One day, one of the group said, "That's a good question. When you know the answer yourself, you're ready to forgive."
I agreed with him.
As I've pondered the issue of forgiving perpetrators, here are reasons I've come up with to forgive:
* I now have freedom from the painful controls of my past. They no longer torment me.
* I have decreased the likelihood that my anger will be misdirected toward others who aren't responsible for the abuse, including myself.
* I have reduced the fear that I might have violent impulses.
* I grow in the process. I grow in relationship with other people. As long as I withhold forgiveness, I'm isolated from many things in my own emotional life. The stronger the anger and pain, the less open I am to positive emotions.
--excerpted from When A Man You Love Was Abused by Cecil Murphey, Kregel Publications, 2010, pages 228-229.