In Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Anne Elliot chides Captain Benwick for allowing too much poetry in his reading and recommends to him “a larger allowance of prose.” I have often felt as if I leaned too heavily to fict
For that reason, it is no surprise than when Catherine Claire Larson’s As We Forgive made its way into my hands (via my husband, who got it from my critique partner!), I had to read it.
As We Forgive recounts some of the incredible stories of reconciliation that are happening today in Rwanda, in the aftermath of the horrible genocide of the 1990’s. I’ll admit, I didn’t know much about this. In the 90’s, my world revolved around diapers and bottles and potty training, my three babies coming in a span of three and a half years. As I read this book, however, my ignorance appalled me.
But education and information were not the reason I couldn’t put this book down—or the reason it has stayed with me since. Instead, the stories of reconciliation between perpetrators and victims captivated me, for such things can only happen by the grace and power of God.
When I finished this book, my thoughts centered on myself: how can I refuse to forgive petty, hurtful things when others have shown the power of God to forgive those who have willfully stolen the lives of their parents, spouses, children? It’s an important question for each of us, challenging us to question how much we really trust God to not only be our protector but to be the righteous judge of others.
After awhile, my thoughts shifted. I began to wonder: do I foster reconciliation and forgiveness in my world? You see, most of the time that I encounter a victim of injustice, whether it be someone stung by gossip or someone sexually violated against their will, I tend to commiserate with the victim about the perpetrator, not speak words that will point toward reconciliation. Maybe because I, like so many others, tend to believe God doesn’t really mean that. He didn’t really mean my actions had to confirm my words of forgiveness.
So I’ve pondered my role. Wondered what God would have me to do, besides seek reconciliation when possible in my own life. And the Lord answered with a conversation overheard.
A person I know detailed to another the devastating effects on their child by an authority figure, meting out an overly severe punishment. This parent admitted they still held bitterness toward that person.
“But,” the parent said, “I’ve been reading As We Forgive, the book D’Ann gave me.”
I didn’t hear the rest of the conversation. Instead, the corners of my mouth pulled into a smile. In a tiny way—by simply recommending a book—I became a small cog in God’s big wheel of forgiveness and reconciliation in someone else’s life. It’s a start. Because, after all, reconciliation is the work of the Lord. It’s what He did for us. It’s what He desires us to help do for others.
Question: Have you been an instrument of reconciliation in your world? How?
In keeping with my theme of reconciliation and forgiveness, if you’d like to be entered to win Mary DeMuth's hot-off-the-press novel, A Slow Burn, book 2 in the Defiance, Texas series, just leave a comment on this blog. Please leave an email address so we can contact you if you're the winner (include spaces or brackets around the "@" sign so Net spiders, etc, can't phish your address). We'll pick a winner at random on September 13. Remember, all comments left today will also be entered in our grand prize drawing on November 1st.