Monday, October 26, 2020

Moving Forward with Self-Forgiveness - A Book Review


Moving Forward

Six Steps to Forgiving Yourself     


Breaking Free from the Past


 Everett L. Worthington Jr.

Reviewed by

  Geoffrey W. Sutton


Ev (Everett L. Worthington Jr. Ph.D.) has a real life story to tell. Ev is an internationally recognized forgiveness scholar who has studied forgiveness as a scientist, helped others forgive as a psychologist, and spread the good news freely in workshops and on his website. But Moving Forward is different. Moving Forward helps us to forgive ourselves. And more than that—Moving Forward is intensely personal. Ev tells his own struggle with self-forgiveness as he dealt with his mother’s murder and his brother’s suicide.

Worthington shares six steps to self-forgiveness. He blends science, stories, and faith as he reveals how to forgive ourselves. I will briefly describe the steps below.

1. Receive God’s forgiveness. Ev is a Christian so it is natural that he would begin the process by confession of past wrongdoing with a reminder to accept God’s forgiveness and the accompanying peace of mind. I would like to point out that Worthington is also a scientist and the ideas that follow do not require a commitment to a religious faith.

2. Repair relationships. Sometimes, we have wronged others. Sometimes it is possible to repair those relationships by confession, apologies, and restitution. Sometimes, we can make matters worse by re-contact some people. But sometimes it is not possible, wise, or safe to interact with others so, we can help others who have been wronged and struggle with forgiveness.

3. Rethink the messages you send to yourself. Ev has studied the science of rumination. Many of us have regrets, which turn into self-blame and self-condemnation. Such recurrent thoughts can be reduced using cognitive and religious methods.

4. REACH emotional self-forgiveness. Ev draws on his REACH model to show how the five steps can be applied to ourselves. REACH is an acrostic: R = Recall the hurt, E = Empathize with yourself, A = give an altruistic gift of understanding and forgiveness to yourself, C = Commit to emotional self-forgiveness, and H = Hold on to self-forgiveness.

5. Rebuild self-acceptance. We can accept ourselves as imperfect yet valuable.

6. Resolve to live virtuously. We know from experience that we will not be perfect. However, we can learn to support others and give to them.


Moving Forward is a different kind of forgiveness book. Ev has blended personal stories, Christian spirituality, and psychological science. The book is a gift to those who struggle with self-blame, self-condemnation, and the burden of guilt.

I recommend Moving Forward to any who need to let their past failings go and move forward. I think it can be a valuable recommendation for counselors and psychotherapists as well.

Buy: Moving Forward on AMAZON     GOOGLE BOOKS

Find other books on Forgiveness here.

Cite this review

Sutton, G.W. (2020, October 26). Moving Forward with Self-Forgiveness. Sutton Reviews. 

Self-Forgiveness - Ev Worthington on YouTube

Book Reference (APA style)

Worthington, E. L. Jr. (2013). Moving Forward: Six Steps to Forgiving Yourself and Breaking Free from the Past. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press.

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 Related Post

Christian Counseling and Psychotherapy Books


I received my copy of Moving Forward from Ev Worthington whom I have known since 1974 when we were graduate students at the University of Missouri.


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