Abuse comes in many forms. For me, it was verbal, mental, and emotional.
The hateful words spoken to me as a child remained with me well into my forties. No matter how hard I tried, those memories refused to go away. They played over and over in my mind like a stuck needle on an old 78 RPM. For years, I didn’t realize those memories were hurting me more than the actual events.
Victims of any type of abuse—especially physical and sexual—need a way to move forward to escape the pain of the past and silence those taunting voices. This begins with forgiving the offender and the ones who should have protected us from abuse. Refusing to forgive does not affect the offender; it only causes more pain for the one who has suffered abuse, which leads to anger, resentment, guilt, condemnation, self-pity, and self-doubt. Not only does this keep us bound in a prison of unforgiveness, it also means the offender still controls us—while they go merrily along their way.
When we’ve been badly hurt, doing what’s right is not always easy. But God says in order to be forgiven, we must forgive. When we extend the same mercy and grace to others that God extends to us, we’re not justifying the offender’s behavior or letting them off the hook. We’re actually letting ourselves off the hook. Forgiveness benefits us—not the ones who have hurt us.
If you’re a victim of any type of abuse and carry scars from the pain of your past, forgive your offender/s. Once you do, their power over you is broken. Their voice is silenced. And don’t be afraid or ashamed to talk to a trusted friend or counselor. You are not alone. Many have walked in your shoes, and they understand. God never meant for us to deal with painful situations and circumstances alone. He will not only come to our rescue and heal the wounds in our shattered hearts, He will restore our joy and fill us with peace. He’s simply waiting for us to ask.
Don’t wait to forgive. Do it today.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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