I just finished reading “The Peacegiver” by James L. Ferrell.
Quick Take: Great message, but I didn’t love the delivery.
I found this book on our bookshelf, assumed it was about the Atonement, and decided to give it a read.
The author tells a story of a couple whose marriage is on the rocks. The husband (Rick), the focal point of the story, blames these marital problems on his wife. His deceased grandfather comes to him in a dream/vision to teach him a lesson through various scriptural narratives (e.g. David, Jonah, Garden of Gethsemane). Eventually, Rick learns that when we fail to forgive others, we prevent the Lord’s atonement from our working in our life.
The message of how our forgiveness of others affects our ability to benefit from the atonement is an important one, but I struggled with the format of the book. It takes a great deal of skill to teach with parable without it feeling forced, and unfortunately this book didn’t do that for me.
But, when I was about ¾ of the way through the book, a brother in our ward referenced “The Peacegiver” in his sacrament meeting talk. He spoke about it in a very personal way, and it changed the way I viewed the book. He had obviously applied the lessons from the book into his life and could truly testify of them. Which, I suppose is true with all gospel principles. Until we experience and internalize gospel truths can we really understand and appreciate them?
So, 5/5 for the message, but only give this a 3/5 stars for the book, but still a very worthwhile read.
Some of My Favourite Quotes:
“Nothing is more important than understanding not just that the Lord’s atonement is the answer to our daily, painful predicaments, but how it is the answer.”
“Being mistreated is the most important condition of mortality, for eternity itself depends on how we view those who mistreat us.”
“When we withhold forgiveness from others … we are in effect saying that the atonement alone was insufficient to pay for this sin. We are holding out for more. We are finding fault with the Lord's offering. We are in essence demanding that the Lord repent of an insufficient atonement. So when we fail to forgive another, it is as if we are failing to forgive the Lord – who … needs no forgiveness.”
“That is what Jonah was stumbling over. In his mind, Nineveh didn’t deserve to be saved. And he, one of the aggrieved and mistreated, didn’t deserve to be required to help them.”
“…his love, offered not because we deserve it but even though we do not, that saves us. We don’t want what we deserve … Our only hope is to receive what we don’t deserve – the mercy that brings the gift of eternal life.”
“…relative righteousness means nothing. Whether Jonah was better or worse than Nineveh isn’t the question at all … Each person’s payment at the end of the day has nothing whatsoever to do with the work of others. We are each working out our own salvation…”
“Mercy can be extended only to those who are willing to extend it themselves.”
“My peace is not determined by others – whether they be righteous or not – but by myself. Or rather, my peace is determined by whether I come to Christ myself. … Whether others come to Christ … will determine their peace but not mine.”
“Losing sight of our sinfulness, we lose sight of our need for the One who comes to heal the sinner.”