Forgiving the Impossible?Paperback From abuse to freedom & hope Greta Randle
As a child Greta was subjected to a horrific nightmare: abuse at the hands of her church pastor. Trapped, she could see no way out. But her dramatic story of revulsion, anger, depression and bitterness contains an unexpected twist. Today Greta helps other abuse victims to follow the thorny biblical route to forgiveness.(more...)
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Are some things just too difficult to forgive? Like child abuse at the hands of a trusted family friend?
Greta Randle's story shows us that forgiveness is not only possible, but that it is hugely liberating for the victim.
'My healing would only have been partial without God's intervention,' she says. 'Self-help, counselling and reading have all played a part but nothing can take the place that God occupied within the whole process. He spoke to me through the Bible, used his people to pray with me. He was constant.'
'Some may ask, "Why does God allow these things?" It is my perception that it hurts God to know that the people he created allow themselves to do "these things". It was never his wish for me to be damaged as a child but he is able to redeem every situation.'
'An authentic story that will clearly resonate with many people, and affect many more.' - Ali Herbert
'You will grow as you read.' - Maggie Ellis
'A powerful reminder that the walk of freedom and fullness of life in Christ is found, at least in part, through the difficult duty of forgiveness.' - Hanni Seddon
'I was deeply touched by reading this ... most courageous and honest book.' - Trevor Stammers
Extent: 176 pages
Publication Date: 16/04/2010
Published by: IVP
1. ‘It’s a girl!’
2. ‘Children should be seen and not heard’
3. ‘There’s no-one as happy as us’
4. ‘But your eyes are not smiling’
5. ‘What has happened to you?’
6. ‘I don’t love you any more’
7. ‘It’s a figment of her imagination’
8. ‘Take him down!’
9. ‘No sex, please, we’re British’
10. ‘How will I know when it’s all gone?’
11. ‘You need to forgive’
12. ‘I think we need to talk to somebody’
13. ‘I just feel like I want to scream’
14. ‘A year of Jubilee’
15. ‘This is our calling’
This is no ordinary book. Neither is it a book for everyone. Moreover, it is not an easy read. It is graphic and detailed. You may not be prepared for what follows. I say this because not all of us have suffered in the manner described. This book is directed towards those who have gone through such pain as the author describes. Those who have been abused as she was will take comfort from reading it.
We are living in an era when sexual abuse exists almost around every corner. It is found in middle-class families, even among ‘Christian’ people whom you would never suspect to be so tainted. Many have a story to tell – but keep quiet about it. Those who have been abused often blame themselves and hide the facts for years and years. Some never talk about it at all.
But author Greta Randle has decided to talk about it. She is Chief Executive of the Association of Christian Counsellors, a group that represents Christian counsellors and pastoral ministries. Greta is married to Ian, a church minister for some fifteen years. She was a social worker before taking up her present position, and has had particular experience as a senior practitioner working with disabled children.
Greta has decided to tell her story, a stunning if not shocking account of a life that has known suffering, beginning with sexual abuse. Writing a book like this has required great skill and sensitivity, relaying to the reader accounts of the most delicate situations.
It is also a story of forgiveness. This is where I come in and the reason no doubt why I have been asked to write this foreword. I have known nothing personally of sexual abuse. But I do know what it is to forgive, as I describe in my own book Total Forgiveness. The greatest benefit of forgiveness comes not so much to the person who is forgiven but to the one who does the forgiving. It is what sets one free. A further reason for forgiveness, moreover, is to keep us from being outwitted by Satan (2 Corinthians 2:11), for the devil will seize upon any measure of unforgiveness in us.
Greta has had to do a lot of forgiving. The value of this book, therefore, lies not only in finding comfort from knowing someone who has been abused, perhaps as you have been, but in coming through this by forgiving those who have been so horrible. I have taught for years that the greater the suffering, the greater the anointing. If you have suffered, and dignified the trial, there is blessing for you. The blessing could be greater than you ever dreamed. All things work together for good for those who love God and who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
I pray that this book will give you hope and comfort, but also that you will be led to forgive those who have hurt you. You will be the blessed one in this case, and can even thank God that suffering is not for nothing, but that it can be used to bring comfort to others: ‘For just as the sufferings of
Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows’ (2 Corinthians 1:5).
R. T. Kendall
Minister and author
This book, with its obvious limitations, cannot adequately describe the ghastly depths I reached during the years of depression. However, the same is also true of the elation I often feel at being free from it! The limitations also mean that there are many, many more things that happened and
conversations that took place which are too numerous to mention. But I trust that what follows will convey the essential elements to the reader.
‘Depression’ is a term that is maligned, misused and misunderstood. It is not an ‘off ’ day, nor is it something that can easily be shrugged off , and there is no way that sufferers can ‘pull themselves together’ or just ‘get over it’. Depression is a strong and powerful force. It wraps itself around the body and mind with a vice-like grip. It is dark and foreboding.
Behind the Smile was the title I originally suggested for this book because that has been the story of my life: just smile to cover the hurt; smile and no-one will guess there is pain; just smile and continue as normal. Just keep smiling and I might even be able to convince myself that all is well. I called myself ‘the eternal optimist’, but, ever persistent, it caught up even with me . . . Depression!
Eliciting sympathy is not the object of this book. Sharing my story springs from a deep desire to bring hope to others who may have experienced similar horrors. In the New Testament, Paul speaks of God as ‘the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God’. It is my heartfelt prayer that this book will bring real comfort and hope to fellow sufferers. ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope . . . ’ (Romans 15:13).
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