Freedom in forgiveness

Christianity

It’s impossible for me to forgive on my own. As a survivor/victim of sexual abuse, I have stored up a lifetime of anger, and hatred toward those who abused me and hurt those I love. I’ve felt completely justified in my anger, that it was righteous, because the abuse was heinous and evil. Until recently.

I’m doing a workbook that addresses forgiveness and asks some questions that cut right to the heart of this matter. I told God straight out: I hate him!!! He hurt me. He also hurt those I love and doesn’t deserve forgiveness. He deserves to rot in prison.

I love that we can be grossly honest with God, because after all, He already knows what’s in our hearts, it’s helpful for us to be honest with Him.

As I told God the ugliest parts of my heart and how I felt about this one person, it was as if the Holy Spirit whispered “Jesus died for him.”

But I don’t want to forgive him God! I want justice!  “Jesus died for him.” I paused for a moment. If I refused to forgive this one who abused me, then I’m setting myself above Jesus, who died for his sins and mine. I’m setting myself above God. I didn’t want to do that.

Yes, I would forgive, and trust God to deal with justice for the wrongdoing. Enough pain and evil has been done. I will not be a prisoner to unforgiveness anymore.

I’m not saying this is easy. It’s truly an act of our will and our feelings may take time to follow. The prayer pictured below is helpful for me in the forgiveness process. You may find it helps, too! I have a long way to go and God is still at work in my heart every day. But freedom sure is worth the hard work!

image

The lavish love of God

love, Uncategorized

I’m the first to admit that I cannot comprehend the love of God. In spite of that, every once in a while, I will get a glimpse of the lavish love that He has for you and for me.

There’s a young single woman that I have a very close relationship with. A few months ago I was concerned about a romantic relationship she was in. We had a great talk about how she was feeling toward this guy and where it might be headed in the future. For some reason, I candidly asked her, “Are you having a sexual relationship with him?” When it popped out of my mouth I held my breath. Then she answered that no, they weren’t. We moved on to other subjects and had a great time together.

Fast forward a few months, and she called me one afternoon. After the niceties of greeting each other, her tone suddenly changed and she began to cry. Over and over again, she repeated, “Please forgive me, I have sinned against you. I am so sorry, please forgive me.” She sobbed as she repeated this over and over. My heart gushed with compassion and love for her. After this went on for an uncomfortable amount of time, I told her, “Whatever it is, whatever you have done, I love you.  It’s okay, I love you and I forgive you. No matter what. Just tell me what it is that you’ve done.” Then she told me, “I’m pregnant. I am so sorry,” and she continued to cry. Then I joined her in crying as I was feeling so much love for her, and it hurt for me to hear her in pain. Besides that, I know first hand what it’s like to be a young woman who is pregnant and unmarried. I know that the road she is journeying is not an easy one.

Later I thought back many times to this phone call. Could it be that God gushes with love for you and I, as I felt toward this beautiful girl on the phone? It truly didn’t matter what she was getting ready to tell me. I truly felt that no matter what it was, I would forgive and love her. When I think about how finite and puny my human love is compared to God’s, it blows my mind.

Recently I’ve recognized that it’s hard for me to accept God’s great love for me. I know that I don’t get it, but I want to! I have started asking Him this week to help me accept His love, to understand it, and to experience it. I tend to think too much inside the box on this, as if somehow God were like me and limited in His ability to love. Then I remember that He is love.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8