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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Struggling to Forgive? ~ Guest Post and Giveaway by Cathy Bryant!


Struggling to Forgive?

Is there any person on the planet that doesn't struggle from time to time with the issue of forgiveness? Our mandate to forgive others as God forgave us doesn't come naturally, especially when the offense is personal and deep and the offender expresses no remorse. Sometimes the offenses continue to happen, one after another, stacking on top of us until we're unsure whether or not we can dig out from beneath it all.

Fiction writers are taught to ask "What if?" when it comes to writing stories. Once I knew forgiveness would be the spiritual theme of my latest Miller's Creek novel, A BRIDGE UNBROKEN, I asked this question: What if a man and woman who once loved each other--but who both bear scars at the hand of the other--are thrown into a situation where they have to work closely together?

Imagine your worst enemy. Someone who hurt you so deeply that you've struggled to get past it and to move on with your life. Then just as you start to pick up the pieces and put your life back together, you're thrown into a work environment with this person you once cared deeply for. That is the scenario for a frightened runaway named Dakota Kelly and the man who left scars on her heart, Chance Johnson. Here's the book description:

Letting go to build a bridge…
Dakota Kelly wants her painful past to disappear. A plan to start afresh is derailed when she co-inherits her late grandfather’s farm with Chance Johnson, the man responsible for the scars on her heart. But Chance 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. Will Chance and Dakota lay aside their grudges to restore the old farmhouse and bridge, or will evil forces sabotage their attempt at forgiveness?

I love the metaphor of a bridge for the topic of forgiveness. It only seemed appropriate to have Chance and Dakota restore a broken down bridge in the story. And isn't that a perfect example of what Christ has done for each of us? Through laying down His life at the cross, He created a bridge of forgiveness that spans the gap between Holy God and sinful man.

Part of my research for the story involved studying the concept of forgiveness in the Bible. As I researched the topic, I realized how many of the world's definitions of forgiveness have crept into even Christian circles. Things like: "Forgiveness is something you do for yourself" and "Forgive if..." Actually, the Biblical definition is a letting go, releasing, cancelling a debt, and it never comes with conditions attached. We forgive because we're forgiven, regardless of our feelings or desire for retribution.

During the writing of the story, I'd often phrase a question about forgiveness to social media friends and readers. It was then I realized how many people struggle with forgiving others and the misconceptions that abound. That led me to create a Bible study booklet on my scripture research. The study helped me in my own quest to forgive, and I firmly believe it can help others. Here's the book description for THE FRAGRANCE OF CRUSHED VIOLETS: FORGIVING THE INEXCUSABLE:

What do we do when a loved one, boss, co-worker, friend, or enemy seem determined to bring us down through an attack? How do we handle it when their assault is personal, public, deep, unjust, unfair, and unfounded? Take it one step further. How do we deal with meaningless acts of destruction and death, say in something similar to the Twin Towers incident or a school shooting, especially when the offender shows no remorse? Do we file it in our brains and rack it up to “one more senseless act” and chance to think that God somehow messed up?
In short, how do we move past the hurt and anger to a place of forgiveness?
Join us as we examine relevant scriptures about forgiveness and come away with a scriptural understanding of:
  • what forgiveness is and what it isn’t
  • God’s role in the process of forgiveness
  • what Jesus did at the cross for each of us
  • our mandate to forgive as we’ve been forgiven
  • what gets in the way of forgiving others
  • how to truly forgive
Many people have asked me about the title of the Bible study. It actually comes from my two favorite quotes about forgiveness:

"Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it." ~Mark Twain

"Being a Christian means forgiving the inexcusable because God forgave the inexcusable in you." ~C.S. Lewis

In my own life, I've learned that it is possible to forgive even the inexcusable, even though it's against our nature and usually difficult. But we can't do it on our own. Thankfully, God is faithful to give us His power in letting go of those hurtful experiences, enabling us to live victorious lives.

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Cathy Bryant enjoys spinning tales about Miller's Creek, Texas, where folks are friendly, the iced tea is sweet, and Mama Beth's front porch beckons. Her heart's desire is to write books about God's life-changing grace. When she's not writing, you'll find her rummaging through thrift stores or up to her elbows in yet another home improvement project in the mountain cabin she shares with her minister husband of over thirty years. You can find out more about Cathy and her books at CatBryant.com and Facebook.com/Cathy.Bryant.Author.
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DOUBLE BOOK GIVEAWAY! Cathy is offering an eBook giveaway bundle of A BRIDGE UNBROKEN and THE FRAGRANCE OF CRUSHED VIOLETS for one lucky reader. The eBook giveaway is open internationally and ends Thursday, June 26. 

P.S. Cathy would love to hear your thoughts and testimonies about forgiveness in the comments below. :) If you'd like to join the Facebook Book Chat for THE FRAGRANCE OF CRUSHED VIOLETS, you can do so HERE. If you'd like to join the LifeSword Bible study on forgiveness (Facebook group), you can do so HERE.

How to enter: Sign into the Giveaway Tools form below (it might take a moment to load) and submit each entry you complete. Commenting alone will not get you entered – you must click enter on the form. Happy entering!

Open only to those who can legally enter. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Giveaway Tools and announced here as well as emailed and will have up to one week to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Giveaway Tools or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. I am not responsible for any packages lost or damaged in the mail. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



  1. I'd like to read this since I still have issues on my own about forgiveness and letting go. Thanks for the giveaway.

  2. many of us have been in this position and it's a real tough one to work through...there are still times when I wonder if I have really moved on from some of the issues trust abuse raises. An awesome prize!

  3. I know that forgiveness is hard. I remember one time growing up that I was part of ridiculing another little girl. Years later, I sent her a letter asking for her forgiveness. I felt so free after.

  4. Forgiveness is a constant in my life. I judge my health by how much I am able to forgive. Your book looks wodnerful.

  5. I would love to win your books. The power of forgiveness is very strong. It is something that people often do not fully understand. I found it was something I had to depend on the Lord's help. I hope you are having a great day!

  6. I still struggle with forgiving my ex-husband. It's been almost 5 years since he left and sometimes the pain is as fresh as if it happened yesterday.

  7. Melanie, thanks for giving me the opportunity to guest post for your awesome blog (and for the giveaway). I really appreciate it. I hope and pray the books' message of forgiveness will be helpful to others in their quest to forgive.

    Cathy :)

  8. Forgiveness is difficult even when covered in prayer. The enemy loves for us to take it back and hold grudges. I have struggled in that when I think I have completely forgiven someone, the old feelings of hurt wash over me and I realize I didn't turn it over completely to the Lord.

  9. Forgiveness ,like Cathy says, is not natural,it's supernatural.

  10. I love that you intentionally studied forgiveness in the Bible to be able to convey that message in your book A Bridge Unbroken. And you delved in so deep that a study came out of it. This makes me want to read your book. You are a new author to me and I am already a fan!
    Thanks for this giveaway opportunity!

  11. Hello Cathy. It is hard in the forgiving dept. when the other parties acted like they had no part in the problem. So, you have to forgive without them ever asking you to. That's tough. But, I still love these people and still love to spend time with them when I get a chance. Thanks for a chance to win your book. Wanting to read it. Maxie Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

  12. I am a huge believer that forgiveness is a healthy part of any relationship and it is necessary to forgive because life is to short to dwell on past mistakes people have made in the past, god teaches us that is the right way of living

  13. thank you for the giveaway! Glad this is open internationally.. forgiveness, well i think its something we all sometimes find challenging. really interested in seeing it unfold in this story

  14. I enjoy reading new authors!


  15. There are things in my past with my first ex-husband I have gotten past but have not forgiven. I'm not sure how you forgive someone for physical and mental abuse. Maybe this book could help me with that. Both books sound amazing. Thanks for the chance. lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  16. I usually just try to forget bad things that happen/people do to me. I am always having a hard time forgiving them. Sad enough, I have become so neurotic and sometimes introverted because of it. Hope I'd get to have a copy of this book. It would really help me out.

  17. You've written a book that I think everyone can relate to .... forgiveness. I'd love to read it!

  18. I would love to read this book! I've been determined this year to obtain and maintain a heart of forgiveness toward those in my life who have had such a strong hold on me throughout my childhood and up to this point in my teenage years and have shaped my mind to this day... not easy but God has been helping me and although I know I have a long way to go, I'm so thankful for coming this far.

  19. Nice to meet you and get to learn about your book. jrs362 at Hotmail dot com

  20. If God can forgive everything, we need to alos.

  21. This review is great and has me very excited to check out these books!

  22. Thanks to all of you for your wonderful comments on forgiveness. I think it's one of the hardest things we're called to do as believers, but also one of the most important things we're called to do. Blessings to you all. :)

  23. Forgiveness is such a hard thing for most to do. Most people hold grudges and it stews inside of them and turns into bitterness, resentment, and eventually hate. We need GOD to grant us the strength to forgive.

  24. Forgiveness is very hard but very necessary for one to be able to move on. Please count me in on this giveaway.


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Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~ Philippians 4:8

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