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When You've Been Wronged: Moving From Bitterness to Forgiveness - eBook
Moody Publishers / 2007 / ePub
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Sometimes when we are wronged, we struggle to overcome the anger and bitterness that come with unforgiveness. Pastor Erwin Lutzer examines different types of offense and offenders and offers practical, biblical advice for handling these conflicts in a God-honoring and freedom-producing way.
Imagine walking through a maximum security prison and seeing the cell keys hanging inside the cells. By choosing not to forgive, we voluntarily sentence ourselves to diminished, pain-filled lives. Why would anyone do such a thing? Because forgiveness seems an inappropriate response to offense. To experience a broken promise, betrayed confidence, personal rejection, false accusation, injury, or abuse, is to be wounded. Such wounds cry out for justice. But what if justice is not possible? Or if it doesn't undo the damage done? What then? In this concise, quickly-read volume, noted pastor and author Erwin Lutzer carefully illustrates how it is possible to right the wrongs of your life. Whether you've been wronged--or have wronged others--he makes it possible to experience the freedom of forgiveness, and the restoration of a clear conscience.
DR. ERWIN LUTZER has served as senior pastor of the Moody Church in Chicago for over 30 years. A renowned theologian, Dr. Lutzer earned his BTh from Winnipeg Bible College, a ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary, and an MA in philosophy from Loyola University. He is an award-winning author and the featured speaker on three radio programs that can be heard on more than 700 radio stations in the United States and around the world. Dr. Lutzer and his wife, Rebecca, live in the Chicago area and have three grown children and eight grandchildren.
Recently I came across a new title by Erwin Lutzer, When You've Been Wronged: Moving From Bitterness to Forgiveness. The contents of the book are no stranger to any pastor who has experience in ministry. The main thrust of When You've Been Wronged is that when Christians have been wronged by others, what will they then do? Will they be offended and hold on to their offense, never letting go, or will they release it to live without the bondage that comes with unforgiveness?
Lutzer's work contains nine chapters, several of which are "Satan's Mixed Bag of Offensives" (1), "The Blinding Power of an Offense" (2), "From Bitterness to Blessing" (7), "The High Cost of Reconciliation" (8), and "When Reconciliation Fails" (9).
I firmly believe that Christians, especially pastors, can never read enough books on the dynamics of church life. Reading much in this area helps to develop wisdom. There is the ideal standard in the Bible of behavior for God's people, and then there is the reality of how Christians actually act. While not all works published on this topic are equal in benefit and insight, there is usually something helpful to be gleaned from most of them. When You've Been Wronged focuses on the Christian's response to being wronged. The one qualification I believe would have improved the book is if Lutzer would have acknowledged that sometimes people react to perceived wrongs as well. Not every time someone feels they have been wronged is it based on a legitimate offense. Sometimes, because of our pride, we think an offense has been committed against us when in truth no offense has been committed at all. It is our pride that reacts and wants to take offense. Then we respond with anger, bitterness, and sometimes we seek revenge.
Lutzer shows great understanding of how some deal with an offense (or as I mentioned above, a perceived offense). His insight can only be the result of years of ministry experience. He says there are five traits characteristic of the person who is in bondage to an offense. The first is that they are walled in by bitterness (26-27); the second is that they are blind to their own personal faults (27-30); the third is that they search for vengeance (30-34); the fourth is that they are bent on destroying the offending party (34-36); and the final one is that they have given themselves over to idolatry (36-39). There is much good material to be found within these pages, such as when Lutzer talks about how committed the offended is to holding on to the offense: they will make sure "that no one will [be allowed] to challenge his right to deep bitterness and resentment" (27). "[A]ll information that is favorable to him is allowed entry and encouraged; information that will challenge or admonish him will be filtered out. He will spend time with friends who can be trusted to confirm his bitterness, to help justify his feelings" (ibid.). "Facts are skewed, information is twisted, and sometimes reality is ignored in order to justify bitterness and anger" (ibid.). Those caught in the clenches of bitterness against others for offenses may find this book challenging and painful to read. It confronts the root of where such bitterness comes from: pride.
If you are trying to understand your own feelings of bitterness against someone else for what you believe they did against you, or if you are trying to understand the bondage that someone else may be locked in, read When You've Been Wronged. It will be well worth your time.
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