Renee Fisher began journaling in 1997 as part of her healing process. Prayers and scriptures filled her journal; God answered in a big was and the writing never stopped. Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me: Finding Freedom in the Journey from Pain to Purpose is her third book.
The title and subject of the book is about forgiveness, but it is also the story of trusting a God who is able, of confessing sins we don’t want to let go of, and finding others – in this life and in the Bible – who remind us we are never going through anything alone. It is about a God that is near, a God that provides, and a God that blesses us and gets the glory because he deserves it. It’s about letting go of the past and embracing the future, rather than letting our past beat us to death.
This book deals with more than forgiving others so we can be forgiven; it’s about putting on spiritual armor so we can go into spiritual battle, and being devoted to prayer and deeply rooted in the Word. The author is young in years (she talks about the challenges facing Millennials and references growing up watching Animaniacs) but has the sage wisdom that come from experience. Her physical pain and emotional suffering have forged her into the person qualified to share this story, and she plenty of scripture to stand on while making her claims.
The book begins by addressing fear and how Satan, the father of lies, uses fear and lies to keep us crippled with sin. Fisher advises the reader that through prayer and scripture we can change the way we think and discipline our minds. We must put on the spiritual armor described in Ephesians 6 because the weapons formed by human hands are ineffective. She reminds us to put first things first (namely God’s Kingdom) and that there is power in the name of Jesus Christ.
Her favorite Bible verse is Hosea 6:1 (NLT) “Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; how he will bandage our wounds.” God sometimes allows things that are hurtful to shape our character. There are times we experience pain because of things we did, but there are also times our faith is tried by God in order to build character and increase our faith. Consider Job, who was “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” Nothing that happened to him was his fault, but allowed by God and used by God. Much attention is given to the story of Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers and later imprisoned by Potifer in Egypt. What they did and meant for evil God used for good and saved many lives. Our suffering often has a purpose that we may not understand until later – if we understand at all. We must trust that God is able and that he works things together for good. Fisher also talks about the process of pruning things from our lives. She references Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman (which I have not read) and Secrets of the Vine by Bruce Wilkinson (which I have read more than once). Pruning may be painful at the time but ultimately allows us to bear more fruit.
It may seem to us that we suffer without reason, as Fisher did for a period of ten years. Consider the blind man healed by Jesus in John 9. His followers asked “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or parents that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in his life.” Fisher encourages us to not look at the number of days, months or years it takes for God to answer. He is always up to something!
Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me is published by Harvest House Publishers and retails for $12.99. The image at the top of this post links to it’s listing at Amazon.com. Renee Fisher recently handed off the blog Devotional Diva (read about it here) and is in the process of going independent as a self-published author. Devotional Diva is a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid and this review has been provided in exchange for a promotional copy.