Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Litfuse Book Review: Letters from My Father's Murderer

With a goal of reading more in mind, I decided to hop back on the Litfuse book review train. Nothing makes you work on achieving a goal like a deadline. As a member of Litfuse Publicity Group, I have the privilege of reading and reviewing books at no cost to me in return for my written view on WMM. Today, I'm going to be sharing with you Laurie Coombs Letters from My Father's Murder: A Journey of Forgiveness.

When her father was murdered, Laurie sought justice and found it. His murderer now serves two life sentences with no possibility of parole. Yet, despite the swift punishment of the killer, Laurie found herself increasingly full of pain, bitterness, and anger she couldn’t control. After coming to faith, she realized she was being called to seek something infinitely more difficult than justice: forgiveness. This is an extraordinary true story of grace, mercy, and the redemptive power of God to change lives. The reader is swept along with Laurie as she undergoes the life-changing transformation of becoming a Christian. As she studies Scripture, seeing God redeeming losses and healing deep wounds time and time again, she starts to understand that her own healing would require her to love her enemy in a real, practical way. Using her incredible correspondence with the man who killed her father, Laurie reveals a compelling journey of transformation, not only in her life, but in the lives of those whom many would call irredeemable. Letters from My Father’s Murderer is for any audience Christian or secular who...
  • Craves freedom from the inability to forgive those who’ve caused them harm
  • Wants to hear testimony of God’s power in our obedience
  • Has experienced pain through other’s sin against them
  • Needs to know healing is always possible
The real story here is not primarily about murder and its fallout, but rather about redemption and how far it can reach.

Laurie A. Coombs is a passionate writer and speaker on the issues of forgiveness, redemption, and the hope that is found in Jesus. Her story was featured in Billy Graham's new film, "Heaven." She is a featured writer and blogger for iBelieve and Crosswalk. Laurie and her husband, Travis, make their home in Nevada along with their two daughters.
Letters from My Father's Murderer completely opened my eyes to the meaning of true forgiveness and the ability for someone at their very lowest is able to find Holy redemption among man. Laurie says a very painful part of her life, the murder of her father, with readers not to play victim but to share the powerful grace that God provides both her and her father's killer.

Two passages in the book really made me stop and think. The first was when Laurie wrote "I wouldn't be able to forgive on my own. I knew that much. So I needed to lay down my pride and allow God to give me strength and grace enough to forgive. It was His work that need to be done. I simply needed to obey." How many of us hold grudges? How many of us saw we forgive someone but deep in our heart hold resentment for their actions? How many of us hate someone regardless of how pointless carrying hate in your heart is?

There is one person in my life that I can only feel disdain for. I should say hate but that's such an ugly word, isn't it? This person has caused me and my entire family a lot of pain, sorrow and heartache. However, me hating her does absolutely nothing but cause ugliness in my heart. God doesn't want us to carry such a nasty emotion around. I've said time and time again, I need to let go of this dislike and let God work his magic on the situation. While I will never have a relationship with her, it's still better for me, individually, to walk a life free of hated, this includes her.

The second passage reads "Forgiveness, however, in no way is an act of condoning sins, for sin is never okay or justifiable, but instead it's an act of allowing oneself to heal. And true healing can only be given by God." Throughout the book, Laurie shares her experience communicating with the man that took her father from her and her siblings. Laurie struggle with the idea that forgiving Anthony means okaying what he did. I totally get that. I would struggle with the same thing. Just because I forgive you for the sins you've committed, it doesn't mean what you did was okay. That isn't the case with the murderer or in my world with the person that's brought my family pain.

If you, like Laurie, I and so may others, carry hate, resentment and bitterness in your heart for someone or a situation, give it to God. Pray over it faithfully. He will bring you the peace you so desire. It may not come quickly or in the way you imagined (Laurie has an ongoing relationship with her father's murderer!! - insane!) but the grace God will bring to this situation will be worth the time it takes you to to pray and show patience. I realize how "simple" I'm making this. I just can't help but think of Laurie's story and how if she can grow in her faith to the point of forgiving your father's murderer, you and I can show forgiveness in our lives, too.


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