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Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers [Book Review] by Leslie Leyland Fields, Jill Hubbard (Thomas Nelson2014)


Forgiveness is something we all struggle with. For many of us, the struggle began early.

Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers does an excellent job of connecting with someone whose parents have blown it (which, on some level, is all of us). But more importantly, this helpful volume walks readers through the morass of pain, shows them how to process it through a scriptural filter, and releases them into the freedom of their future made possible by God’s grace in Christ.

Each chapter includes stories of painful pasts, both from the author, Leslie Leyland Fields, and from others. Stories of failed parents and how it is essential (and possible) for us to process our way past the pain by God’s grace. I’m certain some readers will find these stories helpful, but at times these long sections seemed more as a method for the author to process her own story rather than to help the readers with theirs.

The real meat of this book (and benefit) comes in the “Afterword” of each chapter by Dr. Jill Hubbard. She writes from a place of authority, rooted in God’s Word, and not from the perspective of recovery or the subjective nature of feelings. With the levelheadedness of Scripture, she ends each chapter with questions that probe the surface and invite the reader into the safety and freedom that forgiveness offers.

Three biblical characters form the underpinning of the principles this book:

  • Jonah—who ran from the reality God called him to, struggling to extend forgiveness to those who were unworthy and who had caused so much pain.
  • Joseph—who was deeply wounded and forsaken by his family but who learned to forgive by seeing the big picture from God’s perspective.
  • Jesus—who, although He isn’t mentioned as a primary character, is THE primary model of forgiveness—extending it to us freely and calling us to extend the same to others.

If you’re looking for help to forgive someone who has hurt you—even if they aren’t your parents—Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers will come alongside and walk you through the process.