When I attended She Speaks last year, I met a kindred spirit who I knew would be a friend I would “do life” with if we lived in the same state.
I love her heart. I love her writing. I love her willingness to be vulnerable and real and funny and humble and all those other things that let me know I’ve met someone who’s authentic and not scared to share the brokenness we all possess.
In other words, she rocks. And she’s not afraid to let Jesus shine through the cracks in her own clay pot.
Maybe that’s why I love her so—I’ve got a slew of cracks in my own pot and most days, I’m not too shy about revealing them to the masses. I say “Let your freak flags fly,” sisters.
In full disclosure, I must tell you that I struggle with the whole forgiveness thing a bit. I’m OK with forgiving small offenses because we’re human, right? I let people down all the time. We’re all disabled by the flesh.
But it’s those big trespasses that really get me. The ones that alter the course of your life for a while. The ones that leave you breathless for words that are appropriate, that leave you seething at the injustice of it all, that make you just want to take someone by the shoulders and shake ’em while silencing the inner voice you hear reminding you that you’ve been in their shoes, too.
And yet. Even then.
We’re called to forgive.
Even if the offender never offers an apology. Even if you didn’t do a single thing. Even if you think justice wasn’t served.
But while forgiveness is often incredibly difficult to dole-out, it’s not really for the person to whom you’re extending the olive branch now, is it?
Refusing to forgive is the quickest way to give bitterness, anger, resentment, and a slew of other negative emotions that eat the soul the fuel it all so desperately needs.
Using a conversational style that makes the reader feel like you’re talking about this over coffee at her kitchen table, Tracie reiterates that forgiveness is for US. Not them.
Not to mention that when we refuse to forgive, God won’t forgive US. Yikes.
If you forgive those who sin against you, your Heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. – Matthew 6:14-15 (NLT)
And that’s just what’s left in our heart when we don’t forgive, too: crud.
I personally believe Tracie’s book should be required reading for EVERYONE. Even if you think “I don’t really struggle with this issue,” let me assure you, you will encounter the need to forgive at some point in your life. And you might need a little help.
Tracie’s your girl.
Here’s the overview of chapters:
A Prayer for Forgiveness :: day one
What Is Forgiveness? :: day two
What Forgiveness Is Not :: day three
Why Do We Need to Forgive? :: day four
How Do We Forgive? :: day five
Be Quick to Forgive :: day six
Forgiveness Comes From Love :: day seven
Love Comes from God :: day eight
Radical Love, Radical Forgiveness, and Judgment – Part 1 :: day nine
Radical Love, Radical Forgiveness, and Judgment – Part 2 :: day ten
Radical Love, Radical Forgiveness, and Judgment – Part 3 :: day eleven
Forgiving the Unforgivable :: day twelve
What If I Don’t Forgive? :: day thirteen
Is Forgiving Condoning or Enabling :: day fourteen
If I Forgive, Am I A Doormat? :: day fifteen
Jesus, Friend of Sinners :: day sixteen
Forgive and Forget? :: day seventeen
Is Forgiveness an Option? :: day eighteen
Forgiveness Is An Act of the Will :: day nineteen
Three Strikes, You’re Out? :: day twenty
Give unto Others :: day twenty-one
Forgiving Oneself :: day twenty-two
Does God Really Forgive? :: day twenty-three
The Veil Was Torn :: day twenty-four
Doers of the Word :: day twenty-five
Bless Those Who Curse You :: day twenty-six
The Prodigal Son – Part 1 :: day twenty-seven
The Prodigal Son – Part 2 :: day twenty-eight
The Prodigal Son – Part 3 :: day twenty-nine
Forgiveness Is an Act of Faith :: day thirty
How Do We Know We’ve Forgiven? :: day thirty-one
He Deserves What’s Coming to Him :: one
Redemption :: two
Generational Curses or Sin? :: three
Message of the Cross :: four
Repentance :: five
Tracie also includes a study guide as well as encouraging scriptures and resources to help you along in your forgiveness journey.
And because I believe so much in this whole power of forgiveness thing, I’m giving away five copies.
Leave me a comment below and let me know 1) if you’ve been set free by forgiveness in the past and/or 2) what’s your biggest challenge with forgiveness? The Random Generator will post the winners on Monday so be sure to check back (or subscribe so you won’t have to remember!) to see if you’ve won!
And if you’re just visiting today for the giveaway and you like it around these parts, can I humbly ask you to consider subscribing via RSS feed or email (top right sidebar) and/or “liking” Mommy on Fire on Facebook? Thank you, oh so much for that consideration.
To order a copy of 31 Days of Forgiveness from Amazon (priced at $5.10),click here.
It will be the best five bucks you’ve ever spent.
A small price for freedom.