Most of my life I walked around angry. I was angry at God who I called the Great Abandoner because He did not stop the abuse. I was angry with my parents who abused me. Years after they died I was still angry at them. They had robbed me of my innocence and childhood. Thinking of the abuse I received at their hands plunged me into despair. I felt like I wore a scarlet A for abuse on my chest. The memories and pain remained with me long after the abuse ended. The problem was that holding on to my anger bound me to my past. The only way to break the chains of abuse was to forgive.
The first step toward healing was forgiving my parents. Both my parents were dead. My anger did nothing to change what happened and they were not affected by my feelings. The only one hurt by anger was me.
I felt that if I forgave my parents it meant I was giving tacit approval of what they did, but that is not the case. Their abuse was wrong. Forgiveness is not absolution, it is the release of the emotions from the abuse that bind us. My parents will answer to God for what they did. Whether or not the person asks for forgiveness, realizes the wrong they did, cares that we forgive them, or even is aware that we forgive them, we must forgive for our own sanity.
Forgiveness is a very selfish act. It releases us from the burden of the anger we carry around. Anger only hurts us, it doesn’t touch our abusers. Our abusers are self-centered. They care more for their gratification and less for our feelings. Our anger either excites and encourages them or doesn’t affect them at all. But anger increases our stress level and causes us to hold on to the pain and hurt, binding us from moving forward toward the good things in life.
For me, forgiveness came in stages. The first thing I needed to do was to ask God to make me willing to forgive them. I prayed that prayer for a long time because my hurts ran deep.
Tomorrow we will continue on the topic of forgiveness.
Questions to consider:
Who do you need to forgive?
Are you willing to make the first steps towards forgiveness?