independent, though my inner child is ruined and betrayed by my parents’ divorce. Ronnie thinks her parents hate her, especially her father who lives far away. Despite all the disagreement, they have something in common: they both adore music.

When her parents broke up, Ronnie stopped playing piano, and never came back to it ever since. And when her mom sends Veronica to spend summer at her dad’s, she doesn’t feel that enthusiastic about the whole idea. Even living with him, she continues to ignore him, showing her anger and grievance. Dad tries to reconnect with her through music, even writes a song for Ronnie, but it takes some time and not the happiest events before she finally forgives him. Since then, the chains of grievance that were holding her back during all these years, fell down, and the girl starts experiencing deep, pure, positive emotion: first love, love to her parents and brother, and love to music she once refused on.

Though ending on a sad note, the Last Song leaves you uplifted and inspired. Grievance can make us feel dead inside, forgetting our true feelings and beliefs. Only through forgiveness the main character managed to open her heart to everything good that actually has been around her all this time.

Pros
  • Beautiful, uplifting fiction
  • Awesome film adaptation
  • Easy to digest
Cons
  • Quite predictable storyline
  • Not an actual manual on how to forgive
6.

Lilly's Purple Plastic PurseBest Children's Book

Features
  • Useful: 7.8 (for adults)
  • Easy to read: 10
  • Christianity-related: no
  • Publication date: 2006

This beautiful in its simplicity story is a must-have for young parents who want to introduce true life values to their kids in a fun way. This tiny book will teach your little ones not only the importance of forgiveness, but also respect to others, understanding, and acceptance.

Lilly is a small girl who admires her teacher, Mr. Slinger. Admires so much, that wants to become a teacher herself. It’s an absolutely adorable kid who actually loves everything and everyone around, until one day.

When Lilly brings her purple plastic bag and movie star glasses to school, she’s filled with excitement. She wants to show her possessions to everyone, but Mr. Slinger asks her to wait till it’s sharing time. Lilly is not in the mood to wait, so Mr. Slinger has to confiscate her belongings. Lilly feels almost betrayed by the person she admired the most in this world, just two minutes ago. She draws a cruel pic of Mr. Slinger, and puts it into his bag.

How will Mr. Slinger react? What will Lilly feel? How long will she be able to live with that grievance in her heart?

The book is spiced up with the colorful, cute illustrations from the author, Kevin Henkes. The characters are depicted as mice, and the whole things looks creative and beautiful. Your kiddo will definitely love the hardcover edition with its thick pages of the highest paper quality and vivid fun illustrations all over it.

A fantastic children’s book that teaches right values. It will be of use for their parents as well since a really deep, complicated student-teacher relationship is shown through the funny mice characters. If you decide on this one, opt for the hardcover edition to enjoy its talented artwork at its fullest.

Pros
  • A simple, yet insightful story
  • Beautiful artwork
  • Filled with humor
  • Beneficial for both children and their parents
Cons
  • Childish, not every adult will enjoy and enjoy

Conclusion

If you’re looking for an inspiring, Christianity-based guide, start with the Let It Go: A True Story of Tragedy and Forgiveness. Based on a heartbreaking story of a man who lost his loved ones, this book will, nevertheless, lift you up. Radical Forgiveness: Making Room for the Miracle is an actual guide to forgiveness – it will not only explain why you should forgive but also how to do it.

The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness is designed for those who are ready for more than just one truth, it contains 53 different points of view so that you could find your own. Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy is another terrible, yet inspiring true story, supported by the Christian-Amish philosophy on how and why to forgive and let it go.

The Last Song is a beautiful fiction, that will metaphorically encourage you to leave everything that you grieve about in the past to let something new, better fulfill your life. Finally, Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse is an adorable short story for little ones that teaches not only forgiveness but also respect and patience. Opt for the hardcover version to enjoy the author’s beautiful artwork as well.

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