Moving On: Beyond Forgive and Forget
by Ruth Ann Batstone
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You have been deeply hurt by someone—wounded physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually by their actions. How do you move forward and walk out biblical forgiveness? And what makes forgiveness “biblical?” Ruth Ann Batstone, a child abuse survivor and experienced counselor, has wrestled deeply with these questions and now gives practical, God-honoring direction to others who have been hurt and can’t just “forgive and forget.”
Batstone’s Moving On presents a compassionate and nuanced exploration of what forgiveness is and is not. It looks honestly at the realities of deep hurt and offers concrete direction for working through the process of forgiveness. Batstone points readers to Jesus, the man of sorrows and well acquainted with grief, as the one who understands their struggle and is with them each step of the way. His gospel is not a panacea for trouble, but it is the path through trouble as we keep our eyes fixed on him. Batstone doesn’t promise that we can forget the evil that has been done, but she does promise that we can grow in faith, hope, and love as we turn to Jesus daily.
The material in Moving On has been taught by the author in small group, Bible study, and conference settings. Moving On includes interactive study questions for each chapter, making the book ideal for group discussions and proactive individual reading and reflection.
Ruth Ann Batstone, MS, is a counselor, as well as a mentor for the Mentored Sonship Course at Serge. She is also Senior Staff Consultant with Parakaleo.us, an organization that trains and supports the wives of church planters in the United States and around the world. Ruth Ann lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband Stuart when they’re not traveling to teach and encourage Serge members on the field. They have four married children and twelve amazing grandchildren.
"I know of no better book on forgiveness, either in print or out of print, than Moving On by Ruth Ann Batstone. Find the warm invitation to explore your heart and discover what lies underneath the pain of being unjustly wounded. Discover the path of forgiveness—not an easy sprint but one filled with unexpected obstacles. But the forgiveness path is filled with hope. On this path you’ll learn how your story of forgiveness fits with God’s story and how you can find in God’s forgiveness power to forgive more than you ever imagined possible. Discover a new power to love God and others more deeply. Batstone offers a rare combination of insights rooted in sound gospel theology and compassion born out of her own brokenness. She has the finely honed skills of a soul-care surgeon. Read it slowly and prayerfully, then pass it on."
Steve Childers, Professor, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, FL; President, Pathway Learning
"Nothing is more daily, necessary, and complex than the calling God has given us to live and love as forgivers. That’s why I’m thrilled about, my friend, Ruth Ann Batstone’s new book. Moving On is the most gospel-informed, cliché-devoid, honest, and practical book I’ve ever read on the topic of forgiveness. Written with the tears and joy of her own story, Ruth Ann helps us think and pray through a multitude of challenging relational scenarios we will experience between the resurrection and return of Jesus. Always bringing us back to the perfect forgiveness we have in the gospel, Ruth Ann gives wisdom and hope to imperfect forgivers like me."
Scotty Smith, Teacher in Residence, West End Community Church, Nashville, TN; author
"After 2000 years and change, you’d think we would have a handle on forgiveness. We do and we don’t. Ruth Ann Batstone has spent the majority of her adult life in the trenches engaging the trajectory of the human heart. She is a wise, compelling, and honest woman who personally knows the agony to forgive and the freedom available when we do. Her words light a fire in my heart to turn from the seductive darkness of resentment to the holy freedom of rejecting the allure of revenge. This beautiful labor of love invites us to join the war of love by taking up the powerful weapon of forgiveness. You will be far, far more equipped to live and love after reading this choice book."
Dan B. Allender, Professor of Counseling Psychology and Founding President, The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology
"Anyone who has been hurt, abused, or betrayed knows that ‘Forgive, just as God in Christ has forgiven you’ is a command from our Lord that, apart from his supernatural work of grace, is emotionally impossible. And yet, an inability or refusal to forgive is going to create all sorts of problems. It will imprison us to retaliatory fantasies, cut us off relationally, and, ironically, grant permission to those who have injured us to maintain power over us. It has been said that to forgive is to set a prisoner free, and the prisoner is you. With courage, transparency and compassion, Ruth Ann Batstone not only tells us, but shows us, how we can become free from that prison through Jesus. If you or someone you love has been hurt, abused, or betrayed by another, I cannot recommend this book highly enough."
Scott Sauls, Senior pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee; author of Jesus Outside the Lines and Befriend
"It was the worst kind of nightmare. A close friend had stabbed us in the back and we were reeling from anger, sorrow, and guilt (because we want to make them pay). This went on for some time, until we were finally ready to face the whole truth. That’s where this book comes in. Ruth Ann is a wise counselor. She wouldn’t let us do the easy thing of either demonizing the other or ourselves. This helpful book outlines the process she helped us discover as we embraced a healing path. I heartily recommend it to you."
John Thomas, Director of Global Training, Redeemer City to City
"Childhood examples of and teaching on forgiveness had left me with more questions than answers. It wasn’t until I met Ruth Ann that I discovered another way. The gospel way! One that has no place for denial of wrong committed. One that doesn’t minimize the damage. And one that waits with patience as we grapple with our own forgiveness. This is not a quick-fix book; it’s an invitation to a lifestyle. But be forewarned: Batstone’s words have a way of blowing up our preconceived ideas. Of laying the groundwork for the Spirit to begin that deep heart work that leads to true forgiveness and a new way of living."
Shari Thomas, Founder and Executive Director of Parakaleo
"Profound and practical. In this short study, Ruth Ann draws you to a new and deep consideration of forgiveness in light of the mercy of a Savior who has also suffered. As the sacrifice of the cross amazes afresh, prepare for your own heart to be uncovered. Walk with her through the searching questions she addresses to the heart, and expect the Spirit’s powerful healing work."
Chris and Esther Bennett, Chris is pastor of Wilton Community Church, north London, and lecturer at London Theological Seminary; Esther is Committee Manager with Londonwide Local Medical Committees
"We often take a mental picture of those who have hurt and betrayed us the most and then pull out that picture and say to ourselves, ‘I can never forgive you for what you did to me.’ Ruth Ann shows us how the gospel both gives us the supernatural power to forgive and be freed to love and serve God and others through the forgiveness he offers us."
John Freeman, Founder, Harvest USA; author, Hide or Seek
"Ruth Ann’s book doesn’t stint or compromise, but bravely cries, ‘forgiveness.’ She walks us into the wilderness of our hurt and offers us the steel of real forgiveness. Her book is like enjoying a cup of tea with a wise woman who has loved a Suffering Servant for a long time. She’s the real thing."
Robert Gordon, Marriage and Family Therapist
"J. I. Packer once compared two theologians in this manner. The writings of the first were biblical but ‘dry as toast.’ The second? Also biblical, but this one ‘wrote theology from his knees.’ The same can be said of my dear friend Ruth Ann Batstone. It is observable on every page of Moving On that she is drawing from a deep wellspring of her own personal struggles with forgiving others. Ruth Ann writes about ‘forgiving’ from her knees."
Bill Senyard, President of Gospel App Ministries; author of Fair Forgiveness
"Nothing is wasted, nothing is lost even when men betray, deceive, and seek to destroy our lives, because God forgives, restores, and redeems the evil. Ruth Ann tells her story of sexual abuse and betrayal with honesty and compassion as through the years she has immersed herself in God’s story of grace and forgiveness that brought healing to her life. And now the story goes forth with a message of hope to men and women whose lives have been shattered and broken by the evil done to them."
Rose Marie Miller, Author of From Fear to Freedom and Nothing Is Impossible with God; coauthor of The Gospel-Centered Parent
"Moving On helps all of us who get stuck in those nasty cycles of holding grudges and harboring resentment to find the freedom that our hearts and bodies crave. Inspirational, comprehensive, practical, and theologically robust, Moving On is a beautifully written primer on forgiveness that can be immediately applied to the heart. Ruth Ann’s writing is accessibly transparent. She writes as a seasoned traveler on the road to both give and receive forgiveness and as a seasoned mentor who has led many others to this same freedom."
Rev. Dr. Drew Angus, Director of Spiritual Outreach, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Philadelphia, PA
"Ruth Ann Batstone has written a redemptively tricky book. Who doesn’t want to read about forgiveness and moving on? While reading the narratives Ruth Ann uses to set the stage of this book, you find yourself reviewing your own betrayals and the ‘hall of fame’ folks who have caused you significant hurt and sorrow. That is when Moving On seeps into exposing your finely honed practice of hardness, bitterness, and self-protection that continues to hold you prisoner. Moving On moves the reader past reliving it and offers pragmatic solutions for the reader to learn the work of giving grace and forgiveness wholeheartedly."
Penny Freeman, Counselor with Serving Leaders Ministries and Parakaleo
"Though the title implies a manual on forgiveness, this book offers much more: a broad invitation to live freely in a broken world. Batstone shares richly from a lifetime of honest lament and practical wisdom, enabling us to thrive in the face of suffering. Whether you grapple with deep life-shattering wounds or daily petty irritations, or most likely both, you will find the rare jewel of conviction suffused with hope. I plan to re-read this treasure regularly."
Jennifer Myhre, Pediatrician and Serge Area Director for East and Central Africa; author of The Rwendigo Tales
"If you’ve ever grappled with forgiving someone, you need this book. And even if you haven’t, you still need to read Moving On; in this sinful world and in the hidden depths of our hearts, forgiveness is always a timely subject. This short book provides God-honoring, practical wisdom that is theologically and emotionally sound. Batstone’s clear, concise, insightful writing points the reader to the only source of forgiveness: Christ and the power of the gospel."
Maria Garriott, Resource Coordinator at Parakaleo; author of A Thousand Resurrections
"Forgiveness is costly and complex. In her book, Ruth Ann clearly articulates the complicated task of entering the process that offers grace that is counter to our natural desire for justice. From her own life experience as one harmed by someone she trusted, she is now called to walk the path of forgiveness with wounded others. She calls us to look more closely at our own brokenness and to receive grace as we, often reluctantly, are called to the difficult task of offering it to others. She masterfully invites all of us to embrace this path toward transformation found in following Jesus with love and forgiveness. This is a must-read for all who would accept that invitation."
Roy Shirley, Director, Cornerstone Center for Training and Development
"In a world filled with guilt, blaming, and shaming, Ruth Ann dares to write what would put her and most every counselor out of business—forgiveness. It’s a timely book that simultaneously points people to the greatest Forgiver, Jesus Christ, and then points to our hearts empowering us to forgive others as Christ forgave us."
Steve Resch, Senior Pastor, Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, Gahanna, Ohio
"For every person who knows they need to forgive but struggle to do so, Ruth Ann Batstone, seasoned counselor and compassionate guide, shows us the way. With personal stories, sound theology, and thorough research, Moving On helps us begin the process of forgiveness and encourages us to make it a lasting lifestyle. Don’t miss this essential work on gospel forgiveness!"
Elizabeth Turnage, Writer, Story Coach, Teacher; author of the Living Story Bible study series and the Living Story Blog
"Ruth Ann Batstone offers an accessible, much-needed resource that reflects biblically upon foundational issues and gives practical examples. She asks wise questions that bid us to follow Christ down the beautiful, daunting path of forgiveness. Gently and clearly, Ruth Ann challenges us to model him by forgiving even our deepest hurts. Because the unknowing world yearns to see Christ in us, I can’t wait to use this book."
Joel Hylton, Area Director for Serge Apprenticeships
"My wife and I first heard Ruth Ann speak on forgiveness years ago. It was like light seeping into the dark recesses of our hearts. Jesus thought forgiveness important enough that when he gave us the Lord’s Prayer the one item he commented on further was forgiveness. Ruth Ann’s book helps us put Jesus’s call to forgive into practice. Thank you, Ruth Ann, for listening to our Teacher."
John Hall, Pastor and church planter
"Though forgiveness is at the core of the gospel message, it’s so easy to downplay its centrality. In Moving On, Ruth Ann invites us into the heart of God whose grace is found in the most difficult of places. There we learn the extent to which we’re forgiven, see the myriad of ways we withhold forgiveness, and discover how we can live daily as those who are forgiven."
Pamela Brown-Peterside, Former Managing Director of Community Groups, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York
"Moving On is the ultimate healing roadmap for anyone who has ever been hurt or betrayed by someone. Batstone’s expert and gentle guidance leads the hurting through their healing journey. She explores crucial milestones such as Christ’s faithfulness, the power of the gospel, and understanding forgiveness so that her readers may reach their ultimate destination: moving on!"
Beth A. Fylstra, Not for Profit and Religious Organization Specialist, Every Little Detail, LLC