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.

When Forgiveness Will Occur

Some men don't resolve the forgiveness issue. Until they perceive God's grace and forgiveness toward them, they can't truly forgive. Until they recognize they are made whole only by divine help, they can't push away the anger and grudges they hold.

He's ready to forgive when he no longer blames himself for the abuse or punishes himself for what he did or didn't do. Getting to that point is a gradual process and doesn't occur at one moment. As he learns to accept himself as he is and begins to treat himself with respect and affection, he may come to realize that forgiveness is an act of compassion toward himself.

It took time for me to grasp that. Whenever the topic of molestation came up, I thought of Mr. Lee and what his actions had done to me. At one point I said, "He ruined my life." He didn't ruin my life but he made it extremely painful for me. After I finally tired of exerting energy toward hating him, I chose a different path to follow.

Many of us want revenge in some way, especially if the perpetrator is alive. But even if we find a way to see the other punished, our pain won't be gone. We might be satisfied that justice has reigned, but it changes nothing for us.

So keep this clearly in mind: abuse is always wrong; abuse is always sinful; abuse always hurts.

Forgiveness allows our hurts to go into the Past file. Pain doesn't have to live in the Present file or Future file. We transfer the emotional energy we used for resentment and spend it on healthy relationships.

--excerpted from When A Man You Love Was Abused by Cecil Murphey, Kregel Publications, 2010, page 229.

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