"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Friday, July 23, 2010

I wrote quite awhile ago about THE NOTICER, also by Andy Andrews. I was contacted by the company, thanked for the review, and then asked if I wanted his new book to review. I said sure! I am always up for a good (free) book.

I received The Heart Mender shortly thereafter. Loved, loved, loved it! Second chances-forgiveness…again God’s timing is amazing!
I didn’t want to put it down-this guy is a great story teller! The jest of it is that Andy Andrews found some war relics under a tree at his beach house. He is compelled to go on this quest to figure out where they came from. Eventually he finds the people who planted them and this is their (pretty much true) story. (Names are changed and all that to protect identities).

Fascinating thing to me: I don’t remember ever hearing or studying about the German subs in the Gulf of Mexico during World War II. Really, this was going on?

There is also an interesting line of thought on pages 141-142 about history telling us that a democracy is always temporary in nature. (You’ll have to get the book-too much for me to put in.)

The forgiveness, the second chance that Helen is confronted with. The bitterness and hate that she is filled with, the hurting within. And God plops someone into her life that directly confronts that anger and hate. Her husband was killed by Germans in the war; turns out the German’s wife and child whom she found on the beach were killed by the pilots that her husband had been training. Ironic? Coincidence? God’s sovereign grace that confronts us with our own hurts?
I really don’t know what much else to say…I LOVED the story; I could hardly put it down. And it confronted me in my own resentment, anger and bitterness towards some things. This story is about forgiveness. Here are some passages from the books I just want to have us think about.

These are from the café owners where Helen work-talking to each other, to Helen and to their own son about forgiveness:

“…forgiveness can occur only because we have been given the ability to make choices. We have the choice to forgive or not to forgive…and nobody came make us do either one. You understand?”
Danny nodded.
“We begin to forgive by choosing to forgive…by deciding, not by feeling. Our feelings don’t lead us to forgive. Most times, our feelings lead us the other way. That’s why a person has to decide to forgive first. Our feelings always follow along behind our decisions.” –p.119

“Forgive and forget is not reality. It’s not really possible anyway, which is a good thing, because it is not necessary. Forgiveness does not erase history or excuse what happened. What has happened…has happened, and nothing can erase the memory of it or its consequences.
“Forgiveness means relinquishment. It is that simple. Danny, do you what relinquishment means?”
“No, sir.”
“It means giving something up. To relinquish something means to give up whatever power it holds over us. If you forgive somebody for something he did to you, that means you choose to never again allow that event to determine how you feel or how you act of even how you treat that person. You may remember the wrong, but by choosing to forgive, you have disarmed it. Then it can no longer determine what you think, what you say, or what you do.” P.120

“I think you have to forgive him for you.”
“Why’s that?”
“Because whenever you get hurt by somebody, you can either think about’em all day long and let’em, keep hurting you inside…or give them to God.”
Helen furrowed her brow. “Give them to God?”
“Unh-huh. If you forgive them, it doesn’t mean they get away with what they did…it just means that you don’t have to think about it all the time. You can’t do anything anyway, except be mad. See? You just give’em to God. Then you can be happy.”
So what does God do with them when He gets them? And she laughed at the ridiculous answer that popped into her head: What do I care? They don’t belong to me anymore. pp.129-130

“I know I must forgive. I can only hope that it gets easier than it is at present to do so.”
Helen frowned. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, we are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”
Helen shook her head impatiently. “No. I meant, what do you mean when you say, ‘I know I must forgive’?”
“Just that I must practice forgiveness. It is less an act than a determined way of living. I think that is why we are supposed to forgive ‘seventy times seven’. True forgiveness comes only at the conclusion of an inner struggle.” P.149

“ 'the truth shall set you free.’ And it will. But sometimes…first, it can make you miserable. That’s where she’s at. Give her time.” P.152

One last one, I should put it all up, but I won’t, read it yourself!

“For instance, whatever Helen’s going through…Granted, this is nothing anyone ever seems to consider, but isn’t Helen an island, so to speak, if she chooses to forgive?”
Billy pondered the question, then said deliberately, “If you mean that we are an ‘island’ when we choose to forgive because it is not necessary anyone else be involved in the process…then, yes, I think you are right.”
Warming to the thought, Margaret asked, “Billy, where is it written that for one person to forgive another, the offender must ask for forgiveness? Where is it written—not in the Bible, for sure—that for one person to forgive another, the offender must deserve it?”
“How about this…where is it written that for one person to forgive another, the offender has to approve it, accept it, or even know about it?p.157
(she goes on to develop this thought even more-such good stuff! Get the book!)

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