i’m going to do an unusual thing today… i’m going to recommend a book which i have not yet read. You must be wondering how can i recommend a book which i have not even broken its spine to read.
Well, it is because i have heard the author of the book speak, twice. i spent last Saturday morning and this morning at Day Away Association for Women events, listening to this amazing lady speak of forgiveness and her story is all at once heart-piercing and uplifting.
She speaks of how God led her on a journey to forgive the murderer of her son. It is one of the most amazing stories i have heard and it leaves me no doubt that our God is living; alive and truly working in this world today. Her name is Dianne B. Collard and her book is called “I Choose to Forgive”.
My take-away from her talk is this:
There are many layers to forgiveness. What does this mean?
Remember the story of Peter coming to Jesus and asking, “Lord, how many times should i forgive the man who wronged me? Seven times?” And Jesus answered, “Seventy times seven”?
Did Jesus mean that we count the number of times we forgive someone and then take revenge once the 490th “crime” has been committed? No. i have learnt that when Jesus said 70×7, He means 70 to the power of 7, which means you take 70 and multiple by 70 and do that for 7 times. Does it make sense? If you are like me and have no head for numbers, then simply take my word for it that it is a number greater than you can count. And what that really means is every time, all of the time we need to forgive, which should be a normal way to respond for someone who has experienced God’s marvelous forgiveness.
Then she brought it to another level. We can forgive the person who wronged us (but that doesn’t mean the other person is right or that the person is getting away with the “crime”). But if some time down the road, we start to feel the emotions of this “crime” again and start to resent/hate this person or the consequences of his/her action, we need to forgive again. It doesn’t mean that we didn’t forgive that first time around. It simply means that there is another layer of forgiveness we need to take it to, a deeper level. A friend reminded me: it is just like peeling an onion, every layer we peel back makes us cry but brings us closer to the core.
My eyes have been opened and there are issues i have to deal with. But it has also explained to me why i sometimes feel the way i do in certain situations. i have to take it another step further. It’s going to be hard but another important point she made was – the choice to forgive lies with ourselves, but the power to obey (follow God’s commandments to forgive) is in God.
If we are obedient to forgive, just as God commanded, then powerful blessings can flow from the throne of God into our lives and into the lives of others around us. Read to the book to find out more about these fantastic blessings which Dianne experience in her journey of forgiveness.
If you have the desire to hear the talk i heard, then leave a comment with your email and i will try to see if i can get you a copy of her talk on CD. Or visit her blog or her ministry website to find out if she is going to be speaking somewhere near you.
NOTE: All profits from the sale of her book goes to getting translations and getting the book published in countries which cannot afford to publish it. And the profits for those sales (if there are any) are given to a ministry in that country which helps people in great need. It’s a gift which keeps giving. Her statement is that she could never make money from the death of her son.