Monday, June 18, 2012

Forgiving As He Forgave Us

Thank you for stopping by and helping me celebrate my birthday on June 22.

Spring Hope is the story of my journey to forgiveness with my brother. Forgiving seems to be one of the most difficult things for Christians to do. Jesus told us it is something we must do as we are forgiven by Him. I’ve read so many books lately with forgiving as one of the main threads of the plot. The threads range from forgiving someone who has hurt the character in the past to forgiving someone of going against everything a Christian holds dear.

Jesus doesn’t care how small or how great our sin is. A white lie or fib is as big a sin as murder because there are no degrees of sin. We are all guilty, and Jesus forgave us with His life, so how much more should we be able to sacrifice our feelings and forgive another person.

My hero followed the same path of forgiveness that I took with my brother nearly thirty years ago. I was in my forties and for years had denied I even had brother because of his lifestyle and numerous imprisonments from Texas to Kansas to Georgia. My fear lay in the fact that I didn’t want my Christian friends to know about him because they might think less of me.

Coming face to face with my own sin of being unforgiving opened my eyes to truths I had denied for many years. Once my eyes were opened, peace came and the love I had for my brother as a child returned. God forgave my brother who became a Christian in prison, and I had to forgive him, too, or make a mockery of my own Christianity.

Yes, hurts do run deep, and forgiving takes much more than many of us want to give. We have no choice because Jesus gave us a commandment that we must follow or be disobedient. Let us open our hearts and let His love flow through us as we forgive others who have sinned against us.

My brother is still in prison, but he is a redeemed child of God, and I love him.

My prayer is that as you read Spring Hope, you will draw closer to the Lord as you think of people in your own life who may need your forgiving heart.

Spring Hope

Libby Cantrell’s life has gone from bad to worse since her mother’s death. With an abusive father, and life in a brothel, she sees no hope for her future until she gains the courage to make her escape one cold winter night.  

When she arrives exhausted, hungry, and ill in Portersfield, Texas, Sheriff Cory Muldoon finds her in an alley and takes her to a doctor. Against Cory’s better judgment, Seth and Erin Winston take her in and offer her a job as a nanny for their young son. As a minister, Seth sees it as his duty to take care of the young woman. As a deputy, Cory sees it as his duty to find out the truth about her even as he is attracted to the waif of a young woman. An unexpected late winter storm and an accident at the river brings the two of them even closer.    

As his love for her grows and winter becomes spring, will he be able to accept her as she is now and truly forget and forgive her sordid past?  

Set in the late 1800s, Seasons of the Heart weaves together the stories of four women whose great faith make a difference in the lives of the men they love. The series moves from Connecticut to Texas as it follows the lives of these women and their families as they find true love and bond in friendship only God could orchestrate.  

Answer the following question for an opportunity to win a birthday gift from me including a copy of the book and a Starbucks Gift Card.
Why is forgiving others so difficult thing for Christians?
Please: US and Canada only. Leave your email address so you will be notified about winning. The drawing will be after midnight on Friday, June 22.


Tina Pinson said...

What a beautiful reason for a story, because of what God brought you through you were able to share.

I understand completely the awesomeness behind that.

Blessings on your story and reaching lives for Christ and to help heal broken relationships.

Tina Pinson

misskallie2000 said...

When someone has said or done something to you it is hard to forget that hurt which in turn makes it very hard to forgive. We have to forgive to bring peace into our hearts or we will slowly lose a part of our heart and never be truly happy. Forgiveness is wonderful for the person that forgives because it releases their heart to love more deeply and and to be happy again.
Happy Birthday Martha. Looking forward to reading Spring Hope which is still on my wish list.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Julia M. Reffner said...

Oh boy, what a great question. I think it is so difficult because we don't truly understand just how much Jesus forgave us. I think processing that in our hearts is life-changing.


Mocha with Linda said...

Wow. Love this story and how it impacted the book.

As for the question, I think it is because it makes us face truths about ourselves that we would rather not face. And because we find pleasure in remembering the pain the person caused. We want mercy for ourselves and justice for everyone else!

Happy Birthday!

Jackie Layton said...

Happy birthday!

It is hard to forgive. Over the years I've found it easier to forgive someone who hurt me than it is to forgive someone who has hurt my husband or children.

You said forgiveness takes more than many of us want to give because the hurts run deep. I'm always amazed to see someone who forgives the person who murdered their child whether by driving drunk or on purpose.

It seems to me as if God must work in those situations.

I have to rely on God to help me forgive some offenses. Sometimes I repeatedly go to him to finally and thoroughly forgive the other person.

You've given us a lot to think about. I can see your book being used in all kinds of individual and group situations.

Congrats on tackling such a tough topic.



Lynne said...

I think we as Christians have such a hard time forgiving those who have hurt us because we just can't wrap our minds around the sacrifice Jesus made to forgive us. We seem to internalize it and let it fester. If only we could be more like Jesus and give it to God we would learn to forgive more easily. But doing that means giving up control, and for many of us that is something we don't want to do.

Lynne Young

Judy said...

Happy Birthday! I hope you have a fantastic one on Friday!

Our Pastor spoke on forgiveness Sunday and now after reading your post I feel God is nudging me in that direction. I have a hard time as a Christian forgiving a certain person in my life. The hurts run deep. Actually, I feel I have forgiven her but I still harbor some bitterness toward her that I don't want to have. I did speak to her on the phone just last night but I felt it was very fake on her end. I really do want to have the peace instead of bitterness. Please pray for me if God so leads you. Thanks and have a wonderful birthday!


Martha W. Rogers said...

Judy, I've been in your shoes. I forgave several people for something that happened to me in 1991. At the time I was devastated by what happened, but I believed it be God's will for my life to take another direction. All but one of the people involved responded to my letter saying I forgave them for what had happened. This one person never responded to me, never spoke to me even though we belong to the same church. I still harbored some bitterness toward that person because of the way she completely ignored me. Then last summer I had to make a decision to either let the bitterness go or drop out of something I loved to do because she was to be the new leader. So, I reached out to her after 10 years and at first it seemed as though she was putting on a front because I approached her, but I didn't let that stop me. Although we're not best of friends, we work together and are healing rift. It's hard, but the Holy Spirit guides and makes it work. I pray you will have the same results.

Judy said...

Thank you Martha for your words of encouragement. I know I have to do the right thing and I don't want bitterness to take over my life! I don't want anything to hinder my walk with God!

Jo said...

Happy Birthday, Martha! Hope it is a very special day for you.

I am a very forgiving person but I do have one person in my life right now who I am really struggling with. He has made many mistakes in his life that we have forgiving him for and this last time I really thought that he had his life back on track. I think the reason we struggle to forgive is that we are human and don't want to keep getting hurt. We are protecting ourselves!


Martha W. Rogers said...

Thanks for dropping by. I think you all have hit on our reasons for not being able to forgive. The fear of being hurt again is so very real as well as well as forgiving someone for hurting someone you love very much. Forgiving is a trait of God that we all need to develop in our own lives.

Lourdes said...

I have to say because it is required of me to forgive. Often times I find that although I really really don't want to I realize as I mature more in Christ that it is healing. Unforgiveness is so debilitating to the heart, the body, the mind.


Martha W. Rogers said...

Congratulations to Judy,the winner of my birthday gift box. You'll be getting an email from me shortly.

Judy said...

Martha, I am thrilled to have won your birthday gift box!

Thank you so very much!

I am looking forward to reading "Spring Hope." I think I will need to have some tissues handy!