The Law of Forgiveness, by ABC (Softcover, 2009)|
(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)
Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
What struck me most about this book was the author's heavy self-promotion. While the book does provide good information on its title topic and can be very helpful, it struck me as having too much of an advertorial focus. It seemed a primary goal of this book was to promote the Connie Domino workshops.
The testimonials seem too good to be true. So and so did this, and that miraculous thing happened right away. The author provides no way to check the veracity of these accounts via third-party references. This a problem, because author relies heavily on these accounts and they make up the bulk of the text (or at least seem to).
While she doesn't provide sources backing her own success stories (except for another self-help author or two), she does provide sources for a few non-workshop accounts of following forgiveness principles. One example is the healing in South Africa following the ending of apartheid.
Among the good information is a script for developing your own forgiveness incantation. Such an incantation can be very effective if you use it properly. She doesn't claim that there are magic words that have any particular power. She provides a means of centering your thoughts in a structured manner.
I'm not an expert in this field, but it is my opinion that forgiveness must come from deep down inside. The incantation won't work unless it's something you really meditate upon. I think this is the author's intent, but she doesn't make that clear enough in my opinion.
While I personally do not doubt that her process is effective (if used properly), she doesn't make a rigorous case for it. Maybe her point is that you should try this for yourself and make up your own mind based on results. She may intend for those results to serve as a sampler for what you can really do if you participate in one of her workshops.
This book consists of 9 chapters. The first chapter provides us with the author's background in forgiveness, and how she personally developed an appreciation for its power. In the second chapter, she explains how to forgive in an effective manner.
One valuable point she brings up, in conflict with some other authors on the subject, is it's not necessary for you to contact the person you are forgiving. While in many cases, it may be advisable to make such contact, in many cases it's inadvisable. And in some, it's impossible. When authors state that you have to "make peace" with the other person, how can children forgive dead parents? Countless other examples abound, where contacting the person is just not a good idea or is simply impossible.
Another valuable point is she says you need to forgive yourself. Berating yourself for your past mistakes, unless you need to correct them in the present moment, doesn't help. It does bring negativity into the foreground and serve as a barrier to healing. Some other authors talk about forgiving others but overlook self-forgiveness. In many cases, forgiving yourself is necessary for you to forgive others. So it was good she covered this.
In the third chapter, she provides what I consider a weak explanation of the science behind forgiveness. For coffee table talk, it may be fine. But it isn't a serious discussion. I believe she included it as food for thought, so readers would be open to things that currently defy explanation. I think she was making the point that just because you can't explain doesn't mean it isn't so. Try explaining how your brain works, and you see that this point rings true.
Chapter 4 is about healing relationships, Chapter 5 is about working through anger, and Chapter 6 is about the law of forgiveness in the workplace. In Chapter 7, she discusses the relationship between forgiveness and health. Then in Chapter 8, she talks about taking it to the next level: higher consciousness.
Chapter 9 proposes a forgiveness revolution. This is an interesting concept. The author proposes this as a means to world peace. If you look at all wars, you see that the people who start them and end them are not the same people who fight them. Wars make a few individuals very rich, and so I think it's greed rather than grudges fueling them.
So I don't consider world peace a reason to forgive. The most compelling reason is one she discussed and alluded to in the rest of the book: inner peace. People so driven by greed and power lust that they orchestrate wars aren't seeking inner peace, so this is a non-starter for them.
If you have a forgiveness problem and need some motivation to attend a forgiveness workshop, then this book should be on your reading list. If you're not in that situation, it's probably still worth the ridiculously low price and the time it takes to read it. Despite all the workshop promotion in it, I still found this book worth reading.