Luke 23:34 (King James Version)
“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them”
There are 26 letters in the alphabet of which only 9 are used to spell this word. Nine letters that could spell so much else – such as give, forge or seen. Words that I wish had been my childhood so I wouldn’t have so much to forgive.
If I had been seen to matter love would have been given – given that a bond would have been forged – forgiveness of what seems and feels unforgiveable not required.
“How, Lord?” the mantra of my heart whenever I faced this truth – “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another.” John 13:34 (The Message)
“Love one another? Love those who never loved me? Love those who hurt me beyond belief, in ways unutterable? Is this truly what You mean God? Is this something I can even do? I am so wounded, so torn and weary – how can I ever forgive?”
Pause here – right now – and breathe. Trust me, I know how you are feeling and what you are thinking.
“NEVER! THEY DON’T DESERVE IT! I CAN’T, SO PLEASE DON’T ASK THIS OF ME LORD!”
Yet, He is.
As you move yourself emotionally towards choosing to forgive your abusers focus on this truth – “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20 (The Message)
God isn’t asking you to do anything He isn’t capable of helping you to do. He also isn’t asking you to do something He hasn’t already done. He was abused too, you know. Mocked and scorned, sold and abandoned, looked upon with loathing and hate – an anger fed and full of selfishness kind – sound familiar?
Yet, what did He do as He hung upon the cross – for us none the less? HE FORGAVE. In His abandonment He remembered us, as He was scorned-/ He spoke words of acceptance, looked upon His fellow crossmates with love unto a compassionate forgiveness.
Who are we to think only of ourselves? To say, “But it was so wrong, I shouldn’t have to forgive, I won’t.” Was not our Lord and Savior’s abuse even greater? Was His “asked for or deserved?”
He who was and is everything died that we might live!
Look at it this way, to not forgive is to throw His gift of salvation back in His face – to say, “why did You bother?” If I must forgive to be forgiven than forget it! “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37 (Today’s New International Version)
Now who’s abusing Whom? Who is allowing selfishness or anger to fuel their actions?
YOU, ME, US!
Please don’t. Look to God; focus on the Christ upon the cross as you open yourself to the Spirit’s indwelling. See the love He has for you as you climb into His embrace – feeling His arms – seeing His look of acceptance as you come home to Him.
The cool part? As you experience the “feel” of love you can’t help but let it out. As you are infused of the Spirit you will find yourself overflowing with the power to choose to forgive because it is His power flowing out of you. Suddenly one day you will simply “know” that it is finished – the abuses memories hold gone.
The power of God to enable you to forgive the seemingly un-forgiveable.
Forgiveness does not come naturally – is even harder to give when you have truly been hurt. As an abuse survivor it isn’t something we want to give, we were the ones who suffered here. Yet to hold onto the anger and hurt, the pain is to allow our abusers to still be in control.
As you allow God to move you towards forgiving look at the true meaning of it. What choosing to forgive your abuser means before God.
1. I will not dwell on the thought or memory
To do this is so hard. Ever wonder why? Why it is so hard to forget that which we truly simply want to? Ever wonder how? This was so hard for me to put into practice. It seemed I never would with the flashbacks, panic attacks and night terrors that haunted me. Of myself I knew I never could. It was only as I yielded them to God – acknowledging Satan’s desire to use these against me – that progress was made.
Is this a struggle for you? Does every two steps forward lead to one back? Healing is so exhausting because it is work – hard work. Please don’t give up! Remember God has your back. Claim that which He has lovingly given you to – face each memory clothed in your armor of God – call upon the Lord as you command Satan and his minions to flee in His name, by His power and the spilt blood of His sacrifice for you.
Open yourself to experiencing God’s peace by listing the abuse memories that you struggle with letting go – then do so! Every time they hit give them to God. Write out a prayer of His power to read again and again as often as needed. For those who are living victorious already in this, list your victories with a prayer of praise to Him who is your Victor!
2. I will not bring it up against them again
Just as it is necessary to face our abuse to heal so it is equally so that we do so with our abusers. Face them to name our abuse as we hold them accountable. This is not done for them but rather ourselves. Their reaction – one of denial or not – is irrelevant. We face the abuser as a way of saying, “I know this happened, I will not deny it anymore, I am someone and you were wrong.” Holding someone accountable for their sin is right – yet this is where we need to have our guard up – to stay in Christ as we do so. To not hold their sin against them any more than God does ours against us. We name them to let them go – to break the chain – to say, “My abuse is in God’s hands as are you, may He be the one to judge you, not I.”
Prayerfully consider your heart in this matter. If you haven’t yet faced your abuser consider doing so – taking someone with you as support. Do this that God might free you! Prayerfully ask God to keep you and your words in His love as you write out your forgiveness letter. If you can’t read it to those who need to hear it than prayerfully consider someone with whom God would have you to share it instead.
3. I will not talk to others about it
God understands our need to face our abuse, to acknowledge it out loud – this is why He places people such as pastors or counselors in our life. They are His hand extended to us and sharing with them to heal is not wrong. However, to talk about your abuse to others, casting stones of “they did this to me,” in slander and anger – an effort to smear their names – is sin. If you do this – pray that God would help you to stop doing so – if you don’t, ask Him to help you continue on this path. Now list those you are currently doing so with or have in the past as you seek His forgiveness for such.
4. I will remove things that remind me of the offence
Why keep around things that only awaken the pain and horror that feed the “whys?” Let them go as a first step to freeing the memories!
Have you removed everything from your possession that is a reminder of the abuse? If so, what were they and if not what do you need to?
Focus on the cross, Christ’s suffering that led to it as well as that endured upon it. See the areas of your abuse that He also bore that you may truly know He understands like no other – as such can and will heal your sorrow and pain. List them here then release all of them to Him.
My Lord, my Savior, my everything. Show me anew how very special I am to You. Open my eyes to all You endured for me because of that love. One I don’t deserve yet You so freely gave and give. I desire to be all You would make of me. I yearn to be filled of Your Spirit; an indwelling that grows me and makes me new. Fill me with Your love, an agape love unto forgiveness. As you forgave me, saw beyond my sins, cause me to do as well towards my abusers. Even if I do so simply as an act of obedience to you I know You will honor that as you move my heart to experiencing it. I yield my abuse in all its memories and hold to Your mighty hand. I forgive that I might be forgiven.
Love, Your child
Isaiah 53:5 (New Century Version) “But He was wounded for the wrong we did; He was crushed for the evil we did. The punishment, which made us well, was given to Him, and we are healed because of His wounds.”
Click on FORGIVENESS song link at Blogroll on right
Kevin Lavar – A Heart That Forgives