Dear Suzie, you say that forgiveness is the foundation of healing, but what if the person doesn’t deserve forgiveness?
I can’t forgive someone who isn’t sorry and who continues to hurt people. I want to heal, but if forgiving is part of that, then I don’t know what to do.
If someone deserved forgiveness, then it wouldn’t be forgiveness.
The abuse that you suffered shouldn’t have happened.
You deserved to be nurtured and loved and protected.
But if you are still struggling with anger, rage, bitterness, or other unhealthy emotion or response years later then the abuse continues, even if the offender is nowhere around.
You are still responding to the abuse and that creates a mess inside.
It affects your current relationships because it’s hard to push down anger and bitterness without them splashing out somewhere else.
So, what do you do?
Change what you can. Move past what you cannot.
I don’t have the power to undo anything that took place in the past.
I can’t change another person.
But I can change me and my perspective and that affects my path in life.
It also affects those I love who are innocent of wrongdoing, but who pay the price for someone else’s sin.
Be open to forgiving.
That’s your first big step. It’s not trying to figure it all out. It’s simply saying, “I’m tired of feeling stuck.”
This was my prayer so many years ago:
God, this is bigger than me, and I need your help. It doesn’t seem possible, but I’m placing it in your hands. Work in my heart and life so that these emotions and feelings will be made whole.
Something broke that day. Like the first chip in a granite wall, it started the process.
If someone is still abusive or could harm you or your children, then the process starts in you and that might be at a distance. You are not responsible to fix another person. You aren’t big enough.
But don’t let their decision to remain the same keep you from healing.
It takes time.
That granite wall may come tumbling down immediately, but for most of us it takes time and that’s okay. Layer by layer, it’s a merciful exquisite process as God heals our hearts.
I’m not the same person I was in my teens, or my twenties, and I hope that I’ll look back one day and see additional growth in every decade.
Celebrate along the way
Rather than looking at far how you have to go, celebrate how far you’ve come to date.
That might be that you listened to a tele-seminar and it cracked open your heart just big enough to let hope slip in.
That’s worth celebrating!
It might be that you went a whole day (or hour) without getting tangled up in unhealthy thoughts.
It might be that you suddenly realize that you’re whole. Joy-filled. A good mom. A loving friend. A woman open to all the possibilities that God has for you.
And you arrived at that place one small step at a time.
I’m so glad you came to this site today. If I can pray with you, please share that. I will pray for each of you, and my prayer team (chosen because of the beautiful, faith-filled lives they live) will quietly slip in and pray with you as well.
Today I’ll choose one of you to win an autographed copy of either The Mended Heart: God’s Healing for Your Broken Places
Just leave a comment below to enter.
Want a sneak peek? Here’s a couple of links to a free chapter.