FORGIVENESS STORIES MELT HEARTS
Do you have an interesting story about forgiveness?
Did you forgive someone?
Did someone forgive you?
Did you forgive yourself?
Were aggrieved people reconciled?
We’d love to help you share your forgiveness story.
These stories will be shared by people everywhere. If your story is about God’s forgiveness keep this part simple and invitational.
Here’s how to share your story:
Send in your 600-800 word story with one or more relevant photographs. Some stories may be wild. Others may involve simple acts of forgiveness with dramatic twists or poignant life changing truths. Write using our guidelines. Our editors will help your story shine.
Raw real stories that inspire with wonder will be published on the FORGIVE STORIES website (under construction @ www.forgivestories.com) and in social media etc.
QR codes cards will help connect people to the FORGIVE STORIES website. The cards will be distributed by people everywhere through service agencies, churches etc.
Some stories will be made into short videos. We will contact some of you to offer to video your story. The team doing this have done this before! See: www.40stories.org.au
Please send us your:
- Story (600-800 words)
- Photographs (high resolution with captions please)
- Permission to Publicise Stories. Print this Permission Form (to be completed by you and people identified in your story). Credits will be given unless anonymity has been requested on the Permission form.
Address: Forgive Stories email@example.com or
Forgive Stories 6 Paul Close, Mona Vale NSW Australia 2103
A Guide to Writing Your Forgive Story:
The story you are about to write will be used to encourage others to understand forgiveness and try it for themselves. It may be published on the FORGIVE STORIES website (www.forgivestories.com), and in other forms. Credits will be given unless anonymity has been requested on the permission form.
Not all stories will be published and some will be edited. The publisher reserves the right to withhold stories from publication or edit them prior to publication.
Not all stories need to involve heinous or criminal acts. Some might be simple offences with dramatic or interesting twists.
Remember, forgiveness runs two ways … it can involve your forgiveness of others, or others forgiving you. Sometimes, it can be about you forgiving yourself or reconciliation between two aggrieved sides.
The following guidelines will assist you to prepare your story in a format suitable for publication.
- Stories should be concise and no longer than 800 words.
- Please present your stories in Word format to facilitate editing if required.
- It is important that stories be accompanied by high resolution photographs where possible. Please provide captions for each photograph identifying people and places where relevant and appropriate.
- Please spend some time reflecting upon your story before you ‘put pen to paper’.
- Use simple language in your story and refrain from making it too detailed or complicated.
- Be careful not to embarrass or incriminate individuals. If such is the case, it may be better to change names and write anonymously.
- Start with a strong opening to engage the reader from the beginning. Remember to avoid unnecessary detail as you only have a maximum of 800 words.
- Construct the story towards the key point, using every sentence to set the mood and build to the main lesson you want to present.
- Reach a moving conclusion and finish the story without dragging the closure out.
- Go back to the story after a day or so, and edit it, removing unnecessary words or sentences. Remove anything which is superfluous and tidy up the grammar. Do this at least three times until you are satisfied that you have captured the elements of the story and the flow towards a moving ending.
Who is Behind This?
This is a Not-for-Profit exercise. The publisher, Forgive Stories (www.forgivestories.com), is an initiative of National Forgiveness Week (NFW), in cooperation with Partners in Prayer and Evangelism Ltd (PIPES) (www.partnersinprayer.org.au), Livingstone Media Foundation Ltd T/A 40 Stories Project (www.40stories.org.au).This initiative is endorsed by the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) (www.ncca.org.au).
TO ERR IS HUMAN,
TO FORGIVE, DIVINE
FORGIVENESS DOES NOT CHANGE THE PAST
BUT IT DOES ENLARGE THE FUTURE
Paul Lewis Boese,
An example of a forgiveness story:
A story is told of a young man named Jochen sitting quietly on a train as it rattled along through the German countryside. He was deep in thought and troubled about something. The only other person in the compartment was a minister who sensed that the youth was worried, and being a compassionate man, wanted to help if he could. He introduced himself and then gently said, “I can see that you are troubled about something. Would you like to tell me about it?” Jochen was wary of the minister at first, but eventually began to tell his tale:
It seemed he had been a rebellious teenager and had constantly been arguing with his mum and dad over just about everything. He wanted his own way all the time, and he had always felt angry towards them when they didn’t agree to his wishes. Finally, in a fit of anger he left home, telling them that he hated them both and vowing never to return again.
Two years had passed since that fateful day and Jochen had come to realise that his parents were right and he was wrong. They had been a difficult two years; moving from one dumpy apartment to another, getting a little money here and there. Oh, he had made friends with those of his own age, but his heart continued to fret for his family. He missed his mum and dad, but he was unable to go home because of his vow and his pride.
Finally, when he could bear it no longer, he decided to write a letter to his parents and this is what he wrote …
“I realise now that you were right and I was wrong. I am sorry for all the trouble I’ve caused. I also realise that I love you both dearly and I want to come home if you will have me? I know you must be angry with me, and maybe you don’t want me anymore? But I have booked a seat on the Dusseldorf train which is scheduled to stop at our village at 10:15 next Thursday morning.”
“You know the old tree on the bend near the railway track. If you want me home just tie a white tea towel to one of the branches, and as the train pulls in I will see it and know that you want me back. If I do not see the tea towel on the tree, I will know that I’m not welcome and I will remain on the train. I will understand if you don’t ever want to see me again for I have made your lives difficult. Even so, I ask you to forgive me if you can find it in your heart.”
And now the train was nearing his village. Did they want him home again or didn’t they? He so wanted to get off the train to see his parents and express his sorrow for continually disobeying them. He wanted to show them, though older now, he could be happily submissive, but would he get the chance? The feeling of expectancy was growing in his heart as the train drew closer to that old tree by the track.
He could not bear to look and see if the tea towel was hanging there. And so, as the train approached that fateful bend, he asked if the minister could look for him? The kindly minister pulled down the carriage window and peered out! Jochen looked at his face to see any glimmer of expression which would forewarn him of the minister’s response, but there was none.
“Well?” said Jochen, “Well?”
“You’d better look for yourself,” said the old minister.
So, with his heart pounding within his chest, Jochen looked out to see the tree …
Yes, a white tea towel hung from one of the branches. But there were also white sheets … and white pillowcases … and white tablecloths … and white bath towels … and white blankets, covering the tree!
… and a broken and grateful son was welcomed home into the arms of his loving parents.
This is a modern-day parable which ‘paints a picture’ of God’s love for his wayward child. His love is so beautiful. If we overlook Him or neglect Him, we will overlook a wonderful and exciting future. Everything depends upon our relationship with Him – everything. He so desperately longs for His rebellious children to return home.
“So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). God’s heart-desire is to have us restored to our rightful places as His beloved children – for we are His joy and the Apple of His Eye. He has withheld nothing to achieve this ‘right of passage’ for you and me.
Oh the wonderful love in God’s heart when He began to consider the plan of salvation that involved sending His only Son Jesus to suffer and die for you and me. It is even more wonderful that He not only thought about it, but He put it into action and sent Him. It was the only way, and He considered you and me worth the price!
Excerpt from Floodgates of Glory by Robert Warren – Used with permission