"When Jesus told Peter he had to forgive seventy times seven times, it wasn't a numbers game. Jesus was teaching that forgiveness is as intrinsic to life as our breathing. Forgiveness has to be a continuous way of life. Forgiveness has to always be in the present tense for it is never done," writes Antoinette Bosco, an award-wining journalist, a syndicated columnist for the National Catholic News Service, and a freelance writer. She is the author of ten books including Choosing Mercy: A Mother of Murder Victims Pleads to End the Death Penalty. In August 1993, her son and daughter-in-law were killed in their Montana home. Bosco forgave the man who committed the crime and has been working tirelessly against the death penalty. In addition, the author's son committed suicide. These two tragedies have compelled Bosco to experience soul-deep pain and to ponder the nature of evil, violence, anger, grace, revenge, love and reconciliation — all under the umbrella of radical forgiveness.

This paperback is divided into chapters on:

• Jesus' Mission — To Reveal His Father
• The Crucial Face-off — Evil vs. Forgiveness
• Human Ways vs. Jesus' Way of Dealing with Hurt and Injustice
• When the Heart Blocks Forgiveness
• How Forgiveness Frees the Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul
• God's Non-Negotiable Rule for Human Interaction
• Forgiveness — Always Present Tense
• How Forgiveness Brings Us to Peace
• Forgiveness — The Key to God's Kingdom

In making her case for the Christian practice of forgiveness, Bosco presents quotations and observations by N. T. Wright, Erik Kolbell, Hans Kung, Walter Wink, Robert Barron, Joel Marcus, Harry Emerson Fosdick, Christopher Marshall, and others. Bosco shares her own grief and the challenge of loving an enemy in the name and spirit of Jesus. She shares many stories about brave souls who have practiced forgiveness in hot spots around the world. For us, the most incisive material covers the dire cultural and spiritual effects of anger and hatred against so-called enemies in America where so many people believe in revenge and pay-back.

Bosco has taken a lot of verbal abuse over the years for her stance against capital punishment. And, of course, there are plenty of movies to fuel the idea of "getting even" with those who harm us or our loved ones. The author even carries this phenomenon into the world arena, noting:

"If ever we are to have peace in this world, it must begin with the recognition that we need to change a long-established mindset that makes people of one country adversaries of another. We have to stop thinking of others as enemies and start seeing them as truly our kin. Only then can we acknowledge that they are loved by God just as we are, and that we should all be cherishing one another."