I've been reading this book by Serena Woods over the past 2-3 days titled Grace is for Sinners. It's an incredibly good read....and it's also an incredibly bad read.
This book is Serena's story. It deals primarily with a mistake that she made in her life...and what her church did to her because of it.
This book is so hard to read because of her pain that just pours through the pages. I've never been in the situations that she has lived through, but I felt terrible reading it. It's so powerfully written that, to me, I could feel the emptiness, horror, abandonment and suffering she received at the hands of those who are supposed to be God's people on Earth. I could at times physically feel pain deep inside me for what she went through...and what many more go through in the same way.
I won't say that I "can't believe" this is how people reacted and treated her...because I do believe it. But that doesn't make it any easier to stomach. Maybe if I could tell myself that she was over-exaggerating or her perceptions were skewed, or she was putting the others in a bad light--then maybe that would make it easier to stomach. But if I'm honest, she portrayed 'the others' in an incredibly good light. The amount of grace she displayed in the way she wrote this story about those who nearly destroyed her (and her family) is incredible.
But this book isn't just about the horrible treatment she received. It's about healing. It's about grace and forgiveness that she received over and over from Jesus in spite of those who should have been his mouthpieces who drilled it into her that she was unforgivable. Who told her she was unrepentant, unloved, unworthy of respect, and unworthy of being associated with. Those who instead of helping to pick her back up, tore her down further and further....and did the same to others.
You should read this book.
Whether you've been in a similar situation or not.
If you have, it will likely help you. Give you hope. Show you forgiveness. Serve as an example of God's restoration.
If you have not, it may stop you from unknowingly (or knowingly) crushing someone who desperately needs your grace and love in their most vulnerable times. It may stop you from destroying someone without your even trying.
Serena's website is http://www.graceisforsinners.com