I hurt for a long time because of childhood sexual abuse. Now I want to provide a safe place for hurting men to connect with other survivors of sexual abuse. Talk to us. You don't have to use your real name to share your experiences or ask questions.

Feeling Empathy

Two people abused me, both of whom were dead before I began to deal with my abuse. I wanted to forgive them, but it took me a couple of weeks of daily, intense prayer (it may take you only days or possibly years, because we're all different).

I don't know how God accounts for sins. The woman who abused me was a prominent Christian. I doubt that the old man ever went to church. But I prayed—fervently—that God would enable me to forgive them.

As my next step I thought of the prayer of Stephen, the first martyr of the church, who prayed, "Do not lay this sin to their charge." It took a lot of guts, commitment, and love for that man to pray that way for the people as they stoned him to death.

Eventually I was able to pray in the same way as Stephen did. I sincerely felt some of their pain and misery. That's not to overlook their awful acts, but it is to say, "God, their addiction imprisoned them. Surely they were tortured by their behavior. Forgive them for the terrible things they did."

Does such praying do anything for the perpetrators?

I don't know, but it did something good for me: I was free.

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