With every Miller’s Creek Novel I write, it never ceases to amaze me at how God uses the spiritual theme of the stories in my own life. I pre-plan all the stories, choosing the spiritual theme before anything else. Before I wrote even one word of A Bridge Unbroken, I knew the theme would be forgiveness.
The story is about a frightened runaway who wants her painful past to disappear. Her plan to start afresh is derailed when she co-inherits her late grandfather’s farm with the man responsible for the scars on her heart. He isn’t the only ghost from the past. Someone else is out to get her and will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
Because of past hurts between the two, the story question becomes: “Will Chance and Dakota lay aside their grudges to restore the old farmhouse and bridge, or will evil forces sabotage their attempt at forgiveness?”
In every relationship, even ones that have lasted for decades, things happen that require us to be gracious and forgiving. In fact, I think those things are often divinely inspired to test our commitment to the relationship and to living the kind of life our heavenly Father desires.
Before I wrote A Bridge Unbroken, and also during the writing of the story, I seemed to be constantly confronted with situations that required grace and forgiveness on my part. At times my life was so emotionally painful that I questioned God as to why He wanted me to write a story on forgiveness when I struggled to forgive others. As I studied the concept of forgiveness in the scriptures, I was reminded of these truths.
1. True forgiveness is an act of the will, not emotion. We forgive–not because we feel like it–but because God requires it. How can we expect Him to forgive us if we’re not willing to forgive others?
I love this C. S. Lewis quote: “Being a Christian means forgiving the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” What powerful words, and oh, so true!
2. True forgiveness is unconditional. When Jesus, from the painful and humiliating cross of His crucifixion said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34, KJV), He placed no conditions on forgiveness. And He, as the sinless Son of God, certainly had the right to do so! In that light, as children of our heavenly Father, our forgiveness toward others can’t be based on the offender’s remorse, apology, or anything else. (If that were true, there are some whom we’d never forgive!) Instead, we forgive like Jesus–unconditionally and with no strings attached.
3. True forgiveness is motivated by the highest and purest love. When I stop to consider what Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection have bought for me, I’m astounded. I’m forgiven! Jesus’ work was motivated by God’s great love, in spite of who we are and the horrible ways we sometimes behave. Thank You, Jesus, for Your matchless love and grace! Thank you for forgiving an old sinner like me.
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