One of the issues today that many people struggle with is the concept and practice of forgiveness. It is natural once someone has offended us that we hold a grudge against them and try to exact some type of payment from them. Unforgiveness has the capacity to keep both parties (offender and offended) locked up in a very personal prison. The Bible clearly teaches forgiveness and gives directives for both the offender and the offended. I recently finished lay minister and Christian counselor Edward Mrkvicka’s new book, “The Sin of Forgiveness”. I must say that I was drawn to the somewhat oxymoronic title. I have to say that with a title such as this, I was afraid of what I would find inside. What I found inside was an unclear, and at times, inconsistent treatment of the subject matter.
From the beginning, Mrkvicka speaks of a wrong and right kind of forgiveness. He speaks of secular forgiveness and divine forgiveness. If I understand it correctly, the author believes the necessary element, the pivotal point between secular and divine forgiveness, is the matter of repentance on behalf of the offender. He writes, “The secular world calls for forgiveness no matter the circumstances, or, at best, in response to the offender saying, ‘I’m sorry.’ Christian forgiveness is given in response to repentance.” I don’t know where to begin with this book. At every turn, and at the moment the author is building toward a good point, he introduces an unrelated thought that muddies the waters.
Mrkvicka further confused me by constantly going back and forth between two examples of forgiveness that should have been stand-alone discussions: forgiveness between two people and forgiveness that results in salvation. While one is an example and picture of the other, it does not keep with the flow of the book. At times the book seems more of a treatise on the decline of American morals than a treatment of biblical forgiveness. Doctrinally, the book is hit and miss for me. As a pastor, I understand where the author is going with the concept of divine forgiveness and the necessity of forgiveness therein. That’s a hit for me. The author’s example of the consequences of unconditional forgiveness as it relates to remarriage and his views of salvation are a miss for me because they took away from the flow and purpose of the book.
I was asked to write an honest review of this book. You may not agree and that’s okay. You don’t have to. The thoughts and reflections offered in this review are my personal opinion. “The Sin of Forgiveness” is relatively short, approximately 150 pages. I enjoyed how Mrkvicka used extensive amounts of scripture to make his points. That is always a plus. However, his introduction of so peripheral information takes away from the main point. I personally believe “The Sin of Forgiveness” is a book that is best left alone.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Cross Focused Reviews as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”