Forgiveness after Trauma

A Path to Find Healing and Empowerment

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Susannah Griffith wishes she had spent less time thinking about forgiveness. But as a Christian minister, a biblical scholar, and a survivor of abuse, she has learned a lot about it.

In Forgiveness after Trauma, Griffith explores what the Bible says--and doesn't say--about the biblical call to forgive. She helps readers understand this command in ways that are healing and restorative, framing it within broader concerns around lament, anger, accountability, release and rebirth, and reconciliation.

The result is what Griffith calls "trauma-informed forgiveness," which takes seriously God's forgiveness of sinners while centering survivors of abuse and aiding their healing. This view also empowers those who have been harmed in other ways by abuses of power and justice in religious institutions.

Readers will resonate with Griffith's astute biblical analysis and personal reflection, which point to God's love--a love that never includes abuse and strives for justice for the vulnerable.

1. Biblical Forgiveness(es): Not What I Thought
2. Anger: Making Peace with Holy Rage
3. Lament: Becoming the Storyteller Again
4. Accountability: Answering for Choices and Living with Consequences
5. Reconciliation: Don't Think Too Small
6. Release and Rebirth: Life Begins, Again


"Forgiveness after Trauma provides desperately needed insight and clarity on one of the most significant issues survivors face as they take steps toward safety and recovery. Confusion, harmful messages, and stigmas surrounding the topic of forgiveness have often been obstacles and pitfalls on the path to freedom. Susannah Griffith helps us understand what it really means to forgive after trauma. She destigmatizes anger, extends permission and invitation to lament, answers many important questions about accountability and reconciliation, and gives hope for the future. She has taken a depth of personal experience, loving care, and profound expertise to write a book that will empower many who find themselves stuck and unsure how to move forward on their healing journey."

Wade Mullen, author of Something's Not Right: Decoding the Hidden Tactics of Abuse--and Freeing Yourself from Its Power

"In Forgiveness after Trauma, Griffith weaves together Scripture, memoir, and practical theology in a trauma-informed ethic of forgiveness. Her compelling, nuanced writing is required reading for clergy, lay leaders, and anyone willing to accompany survivors navigating intimate partner violence."

Teresa Kim Pecinovsky, author of Mother God

"Through her own story of trauma and recovery, Susannah Griffith gently urges readers to discover the many facets of forgiveness, paving a way forward after harm. On her journey she leaves no stone unturned: addressing anger, lament, accountability, and empathy. Her story is one I'll return to again and again."

Tiffany Bluhm, speaker and author of Prey Tell: Why We Silence Women Who Tell the Truth and How Everyone Can Speak Up

"In Forgiveness after Trauma, Susannah Griffith speaks from a mixture of personal narrative, biblical scholarship, and pastoral experience to deliver a trauma-informed understanding of forgiveness. Griffith offers the church an opportunity to reshape its approach to reconciliation and forgiveness in order to better support those who have experienced trauma. While books on forgiveness abound, I have not come across one like Forgiveness after Trauma."

J.W. Buck, author of Everyday Activism: Following 7 Practices of Jesus to Create a Just World

The Author

  1. Susannah Griffith
    Michael Griffith

    Susannah Griffith

    Susannah Griffith (PhD, Vanderbilt University) is an independent scholar whose work focuses on the intersection of biblical studies and trauma. She is also a minister advocating and caring for the marginalized outside the walls of the church. Susannah's first...

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