Flora Slosson Wuellner is a teacher, retreat leader, spiritual director, and ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. Her last book was Feed My Shepherds: Spiritual Healing from Wounds of Family, Church, and Community. Her latest is a thought-provoking paperback on forgiveness. She recognizes that forgiveness is a hot topic in our times as individuals, communities, and even nation states are agonizing over the moral meanings of this process.
Wuellner uses the Beatitudes as a way of framing the multidimensional nature of forgiveness. At the end of each of the nine chapters, she includes a healing meditation. Another outstanding feature of this resource is the author's treatment of the thorniest challenges and problems inherent in the art of forgiving. She demonstrates a finely tuned discernment that does justice to these complications.
At the outset, Wuellner states: "I have been struck by Jesus' curious toughness about forgiveness. He uses that word forgiveness only in situations in which the offender has not only felt remorse but has repented, which means to turn around and go in another direction. In cases where there has been no such repentance, Jesus speaks of loving and praying for the enemy, but he does not use the specific word forgiveness. When on the cross, as he looks at his unremorseful, unrepentant executioners, he asks God to forgive them."
The author also has some startling things to say about the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation, the dangers of forgiving on behalf of other people, the necessity for setting limits and borders in this Christian virtue, the challenges of forgiving ourselves, the value in seeing the wounds of our wounders, and the importance of speaking truth in love.
Given the fact that forgiveness is one of the most distinctive dimensions of their faith, it is imperative that Christians constantly explore and reassess this important subject. Flora Slosson Wuellner has written a soul-stretching overview of this spiritual practice that is perfect for adult study groups.