Thursday, 8 November 2012

Book Review - The Devil in Pew Number Seven

It was a bit of a coincidence (or maybe not) that I had this book on my “to read” list and happened to pick it up to read this week.  Our pastor spoke on forgiveness this Sunday at church and so our discussion in our small group was also about forgiveness.  I actually had no idea what this book was about but my mom read it this summer and told me it was good.  I had it done in no time because I couldn't put it down.  It is actually quite a disturbing story and I had to keep reminding myself that it is a true story because it just seems so unreal that someone could act with so much evil.   The author tells the story of growing up as the daughter of a preacher and their family was terribly persecuted by someone attempting to run them out of the church and the town.  If you've never heard the story, I don’t want to spoil it for you but I will say that there is a whole lot of loss and hurt that happens – things that are, humanly speaking, unforgivable.  After telling the story, the author (Rebecca Nichols Alonzo) talks about forgiveness and how her parents taught her and modelled forgiveness in a big way.  She says we need to practice speaking the language of forgiveness – just as we would learn any new language.  I thought this was powerful: 

“This side of heaven, it’s easy to be preoccupied with settling the score . . . of fighting back . . . of hurting those who have hurt us . . . or, at the very least, withholding forgiveness out of spitefulness to those who have wronged us.  I've never claimed to be an expert on the subject, but I do know this:  If I allow myself to go down the pathway of rage and retaliation, several things happen, and none of them are good.  Here are my top four:

My sins will not be forgiven by God if I refuse to forgive those who have sinned against me. 

I miss an opportunity to show God’s love to an unforgiving world. 

I'm the one who remains in jail when I withhold God’s grace by failing to forgive. 

If I have trouble forgiving, it might be because I'm actually angry at God, not at the person who wronged me.”

If you can get through the horrific events in the book, it’s worth the read just to see the outcome – an incredible act of forgiveness.  


Anonymous said...

Do u own it? Can I borrow it?

Anonymous said...

I asked first!!

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