More on Books Changing Us

I was so fascinated by Maureen’s post that I started to comment, and then decided to make it  my post for today. I’ve written a previous blog post or two about how books can change us.

Maureen’s points are all valid and true. I don’t expect to convince otherwise in this post, but I still believe books can change us and in the same way the Bible changes us—helping us in our relationships with others. Maybe it’s not obvious, but books can hold spiritual nuggets and help us into a deeper understanding of biblical concepts. That deeper understanding can then change how I view my relationships with others, that is, if I’m open to receive and learn something new. Then I must choose to make that change.

Not every book has this effect, of course, but there are many I’ve read that have been gentle reminders to me in the small things such as how to deal more gently with my children, or how to quit keeping score with my husband or friends, but rather have grace and understanding. The list is long and wide on the books that have opened my eyes to my own faults, or that have revealed a new way of looking at certain aspects of my life or those of others.

But I’ll list two books that have changed me in big ways. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers opened my eyes to see just how much God loves me. How much He loves us. Before reading this book, I didn’t understand the infinite depth of His unfailing love. I can say today that knowing and understanding this spiritual truth revealed to me through this novel—a retelling of the story of Hosea—changed me. I never doubt God’s love, even when my heart isn’t where it should be. And that’s because of Redeeming Love—definitely an anointed novel. You might say that the Bible should have revealed this to me. Yes, that truth is there, but Redeeming Love is a retelling of this important biblical message in a way I could understand and internalize. Just like Jesus’s parables.

Another such book is Randy Ingermanson’s Retribution.  I can’t say enough about how this book explains the mystery of forgiveness. There is no other story like it, in my opinion. If you struggle with forgiving—and I think we all do whether we realize it or not—this book is a must read.

If you can then forgive like never before–you are changed forever.

Jesus told His parables to open our eyes and help us understand. Likewise, as followers of Christ we should allow Him to work and speak through us, and we should choose to grow and change as well. Just as our interactions with others change us, so can reading about interactions change us, if only in small ways.

Writing this post is a reminder to me as a Christian author how important it is that I write God’s truth as He directs into my stories.

Can you list books that have changed you?

Blessings!

Elizabeth Goddard

Award-winning author of Riptide and North Dakota Weddings. Available wherever books are sold.

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2 Responses to More on Books Changing Us

  1. Maureen Lang says:

    I was hoping to stir up some discussion on this topic, actually! (Although I do think for the most part we agree.) I think Christian novels can and do demonstrate Biblical truths—at least they should, or why would they be in a Christian category? And cumulatively, being reminded of and seeing how these truths are demonstrated in real life should help to make an impact on real people’s lives. That continues to be my hope.

    I think if the truths of the Bible are made clearer through having a story demonstrate such truths (the way, as you mentioned, Jesus demonstrated points in His parables) then it’s more likely the added clarity helps. But is it the novel or the Bible or the Holy Spirit’s involvement that really changes someone?

    I love books. I know they have power, because books have helped to start revolutions. I want to be able to say stories can change people. I just think it’s hard to say one book alone, without other elements involved, can do that.

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  2. bethrachg says:

    I agree with you that a book alone can’t exact change. I brought up Redeeming Love–without my heartfelt reception of the message, and perhaps the encouragement from the Holy Spirit, my eyes would not have been opened.

    You post an interesting question, too. I’m thinking out loud here. . .If we had the Bible alone but no way to act it out. . .would that be merely faith without works?

    So likely it’s in the working out of our salvation that the changes are made.

    The Holy Spirit uses things around us and that can include a book. Of course a book all by itself without any other processes can do nothing. But that can be said of just about ANYTHING. Not just books, right?

    And that puts us way off topic! LOL

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