My friend hadn’t been very open, but I remember saying one sentence: “There’s no one who can’t be forgiven.”
Nearly five years later, Neal and I were talking about his abuse. He reminded me of the words I had spoken. “You’re right. It’s more than just forgiving him, but it also means I can move on from my pain.”
Although glad for where he was, I wish I had also said, “When you’re ready to forgive or to release the hurt, you’ll see it differently.”
He smiled and nodded. “I felt that by not forgiving I was withholding something from him—giving him pain for his evil deeds. Perhaps that seems incredulous, but I wanted him to suffer.”
It’s sad, but that’s the confused reasoning of many. We want them to hurt; we want them to feel the agony they caused us.
Life just doesn’t work that way. We forgive for our own sake. As long as we hold on to the hurt they caused, healing doesn’t take place.
I need to forgive those who hurt me,
and when I’ve hurt enough, I will.
I went through a stage of wanting him to be hurt, wanting him to pay. Then I realized how do I know he's not, or hasn't paid for it? He may be paying for it everyday. I can't imagine his potential guilt. Then I thought of his wife and children. How would they feel?
Next I thought of myself. How great has God forgiven me? Sin is sin, and there is no sin greater than another. Plus, my lack of forgiveness only hinders my progress. Holding on to it only keeps me stuck in self pity, anger, hate etc.. Forgiveness actually releases the hurts and pains to God. That allows God to step in, and heal you more completely. I had to process the pain, feel it, grasp the negative effects of it, and release it. God is big enough to take it, and I trust Him to handle it. I even went so far as to ask God not to hold him accountable for this so that it doesn't keep him out of Heaven. That is forgiveness. Undeserved Grace that we all need. Not that I'm some great person, no rather I understood how aweful my sin is too.
Finding compassion for your abuser is key, but understanding how great you have been forgiven is too!
Anonymous, thank you for the lessons you've learned and for passing them. Good, solid thinking.
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