We each have a life story, penned without ink, read by the people around us. Who's writing your story?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Book Review: Help for the Hurting Heart

Fall is my favorite time of year. I began last September with hopes for a productive "school year" on many levels. I jotted down a few family initiatives, writing goals, personal objectives, and some disciplines I hoped would lead to growth and a deeper trust in God. Even as I looked to the future, God seemed to take me back to the past, back to an issue of forgiveness.

Have you ever found yourself stewing over how someone has wronged you or a loved one? Resentment begins to mount, and pretty soon you find yourself rehearsing your side of the story. This person owed you better, after all.

When someone creeps into the present wearing the dark offenses of the past, bitterness and unforgiveness often follow They worm their way into our minds until we drag the shackles of resentment around, shackles that chain us to the very offenses we want to forget.

I didn't want this to happen to me but I admit, I struggled to get on top of this one. I journaled. I prayed. I read Scripture. More than once tears slipped down my cheeks. Bit by bit, God helped me work it through.

Some of the principles that helped me the most came from Dr. Steven R. Silverstein's book, Help for the Hurting Heart: A Christian Perspective for Those who Have Learned that Forgiving and Forgetting Doesn't Work. From the back cover:
 "Help for the Hurting Heart" will take you to the place of learning to recognize, repair, and rebuild personal relationships that have been damaged throughout your lifetime. Join Dr. Steven Silverstein as he teaches you the essential tool of forgiveness and shares what he's learned about expressing forgiveness to others for the sake of your relationship with Jesus Christ, for your spiritual and emotional well-being, and for the enjoyment of your relationships with other people."
I keep those September journal pages marked and read them over once in a while. They help me remember the grace granted to me when Christ forgave me and, in turn, the grace I intentionally granted in the form of forgiveness. They also remind me to pursue the golden rule in the dailyness of life. I want to forgive as I need to be forgiven.

I'm glad God nudged my story backwards last fall. I hope the process helps brighten my forward steps with more freedom and grace.