Forgiveness belongs to the realm of spiritual life and grows out of our acceptance of God's grace. According to L. William Countryman, Episcopal priest and professor of New Testament at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, it is not just another virtue to add to our stock but a whole new way of being. Forgiveness has little to do with being nice and it is not just about how we feel; "it's about how we live together, about how we undertake to behave toward one another, about the releasing of old wrongs, the restoration of peace, and the mending of relationships."
Looking at the story of Joseph in Genesis and other scriptural accounts, Countryman shows how forgiveness is always a risky act that opens the door to the future. It is closely linked to both faith and justice. On the journey of forgiveness, God is always with us opening our hearts and helping us cope with grudges, anger, guilt, and shame. Only the strong can forgive. We realize the difficulties inherent in the act when dealing with absent offenders, sacred authorities, or repeat offenders in abusive situations. In this fine book, Countryman sheds light on "the gracious and generous project of redeeming the world through the spread of forgiveness."