Faith and Forgiveness
Isaiah 43:18-19, “Forget what happened long ago! Don’t think about the past. I am creating something new. There it is! Do you see it? I have put roads in deserts, in thirsty lands.”
I was reading some devotions today and I kept hearing Faith and Forgiveness and what that looks like for me in my life. I think of my past and being raped at the time I didn’t have faith and forgiveness wasn’t something in my heart for anyone including myself. The enemy clouded my mind with hatred, anger, thoughts of revenge, but most of all hatred and a fear of those men who had raped me. These thoughts festered and grew so big in my mind that it changed me. I became angry at the world and I was going to make every man pay for what those guys did to me. I became a miserable person deep down, then those thoughts turned inward at me. I began to hate myself and believed I was unworthy of anything good in my life. I became determined to ruin any good friendship that came into my life because I didn’t deserve it. My heart was so filled with anger that it clouded my compassionate, loving heart that God gave me. I look back and remember the first time I felt compassion for one of those boys. One of the guys was a big drinker and I was at a party and I looked over at him and just watched him throw back the booze. The blank stare on my face and the anger I was feeling slowly changed to compassion and sadness. All of a sudden I saw a lost man, or should I say a scared boy running from something. I knew that I was drinking to forget but he was drinking to forget something too. Was he drinking because he had a bad home life? Was he drinking because he felt bad about having sex with me while I was passed out and couldn’t face me? Was the pressure of college weighing down on him and he turned to alcohol to deal? I felt compassion and wanted to help him, save him from himself and potentially save any girl in the future from what had happened to me. I remember saying something to him about his drinking. I said something to the effect that alcohol wasn’t the answer and whatever it was he was running away from wasn’t going to get better by drowning it. Whoa! Where did that come from? There I was a faithless unforgiving and broken 17 yr old and God was speaking for me and changed my heart towards this boy. Over the next couple of months I was distant friends with him. When I say distant friends I mean I would talk to him on the phone and made sure if I was ever hanging out with him it was never just one on one. Then one day I went to his house for dinner, and his mom opened up to me about her concerns for her son and his drinking. I told her that I was encouraging him to stop drinking and she said that he needed more friends like me. Little did she know I didn’t really see myself as his friend, and I cringed at the thought of sitting next to him and even being associated with him. At the time I felt that I was saving him from himself and I was helping prevent another girl to be taken advantage of. I remember that night he tried to kiss me and kept trying to get me alone in his room and all of a sudden my desire to help him dissipated and those feelings of hatred and anger came flooding back. In one moment, my compassion turned to disgust and I got out of that situation as fast as I could, I kept running never looking back! I avoided him after that day and cut him off not caring if he went back to drinking. I had thoughts of him drinking himself to death and smiling to myself in satisfaction that, that could be a possibility. Then I went right back to partying and drinking more just to forget him and drink away any thoughts I had about him. Those vengeful thoughts consumed me for years. Looking back now those thoughts and those feelings of hatred and anger only affected me. They ate me apart, hardened my heart and tore me away from who God made me to be.
I share this story because God has been teaching me how to forgive over these past couple of years in my healing process. When we don’t forgive, it only affects the person who is holding on. I had a brief moment of compassion for that boy then but because I hadn't forgiven him yet my anger prevailed over the compassion God gave me. You are probably asking yourself how she can forgive these guys that stripped away her innocence and violated her in such a horrible way? I will tell you my secret, my faith in God!! He spoke to me one day through a daily devotion. This woman shared a story about how she was sexually abused as a child by a neighbor and it happened over and over again. She explains how she felt stained and ruined and how her true freedom didn’t come until she forgave her attacker. She said, “I hate what happened to me but I forgive him.” That was so powerful for me, I hate what those guys did to me but I must forgive them!! God told me that my feelings that I was having of hating the act of being raped was ok and I am normal. God was validating my feelings and helping me to see what I actually hated and it was the actual “acts” that I hated the most. I know that was God’s way of telling me He was there and He understands what I have been through I felt God’s love and comfort that day. He also told me that He wanted me to forgive the people that did it. Through my faith I am able to forgive those boys, God ripped out those revengeful thoughts because they were tearing at my soul and taking my eyes off of God’s love for me. God wants me to take comfort in knowing that He honors me through my forgiveness for them and that it’s up to Him to deal with them. Today I can tell you that I forgive them I even said it out loud today as I was in prayer. I said, “I forgive you _______.” I said each of their names out loud and tears of joy and release came to my eyes! God is smiling with me and rejoicing with me in my freedom through my act of forgiveness and complete faith in Him. There is healing in forgiveness and the only way that I am able to say this to you today that I forgive is because of my faith in God. He has given me His strength, His grace, His compassionate and loving heart. He has given me the courage to FORGIVE! God released me from the chains of bitterness that used to consume me. Freedom through God is a beautiful thing!!!!
Isaiah 43:18-19, “Forget what happened long ago! Don’t think about the past. I am creating something new. There it is! Do you see it? I have put roads in deserts, in thirsty lands.” This verse is so freeing and so relevant to my walk with God today. He is telling me to put the past behind me and look at the redemption He has for me in my life today! I get to share my experiences with all of you and hope that through these stories you hear God’s voice. I am going to quote my husband, “God brings you to it to bring you through it!” That is what this verse is to me in my life, as I continue to put the past behind me there is a bright future that God has for me. Out of my darkness, lack of faith and bitterness he changed my heart that is now full of faith, forgiveness and I can live in the LIGHT!