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Shawn's sophomore bible study is about much more than forgiveness. A theme introduced early on is how weaknesses are passed down from generation to generation. Sometimes a struggle with something like unforgiveness is shared by daughters and mothers and grandmothers (or their male counterparts, of course). In like fashion to Living With Unmet Desires, real characters from the Bible come alive to illustrate the topic at hand, and in this case it's Joseph (of Old Testament fame) and his family. The Joseph who was sold into slavery by his own brothers and had all the reason to be unforgiving and all the power years later to destroy them if he wished to. As with Shawn's previous bible study, I appreciated delving into their lives and mindsets on a deeper level.
I've only had to deal with major bouts of unforgiveness a couple of times, with a bully when I was a teen and with a woman who acted like a teenage "mean girl" when I was older. Something about the archetype of someone backbiting and hurting you, while usually being sweet and flattering to your face, is especially difficult for me to process. I rarely think of my first round with this archetype, but the second is still fresh. Within the Encountering the Healing Power of Forgiveness there were some pointed statements that really hit home. For example, "Forgiveness only takes one." and "We must let Him be Lord over the hurt and Lord over the one who has caused it." Those and the content around them addressed my hardest struggles, dealing with their lack of remorse, and resisting the urge to lord it over (for me to demand an apology, or as if I could convince them to turn their life around, and in some brief moments the urge to "warn everyone" about the person, or to spill her darkest secret to everyone and expose all her lies!) There were times I would have said I don't carry grudges, but the last year has been uncomfortably revealing, a Psalm 139:23 kind of year. Great timing to be sent a study on this very topic!
Like Living With Unmet Desires Shawn has you open your bible and delve in, including much Spirit-led introspection. Both lacking in modern lives, in which many of us are settling for anything from fast read devotionals to a total lack of scripture. I pray God will continue to lead and bless Shawn, as she has a true gift for writing bible studies that actually highlight the bible.
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