Having looked at some ways that we, the church, have failed, through silence, neglect and denial, in regards to sexual abuse, and through harsh judgement without offering to ‘enter in’ when people struggle with sexual sin, it’s now time to look at the ‘taking ownership of our future’ side of things.
If there is one thing that will cripple a victim of sexual abuse more than anything, it is the desire to remain a victim, and unwillingness to take ownership for life and healing going forward, as adults. To leave no room for misunderstanding, it is ownership for life and healing, NOT ownership for the abuse that was done against the victim. Big difference there.
To stay in a place of anger, directed at the perpetrator, rather than at abuse in general, is to keep yourself in emotional bondage to that person. It sucks the life out of you and steals the quality of life you could have.
The key to personal freedom, is to forgive the perpetrator. It is never to say what they did is okay, or it’s not that big a deal. No. It’s a big deal. Forgiveness is, in part, acknowledging the wrong that was done and acknowledging just how wrong it was. To forgive the extent of the wrong, we must admit the extent of the harm done.
Forgiveness is not a feeling, it is a choice. Matthew 18:21-35 makes it quite clear that forgiveness is a command. It something you choose, regardless of feelings. You declare the forgiveness even while everything in you wants to make the person pay for their wrong. In other words, you take authority over your feelings so that God’s work and His will can be accomplished, and you can live a full and meaningful life.
Give the wrong that was committed against you, along with the perpetrator’s accountability for that wrong, to Jesus, and ask Him to take care of it. And then let it go. Each time the feelings return, remind the enemy that you have forgiven, it’s not yours to carry, not yours to fight.
It all seems terribly unfair, and it is, but fighting for ‘fairness’ will force you to sacrifice freedom. Freedom comes with releasing wrongs.
When you release the fight against the person who wronged you, you are free to see the bigger picture. Suddenly you realize it’s not about you, it’s about a world of hurting people, of countless victims trying to find their way. All the while the abuse continues, virtually unchecked, and you are now in a position to make a difference.
It is an incredible mastermind the enemy has going: Blind victims to the bigger picture and keep them wrapped in their small world of big pain. Render them helpless. Blind the church to the plight of children and the evil among believers. Keep them focused on image so the church becomes his most powerful territory in the area of abuse. And give society the voice on sexuality in general.
I challenge you, if you have been abused, to find freedom through forgiveness. If you forgive, and find the freedom to live a full life, then Satan has not won. His plan is intercepted and you have the more power to be effective in God’s Kingdom.
God’s cry is for us. He rages against injustice against children. He is God. He is Holy. He is just. But He gave us free will, free choice and the end result is that the choices of evil men and women have devastating impact on the lives of others. Just as He does not force us into relationship, He forces no one to do good. In this world we suffer at the hands of the evil.
The best you can do is let God heal you and then take a stand against the evil and be the voice of hope and truth in the world. You may be rejected. Rarely is the prophet–one who speaks truth, exposes (has moral insight), and proclaims the will of God–well received. You may be hated, but God is on your side. There is redemption for what you have been through, if you allow God into that pain.
2 Samuel 22:2-4
New King James Version (NKJV)
2 …“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
3 The God of my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation,
My stronghold and my refuge;
My Savior, You save me from violence.
4 I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies
….To Be Continued….
© Trudy Metzger 2012
Return to 1st post in Sexual Abuse Series
I was discussing forgiveness with someone today. When I try to describe it, I say, ‘ It is like going to my own funeral” . Unless we feel the pain of death to self , we cannot experience the fulness of LIFE in Christ. Thank you, God , for the gift of forgiveness, and freedom to KNOW You in fullness of JOY. Thanks Trudy, for the encouragement.
‘(Forgiveness) is like going to my own funeral’… Interesting concept, and true. Forgiveness is one of the most selfless acts, if not the most selfless. Thanks Regina!
I LOVE how you describe forgiveness & totally agree with the need to choose to do it! Wonderfully written!