Thursday, September 27, 2018

Finding Healing Through Forgiveness

In celebration of the paperback release of Justice this month, I invited some of those who read Justice to share their thoughts here. Rather than book reports, these posts take some of the themes of Justice and explore them as they apply to life outside the book. I hope you'll find these posts encouraging, whether you've read Justice or not.


by Kelsey D. M. Anderson

One thing I love about reading fiction is relating to the characters, seeing their weaknesses and how they fight to overcome them. It helps me take a deeper look into my own life, looking back on what I’ve overcome and things I still need to improve on. In Emily Conrad’s book Justice, we see Jake struggling to forgive and letting God take over. That is something I know all too well.



Several years ago, I withheld forgiveness from someone. I will not go into details of what exactly happened, only that the emotional wounds were deep enough that I felt I couldn’t forgive them until they issued a genuine apology. But the days turned into weeks, which turned into months with no apology given. And with that, no forgiveness was given either.

In my waiting, I became bitter and angry. I don’t remember how many months it lasted, but it got to the point where I didn’t even like who I was becoming and couldn’t recognize myself anymore. When I knew that the apology I so desperately wanted was never going to come, I started to let go.

God started snipping away at all the tension and bitterness I held tightly. It wasn’t just a spiritual and emotional healing that took place, but also a physical healing. I remember breathing easier and was able to relax for the first time in a long while. When people would ask me how I was doing, I would say, “I’m better.”

If you’ve attended church at any length of time, the word forgiveness can sometimes fade into the background. We hear all the time about the amazing joy of having forgiveness of our sins only given to us by Jesus shedding his blood for us on the cross.

But we don’t always hear about forgiving others. If you read in the book of Matthew, Jesus spoke about it clearly. “For if you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15 NET) And a several chapters later, when Peter asks how often we should forgive someone, Jesus says “Not seven times, I tell you, but seventy-seven times!” (Matthew 18:22 NET)

Even as I write this post, dusting off memories that were almost forgotten, old feelings and faded emotional scars want to come back to haunt me. But I soon remember how far God has brought me from all that. God was pruning away things in my life He knew I didn’t need, even though it was painful at the time. Without all that, I wouldn’t be who I am and where I am today.

If you’re hurting, I know that the mention of the word forgiveness can make you want to gnash your teeth. But if you know the freedom of having your sins forgiven by Jesus, then you have an idea of the freedom and the healing you’d get from offering forgiveness to someone else. If you just hand over that bitterness and anger to God, you’ll be amazed at what He’ll do.



Kelsey D.M. Anderson is a wife, mommy and writer all in one. Originally a South Dakota girl, Kelsey maker her home in Northeast Wisconsin. Besides writing, she loves reading, crafts, and cheering for the Green Bay Packers.

Connect with her online:
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"God was pruning away things in my life He knew I didn’t need, even though it was painful at the time." via @KDmae #forgiveness #mercy #healing @emilyrconrad

Photo credits:
Candle photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash
Title image hands with flower photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash, designed on Canva.com
Justice meme photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash, designed on Canva.com

Justice is available in e-book or paperback from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Christianbook.com.

7 comments:

Jerusha Agen said...

Love this. In a sort of gnashing my teeth way. :) This post really spoke to me, as I struggle in the area of forgiveness--especially for those who never acknowledge or apologize for the wrong. Thanks for sharing your personal story of the relief that comes with following God's example (and command) of forgiveness!

Emily Conrad said...

Kelsey wrote a good and convicting post, didn't she? Forgiveness, especially when it's not sought, can be a challenge. Thankfully, we don't have to do it in our own power. Christ's work in our hearts changes everything. With Him, all things are possible!

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

What a BEAUTIFUL testimony!
Good luck and God's blessings
PamT

Mary A Felkins said...

Great word on the power and necessity of forgiveness. Makes me sad for you to think of how painful you were wounded by another. I've had to heal from hurtful relationships, too. I was encouraged to read in a book about establishing boundaries with others that while I must grant forgiveness (the cross compels me to) even if it doesn't result in reconciliation. Forgiveness pleases God and heals my heart and doesn't require I meet with said offender for coffee each week. Thanks for sharing this message!

Barbara M. Britton said...

Hi Kelsey,
Thanks for reminding us how important forgiveness is in our Christian lives. Bitterness does more to hurt our own minds and bodies than just letting go and letting God deal with justice (Hey, isn't there a book by that name?) Thanks for your support.

Emily Conrad said...

Thank you for stopping by, Pam!

Hi Mary, That sounds like a good book. Forgiveness is a command, but there's still an important place for boundaries. Thanks for joining the conversation!

Hey, Barb, now that you mention it, I think I've heard of that book, too! ;) Thanks for reading!

Unknown said...

Thank you all who've read and commented! It means so much! I'll admit that it took me a while to write this post because I struggled with how much detail to put it, and plus I don't like bringing up old memories. I sometimes still struggle with forgiving others. But Jesus is always a constant reminder that He forgave me so I should forgive others. Hope you all have a blessed week!