By Matthew West
Matthew West is a gifted writer who has influenced many. God has abundantly gifted Matthew in both his willingness to write such a sensitive topic and in his music. I have loved West’s music since his first cd “Happy” came out, so I have enjoyed being able to step into the world of this book on forgiveness. Matthew West goes into this subject willingly, humble, and is real about his own struggles. Forgiveness involves many different areas, and West addresses those areas. It is hard to forgive, and a lot of times we do not feel worthy of forgiveness. Many times, we may even forgive others but hold grudges against ourselves. We constantly are reminded of where we have been, but we need that forgiveness. We need that release and the freedom that God longs to give us, as His beloved children! The lifted burden we long for is within our reach, as we reach out for the hand of God!
West willingly becomes our “tour guide” as we look at the different aspects of forgiveness and evaluate our lives, past hurts, and even our secrets… The book is divided into four sections: forgiving others, asking for forgiveness, forgiving ourselves, and embracing God’s forgiveness. Each area is crucial, but none greater than realizing our need for God’s forgiveness!
In Forgiveness, many individuals shared their struggles and how God has “worked all things out for His ultimate good…”. His blessings are poured out, as others willingly forgave others who have hurt them. They are released from their spiritual and emotional prisons. Some–even freed from a physical prison. Situations are radically changed–for the good! I am very appreciative for these accounts of others’ struggles and seeing how God has worked in their lives. There is such hope! God can work in any despairing situation as long as we stay willing and keep seeking Him.
“Forgiveness” by Matthew West has been such a great encouragement to me, as I reflect on my own life and the many areas of forgiveness that need to take place. As I have read the book, God has continued to invite me into His journey of forgiveness and redefining what forgiveness is from my own misunderstanding. It does not mean accepting their actions. Forgiveness is the starting place. It is separate from reconciliation, but without forgiveness it is impossible to reconcile. It is about honoring God, by forgiving as I have been forgiven. The deeper I submerge into God’s forgiveness, the more peace I will be given through the forgiveness process. It is not for them, but it is for my Creator.