Overcoming abuse of any kind, whether you are male or female, old or young, can be a struggle. Abuse has no ethnic preference and the ramifications thereof affects both the saved and unsaved, but when do we learn to forgive?
I know a woman – beautiful lady, and her three adult children. Each of them endured abuse at some level throughout their childhood while in their mother’s care. During her second marriage, the daughter – from preschool to second grade, was molested on almost a daily basis and both she and her little brother were given pot by their stepfather. Even worse, the youngest son, only a toddler and hardly out of pampers was brutally beaten on more than one occasion, but just enough so that there were no broken bones. Sadly, this woman was being beaten by her husband as well. Her eldest, the daughter, witnessed at the age of seven, a shotgun being held to her mothers neck, while her husband threatened to pull the trigger. The third marriage only added insult to injury, as Her daughter continued to be molested everyday and raped on more than one occasion by the pedophile she called her husband.
I’ve known this woman and her story for quite some time now. Over the years she and her daughter have gone through many trials as a result of the abuse, moreover, when her daughter told her the truth, even though she saw proof, she denied it, and stayed in the marriage.
For many years their relationship suffered as a result, but today her daughter is saved, has a relationship with Christ, is a “for real” Christian- who not only professes Him in name, but deed. This woman’s daughter has forgiven her. Likewise, so have her sons. However, the purpose of this story is to talk about forgiving yourself.
My friend is older than me, but I do have a son. For that reason, I have finally come to recognize why it has been so hard for her to forgive her self. Over the years, I’ve tried to make her see how blessed she is that all of her children love her, none of them are in jail or a mental institution, and all are very upwardly mobile young men and woman, who would be at her side at a moments notice were anything to happen to her. I’ve witness them shower her with gifts and have had conversations with each of them about the endless love they all have for her.
Unfortunately, all the love her children have for her isn’t enough to make the pain and torment of the past go away. In fact, it only compounds the guilt she feels. You see, every time she opens a gift from one of her children, she thinks, “Wow, this is beautiful. I don’t deserve this because…” Every time her children come home to visit, she thinks, “Wow, my children love me, I don’t deserve this.” As a result, Satan takes every opportunity to remind her of what “she let happen” and how “she doesn’t deserve love” and how “she has no right to forgive her self”. So instead of being able to truly share happiness with her whole, healed, and delivered daughter and sons that love her dearly, the guilt and shame ensues. My friend not only allows the past to haunt her, but whenever there’s a problem with any of her grown children in the present, she blames her self.
If I simply wanted to discuss abuse and overcoming it, I could go on forever. We have all experienced some form of abuse or another, but this article is for those who simply can’t forgive themselves for the unthinkable.
Millions of people reading this would say to hell with that lady, she and both those men belong under the jail. But they are not, the mistakes have been made and while I believe there is still counseling needed in some areas, the kids are doing great. What concerns me is their mother. Her daughter made a comment a while ago, that while her mother wasn’t the best, the one thing she gave her was a work ethic. Likewise, her brothers agreed. Apparently, everything that happened to them, happened while their mother was working tooth and nail, trying to take care of them, as well as the men she married. That statement spoke volumes to me about this woman and how low her self-esteem had to be in order to allow something of this magnitude to happen not only in the life of her children, but her own.
While I don’t have all the answers to this dilemma, I do know that unforgiveness keeps you bound. This woman has endured so much. She was pregnant and married for the first time at fifteen years old; suffered abuse at the hands of men; worked her fingers to the bone to take care of her kids; and almost lost her daughter to suicide. Finally, she’s over fifty, married to a wonderful man who loves her for the first time, someone her children respects and adores; has several grand kids, and three kids that love her dearly.
This lady’s ex-husbands left her wounded long ago, yet she still hasn’t healed because she has continued to keep her wounds covered by anger, bitterness and most of all, unforgiveness toward her self.
Without forgiveness, you will not see God (Mathew 6:15, Mark 11:25&26). You can claim Him all day long, but you will not enter the gates of heaven. The day Jesus Christ died for us, every sin we committed was covered under His blood and the day you confess Him as Lord and savior of your life, all is forgiven because salvation has come (Romans 10:9&10). It’s because of His blood, and only by His blood that we have a right to come before God in prayer blameless. It’s because of His blood that those of us who know, serve and love him get into heaven (Hebrews 10:10). God loves us (1John 4:9). He is not sitting in heaven counting our sins because He knew from the foundation of the world, what mistakes we would make, whether or not our hearts are truly sorrowful for what we’ve done. And more importantly, He searches the inward parts of man, that which no one else sees. He is not a man. He doesn’t see us as we see ourselves, but through the blood of Jesus. Neither does God condemn, but He sent His spirit to bring conviction so that we might have a heart to change based on His love for us.
Forgiveness is not easy, but we have to remember, that in and of ourselves we can do nothing, but in Him we can do all things (Philippians 4:13)! God knows how much you’re hurting and sees how deep this wound is. Accept His forgiveness. Don’t place Him on your level. His ways are higher than our ways, thoughts higher than our thoughts. Give it to Him and allow Him to wash you, cleanse you and make you whole. And let me be the one to say, YOU DESERVE IT! YOU DO DESERVE IT! YOU’VE BEEN MADE RIGHTEOUS BY JESUS, THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN TO TAKE AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD!
“…Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven (Luke 6:37).”
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