I invited Gary Roe to write several posts. He also shares his story in my book When a Man You Love Was Abused.
I had taken the step to forgive my abusers. I thought I had the forgiveness part of my healing down pat, and then a friend came and asked a deeper question: “You say that you have forgiven your abusers for what they did. . . the rapes, the acts of abuse. But have you forgiven them for the results in your life of what they did to you?”
I stared in shock. I felt as if my soul were being ripped apart. And right there, in a chair on the deck behind my house, I began to cry. Soon I wept convulsively. It grew more and more intense. It was as if I were throwing up emotion in waves. It went on for almost two hours.
My eyes were closed, and I saw myself walking toward my perpetrators and I carried a large, heavy bucket of filth. When I reached them, I set the bucket down in front of them and said, “These are all the horrid, devastating results in my life of what you did to me. These things have affected my relationships and the people I love. I won't carry this any more. These things don't belong to me. I return them to you. I leave them here. I forgive you.” Then I saw myself leave the bucket and walk away.
When my sobs subsided, I knew God had broken through and enabled me to forgive at a new level.
It was devastating to think of all the results of the abuse in my life. It was the key event of my childhood and it affected everything. Everything. Forgiving my perpetrators of the consequences of the abuse, as well as the acts of abuse themselves, was like a sledgehammer that broke the back of my bondage.