i had no idea how to answer that question when it was asked to me recently. it’s funny how i’ve become so immersed in the process of healing and recovering and obeying God that i assume what i’ve learned is elementary to everyone.
hearing that question stopped me in my tracks. it brought me back. back to nights when i wrote words like this:
trying to wash it all the way with all these tears/but the shame inside just won’t disappear
i lie awake here tonight/fighting back the shadows of a past i would sooner forget
hold me, Jesus, hold me close tonight
because come daylight, all this hurt inside will have no place to hide
i had to inventory all those painful, shameful memories of the abuse. and for some reason, the memories were easiest to recollect in the night. in the dark, where they were always hiding.
it was hard having to do this, but i was equipped with the knowledge that i wasn’t doing it alone. that i needed to pull it out of hiding (with Christ holding me) and bring it to the light of day so we could watch it dissolve.
and with each painful memory came the command to forgive. i can’t answer the “how”… i just did. i did because He told me to. beyond all that, i couldn’t and wouldn’t have done it. it was in His hands now. and as i look back, i understand. i see how it freed me, and the bigger picture of Who He is.
for every time the memories won’t go away/for every time I want to curl up and hide
for when I think the hurt is here to stay/Lord, give me the strength to forgive again
when both my cheeks are sore
when i don’t think i can turn my head anymore
give me the strength, Lord…
to forgive/to forgive once again
i’m broken and crushed/oh God, the pain is too much
but to give is to receive/again and again, let forgiveness be expected of me
for every time the lash fell on His back/for every time they lifted their hands
even as He prayed for His cup to pass/Jesus had the strength to forgive once again
when He hung there, broken and torn/when the sins of the world made it too hard to breathe anymore
He had the strength to hang on just a little more
He forgives/He forgives again and again
Christ was broken and crushed/oh God, my pain’s not enough
You gave so i could receive/again and again, let forgiveness be expected of me
there is freedom in forgiveness. whether the one who has hurt us accepts it or not doesn’t really matter. forgiveness releases us from the bondage of bitterness and resentment and allows us the chance to heal. how they choose to respond is their own affair. my abusers chose to deny everything, and that’s fine with me. i don’t hate them, i don’t wish evil upon them. i simply determined nothing will come between me and my relationship with Christ.
“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”(Colossians 3:13)
Christ is our ultimate example in this.
who do you need to forgive?