In celebration of the paperback release of Justice this month, I invited some of those who read Justice to share their thoughts here. Rather than book reports, these posts take some of the themes of Justice and explore them as they apply to life outside the book. I hope you’ll find these posts encouraging, whether you’ve read Justice or not.
by Kelsey D. M. Anderson
One thing I love about reading fiction is relating to the characters, seeing their weaknesses and how they fight to overcome them. It helps me take a deeper look into my own life, looking back on what I’ve overcome and things I still need to improve on. In Emily Conrad’s book Justice, we see Jake struggling to forgive and letting God take over. That is something I know all too well.
Several years ago, I withheld forgiveness from someone. I will not go into details of what exactly happened, only that the emotional wounds were deep enough that I felt I couldn’t forgive them until they issued a genuine apology. But the days turned into weeks, which turned into months with no apology given. And with that, no forgiveness was given either.
In my waiting, I became bitter and angry. I don’t remember how many months it lasted, but it got to the point where I didn’t even like who I was becoming and couldn’t recognize myself anymore. When I knew that the apology I so desperately wanted was never going to come, I started to let go.
God started snipping away at all the tension and bitterness I held tightly. It wasn’t just a spiritual and emotional healing that took place, but also a physical healing. I remember breathing easier and was able to relax for the first time in a long while. When people would ask me how I was doing, I would say, “I’m better.”
If you’ve attended church at any length of time, the word forgiveness can sometimes fade into the background. We hear all the time about the amazing joy of having forgiveness of our sins only given to us by Jesus shedding his blood for us on the cross.
But we don’t always hear about forgiving others. If you read in the book of Matthew, Jesus spoke about it clearly. “For if you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15 NET) And a several chapters later, when Peter asks how often we should forgive someone, Jesus says “Not seven times, I tell you, but seventy-seven times!” (Matthew 18:22 NET)
Even as I write this post, dusting off memories that were almost forgotten, old feelings and faded emotional scars want to come back to haunt me. But I soon remember how far God has brought me from all that. God was pruning away things in my life He knew I didn’t need, even though it was painful at the time. Without all that, I wouldn’t be who I am and where I am today.
If you’re hurting, I know that the mention of the word forgiveness can make you want to gnash your teeth. But if you know the freedom of having your sins forgiven by Jesus, then you have an idea of the freedom and the healing you’d get from offering forgiveness to someone else. If you just hand over that bitterness and anger to God, you’ll be amazed at what He’ll do.
Kelsey D.M. Anderson is a wife, mommy and writer all in one. Originally a South Dakota girl, Kelsey maker her home in Northeast Wisconsin. Besides writing, she loves reading, crafts, and cheering for the Green Bay Packers.
Candle photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash
Title image hands with flower photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash, designed on Canva.com
Justice meme photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash, designed on Canva.com