Jesus tells us in the New Testament that we’re to forgive (Matthew 18:21-22). It can be a hard mission to accomplish, however. Read on to see how forgiveness played a role in Sherri’s story.
A Real Life Story…All Pumped Up
by Sherri Stone
I get story ideas from all over the place: people-watching everywhere, listening in on conversations, a random spark in my brain. Sometimes I get the basic story idea from real life. In the case of my first novel, Sacred Ashes, the story idea started with some real life stuff, but thank goodness the real stuff wasn’t nearly as wild as the story!
I’m a preacher’s kid, and like many preacher’s families, we had some rough times at the hands of church people. Not all the time, but when it happened it was hard and I’m sure left scars. Throughout Dani’s story, she must face a tragedy that never should have happened, and in the process, learn to forgive a huge wrong. She struggles with it, as I did. Some of her thoughts are similar to some that I had while God was working on me.
Forgiveness is such an important issue and one of the hardest things we do as Christians. It’s especially hard when forgiving someone won’t fix what happened. When it can never be made right. Our human nature rises up and actively resists letting someone off the hook when they’ve hurt us, or worse, when they’ve hurt someone we love.
Whether it’s a situation like the story in the book, or another thing altogether, each of us, if we live long enough, will have to make the choice to obey God and forgive someone, even if they never apologize or admit that they’ve hurt us. It’s a process and not something we can ever do in our own strength.
Dani is blessed with friends – and one handsome new friend – who encourage, and even gently challenge and push her to reconsider her attitude toward God and Christians. Unforgiveness is a terrible burden for the one who carries it. Sometimes we don’t let go until we are so tired we can’t carry it one more day. We can be stubborn – yes, I can!
I hope this story touches readers who may be struggling with unforgiveness. I think story ideas based on real life (with the names changed, of course) can be the most powerful,
because so many people can relate. It also can be a non-threatening way to approach what is often a painful issue.
If you have worked through your own issues, they may be just the story someone needs to hear. It lets them know they are not alone. It reminds them that God cares. It gives them hope for restoration and redemption. And that is why we write.
The man who killed Dani LaClere’s entire family has died in prison after ten years. She expects closure, but her grief is alive and well, and so is her anger at God – and Christians. She plans to deal with it like she always has, by not thinking about it. Easier said than done when she witnesses a murder and becomes the target of a stalker. Her fear escalates as evidence begins to suggest a tie to her family’s murder. When a handsome prison chaplain confirms her suspicions Dani is forced to deal with the pain of her past and a killer she will not see coming.
Sherri is a social worker by day and a writer by night. Her debut fiction novel, Sacred Ashes was released last year and is available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. More fiction and some non-fiction inspirational books are in the works and she is looking forward to finding God’s purpose for her next fifty years.
Let’s talk about this: Forgiveness can be a hard thing to give, but it can be harder on us–and our relationship with God–to withhold it. Have you had to forgive someone who didn’t ask to be forgiven? How did it improve your outlook? Did you have any Scripture verses that helped you to forgive? Share your thoughts in the comments below.