There isn't a tidy way to write about forgiveness. It's the whole gospel, for sure. But you've got to deal with the sin that preceded it and the damage that won't go away no matter how much reconciliation follows it. You've got to deal with the stop-start nature of relationships, the silence and paralysis of pain and shame, and the fact that we fail at least as much as we succeed. And then you've got to face the reality that much of the church, let alone the wider culture, isn't particularly taken with the whole notion of restoring sinners and offenders—it is more given to shunning or obliterating them.