Finding Forgiveness for the Abuser
As I attempt to write a book for publishing, I am keenly aware that though I write about past wrongs that were heaped upon my children and me, I must still step carefully within my heart.
I write to raise awareness of the domestic abuse that is rampant in Christian marriage and families. It’s happening right under our noses in churches across the world, and either we don’t want to see it, or we aren’t aware of it. One in four women report being in an abusive relationship. Look around your church and think about that statistic. It’s eye opening, to say the least. I share my story so that women and children in these abusive situations will find a place to connect and find healing, and to know they are not alone in their suffering. I am trying to right wrongs. I want to implement change through the power of Jesus.
But I must walk redemptively through it all. I must continue to pronounce forgiveness upon my abuser, and on all who are caught up in this evil. There is no liberty outside of forgiveness, and if I leave the realm of the forgiving spirit of Jesus, I remain a victim. And I will not be a victim any longer. Forgiveness is not about the perpetrator of the injustice, it’s about me. It doesn’t require a response or even a word of repentance from my abuser. It just requires my submission. Satan cannot have me, or my heart. Jesus already beat him to me. He already crushed the bitterness and resentment a long time ago.
How do I know this? Because I have prayed a blessing upon my abuser-even in the face of what he did to my sons and to me. I couldn’t do that for a while. I would try to pray it, but told God I would be back later with that prayer. But I would never settle until I had done it. Try praying a blessing upon someone who has hurt you. Believe me, it is the ultimate test of forgiveness to view a transgressor through the eyes of Jesus–the way God views me. I can do no less than that.
Yes, I still become angry from time to time. But those moments are becoming less and less frequent. My anger burns against the injustice and the scheme of the enemy to destroy the family unit. But being angry and living in unforgiveness are two different things. The Bible tells me to be angry and not sin. God doesn’t expect us to be complacent about things that break his heart. He just expects me to channel that emotion through Him and through love and forgiveness. And I know I have done that. I wish no ill–will or evil upon the perpetrator. I only want his best.
And as for what I know God has called me to do: He is giving me strength and blessings in following it. This road I travel is full of new surprises every day, and the blessings far outweigh the responsibility. But I don’t take it lightly. I just share it with my Savior who knows it all. And some day, perhaps we will see change within the church for which Jesus died–when the chains of injustice break and the strongholds fall. And when that day comes, no one will rejoice more than me.