The Christian F Word

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Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does change the future.


Forgiveness is a word that gets thrown around churches and it has the capacity to either condemn or empower. Secular psychology has decided forgiveness is a dirty word; it represents giving away your power to your abuser. Psychologists recommend not forgiving your abuser and instead hold onto the fact that what they did was wrong and is therefore unforgivable.   Some Christian organisations say there are different levels of forgiveness; some sins are intentional and again are unforgivable. Then there is the opposite side of the spectrum were some Christians believe forgiveness is the first thing you must do in order to be set free; prayer ministers require you to forgive on the spot, seconds after remembering a new memory of abuse.

I have deliberately not spoken about forgiveness in my blog or on my social media because I feel it is a personal issue between the victim and God. I do not believe it is my right to tell someone they need to forgive if it’s not something God has asked them to do yet.

Why do Christians believe they can do Christianity better than God?

The first thing Christians talked to me about after my memories re surfaced was forgiveness and reconciliation. The first thing God spoke to me about was how deeply sorry He was that this happened to me. God comforted me, wept with me, and loved on me. In fact God has never spoken to me about forgiving my perpetrators; instead He has taken me on a journey of healing the hurt attached to those perpetrators and the natural response I have had is to forgive them and let go of their offences. First the process of healing must take place to allow our response of forgiveness. This process can be long or short, actually the time is not the issue to God; God cares about your freedom and His time is not measured by the world’s time. Instead God wants us to go on a process with an open heart to God’s plan for healing our hurt, a process that is a partnership with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Is forgiveness necessary?

The short answer is yes! Forgiveness is Gods divine design for His people to live in freedom of pain inflicted on us. Trauma is involuntary; you did nothing to deserve the trauma you have suffered in your life. The problem is trauma creates a trauma bond between the victim and the abuser. This bond is broken through first acknowledgement and then forgiveness. Dr Caroline Leaf says we grow in our trauma bond when we do not forgive. I believe we grow in our shame when we choose not to forgive our abuser. I have had an enormous amount of shame lifted from me after removing my judgement from my perpetrators and forgiving them. But I needed to be ready to do this. I needed to first grieve; be in shock, be angry, be sad, and be ok with not being ok.

What forgiveness is not?

It’s not letting your abuser continue their behaviour; it’s not a justification for their behaviour. It does not mean what they did was ok. It does not mean you must restore your relationship with them and not hold them accountable for their actions. It does not mean you cannot prosecute your offender.  It means you turn them over to God’s judgement. Once you have let go, you leave room for God’s wrath and judgement (Romans 12:19). It’s not our job to judge the evil doers, it’s God’s, He is the judge over all creation, He is the King. Forgiveness is letting the debt go, not seeking revenge, and surrendering the offence to God.

My hope is that you hear my heart on this subject of forgiveness; I want every survivor to live in freedom, freedom from their abuser, and freedom from the shame that comes with sexual assault. It requires trust in God and His process of healing; a knowing that He always comes from a place of love and protection for us, as our loving Papa.

Part two of The Christian F Word will address how we forgive.

Much Love,

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