Lights of Grace



Changing Hearts is God’s Work

Proverbs 22:3 says, “The prudent foresees evil and hides”.

How does a person forgive something that — to them — is unforgivable?

Jesus, while in agony on the cross said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34).

Often in our humanness we wonder, “But what if they do know? What if their actions are calculated and self-serving?”  Distrust replaces love and forgiveness and when this happens, it’s time to be honest with God.  The best way to do this is by going to His word for direction.

Proverbs 22:3 says, “The prudent foresees evil and hides himself”.  But sometimes forgiveness requires caution because it is different from trust, necessitating the dynamics of a relationship to change.    Until an offender has a true change of heart, and because we can’t see that person’s heart, wisdom says to limit our trust in that person.

Trust is a like a four-way intersection where adherence to the wishes, viewpoints, or beliefs of others must intersect with humility and acceptance, even though they may not be the same as yours.  Pretense of respect and honor, shrouded in hollow words are as transparent as a full moon on a cloudless night.   For honor to shine true, the respect must be real.  How do we know if it’s real? We must proceed with caution given to us by the words of Jesus in Matthew 10:16, “be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves”. 

Forgiveness doesn’t mean acceptance, or even forgetting of transgressions. It requires truth which means letting go of that which has caused hurt, whether forgiveness was requested or not.  This becomes a decision of the will – a conscious choice made in the name of Christ – to forget as much as possible and to move on with your life. It doesn’t mean we’re not to forgive.  Forgiveness may influence our world, but we must be humble and grateful for God’s love and forgiveness of us as we forgive others while maintaining the recognition that we are not God.

Changing hearts is God’s work.


A Book Review: Finding Mercy, by Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley

Finding Mercy Cover

You close your eyes and fall promptly to sleep, confident in whom you are, what your beliefs are, and what your future holds. You awake some eight hours later, your mind totally blank, with strangers taking care of you, in a land you know nothing about. You have lost all that you knew and all that you had hoped to be. You have amnesia.

Would you be able, without the filters of childhood and lessons taught; without the heartache of transgressions committed against and by you, without the confidence that comprised the sum total of you, be you?

Out of instinct, would you follow the same path of your birth? Or, would you begin anew, finally allowed to let the true you become your way of being? It’s the age old question of does DNA or environments determine who we are. Which would determine what you could be without knowledge of either of these?

Such is the story of Finding Mercy, written by Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley. It is the story of a young woman, born and reared in the south by a beloved father who is a plantation owner and master of slaves. He serves proudly in the confederate army, as does his daughter.

They both fight to defend their rights to maintain a life style that is the only one they know and understand. Yet, when this understanding is erased, Mercy becomes her own true self, following the end of the turbulent civil war and the subsequent reconstruction of the United States.

Mercy finds herself in a “no man’s land”. She believes she is loyal to the North’s cause, only to discover that she had actually fought and even killed to preserve the South’s side. Her life in danger, she flees hoping to find her true place and who she is. In the doing, she discovers many things about herself that she regrets, which ultimately provides her the choice to bridge the pain of her mistakes by helping those she has hurt. Forgiveness is really what Finding Mercy is about.

Finding Mercy is a thought provoking story. It causes you to think about what you would do if you woke up and had the opportunity to become the person you would want to be if all filters were removed. Beautifully written, it takes you back to a turbulent time of hatred and mistrust as Mercy finds her true self.

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