The Matter of Forgiving

Though forgiving may be a very difficult thing to do, we must forgive just the same.  If we do not forgive, God will not forgive us as recorded in the Scriptures.  I hope as you read my testimony that you would know God can do the same for you.  If you are having a problem forgiving someone who has hurt you deeply, just know that God looks for the willing heart and He’ll take care of the rest.  To God be the glory.

 

Someone stated, “No murder, rapes and abortions do not occur against God’s will.”

I am going to share a little about myself, and what I share, I hope it encourages those who may have gone through similar circumstances.

As a young child, going into my teen years, I was betrayed and humiliated over a period of time by a Catholic priest and a relative.  Yes, I’m talking about sexual abuse.  It affects a person emotionally, physically, relationally and spiritually.

Those who have been abused know what it means to suffer silently, and how shame and guilt become your constant companion.  It was years before I opened up to someone and told of my past.  It was two years before that that I tried to commit suicide on two different occasions because the pain was so unbearable.  Then I had become a Christian.  It was a time of great joy for a couple of years, that is, until it was drilled in my head that God is in control of everything and what happened to me was no mistake.  I was finding this hard to reconcile and started dwelling on my past again.  And once again it brought me through great depression.  I used to have a saying and that was, “I have to climb up just to reach bottom.”  The thing was, I could never reach the bottom.  I could not get out of this depression.  The past haunted me once again, because I found out that God was ultimately responsible for what happened to me!!

Again suicide went through my mind because the pain was once again unbearable, but I knew in my heart this was wrong.  It was not an option.  I continued to be depressed and my anger towards God grew.  It wasn’t until one day a friend suggested I see this certain Christian sister who happened to be a counselor.  She encouraged me to talk with her.  It took everything for me to visit this sister, because if there is one thing I didn’t want to do, it was to discuss what happened to me, but I knew this is why I was here.  My feet seemed to drag and I felt as if I were outside my body.  I was just numb at this point.

She got me to open up and I explained to her my past, but my question is what I REALLY wanted answered.  After I finished I looked at her, sobbing like an idiot,  and asked, “WHY DID GOD ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN TO ME?”  I do believe this was my biggest problem at that point.  She looked at me for a moment and said, “Sandy, God did not allow this to happen to you, what I mean is,” and I will never forget what she said next, “God gave every person a free will.  Man chose to do that to you.  Don’t you think God was grieving everytime He saw you being abused?  Don’t you think He was crying when you were crying – that He was hurting because you were hurting?”   If I were sobbing before, I was uncontrollable now.  My heart sank to the floor because I had accused God unfairly.  I was begging His forgiveness.

I don’t remember anything after that, but I will tell you this much – it was a great relief.  I realized at that moment that God wishes no harm on His children, and it grieves and angers Him to see innocent children suffer at the hands of evil men. It was a relief to know that God gave man a free will and He was not responsible for their evil acts, and knowing that God loved me all this time.

Now that I had that dealt with, then came the problem of forgiving my abusers.  They were guilty of criminal acts, and forgiving them seemed that it would only reduce the significance of their crime, because in my mind they should be punished.  So now I was harboring unforgiveness towards my abusers and God was not going to let me get away with this.

It so happened that one night, in my living room alone, I was reading my Bible.  I came to the part where Jesus talked about how we must forgive others from our heart or we won’t be forgiven.  I didn’t want that to happen – not be forgiven by God our Father.  I struggled very hard that night with those verses.  I tossed and turned and finally went to sleep.  The next morning I got ready for work, but the thoughts and pain about my past did not go away, neither did the verses I read the night before.  I knew what I had to do, but just wasn’t sure how to do it.  As I was walking to work I said this short prayer, “Lord, I know what I read last night and you know I don’t feel  like forgiving these people, but you said I must and I know that’s what I have to do.  So I forgive them by faith, please supply the emotions.”  Within a few minutes I can’t begin to tell you about the weight that came off my shoulders.  It was the difference between night and day!  God eliminated the pain from my past.  Oh yes, there were times when the enemy would try to bring it back, but this time no pain with the memory, and I would say, “Yes, but they are forgiven.”  It only took a couple of times and have never been bothered since!

Today people would call me a “survivor.”  I wouldn’t call myself that, but rather an “overcomer!”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Rom. 12:21

It is good to forgive!

More later….

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