This may be a hard chapter for some and for very good reasons. Yet is is the most important chapter for the same people it is hard for who are dealing the the hurts of others that were intentional. Physical, sexual or emotional abuse that happened at the hands of someone who should have been trustworthy. Betrayal or adultery by someone who vowed a lifetime together with you but broke the vow and your heart too. This could mean for some dealing with someone who lied about you, hurt your career, broke a relationship, took credit for something you did. The list of things that could make this chapter hard for some goes on and on but they all share one of two common elements, the offender never owned up to what they did, or they owned up to what they did but the damage was done and seemingly irreversible.
It has been said; Unforgiveness is like drinking poison yourself and hoping the other person would die. My desire is not to heap guilt on your heads for not forgiving someone who did something to you so heinous or harmful it changed the course of your life. My goal is exactly the opposite, that you find the freedom to forgive and by that, experience the freedom that comes from forgiving the undeserving. Our chapter heading doesn’t mean you are free from forgiving others, it means you can find freedom through forgiving others. Now stick with me you who are struggling already!
The first thing to recognize is that forgiveness is NOT acting like something never happened. Forgiveness is not even wiping away the memories of what had happened. Forgiveness means; to pardon. It neither denies the fact that a wrong was committed nor the fact that punishment was in order. It admits both, yet offers pardon. I know there are some reading this book who have been hurt by and suffer from the anguish and aftermath of sexual abuse. I know some of you have had pains inflicted on you that no deserves to have happen to them, physical abuse and violence or parental abandonment. I know that some may harbor resentment toward a parent who didn’t defend them or stand up for them or sided with the abuser and not with you, the victim. Some of you are reading this and dealing with the reality that drugs or booze were more important to your parent than you and no matter how you begged and pleaded for them to stop, all you got were excuses for why they couldn’t stop but wanted to. These are grievous wrongs that must never be minimized!
I also know that there are some reading this who are never going to get what they wanted from their abuser or betrayer, a confession or an apology and sadly, that leaves the victim of abuse, abandonment or betrayal on their own to work their way through what could at least be relieved by the either the abusers exposure or apology. I also know that never getting what you want from your abuser doesn’t mean it is unavailable, you just have to get it from another source. This is the topic of this chapter and again, this chapter is about you, helping you, healing you, giving hope to you. Is it possible for you to Dance with the Scars of sexual, physical or emotional abuse. Yes! It might be a slow dance and not a break dance, but you can move forward and Dance with the Scars. How?
The first step in Dancing with the Scars of abuse is this; Accept that what happened can never be made right. It is natural for us to want justice and acknowledgement that we have been greatly wronged. It is a sad reality that most of the time victims of life altering incidents rarely have their sense of justice satisfied for various reasons. Death of the abusive person, general life circumstances such as distance or loss of contact, an unknown rapist of the continued indifference of your abuser to your pain and suffering. Most often, however, justice is denied because of denial of the perpetrator which leaves the victim to deal with the aftermath without any sense of justice being satisfied. Unfair? Yes it is! But it’s true. We could use the starting line analogy in every chapter including and maybe even especially in this one. When a loved one dies there is a finality to it that one becomes accustomed to living with. There are other circumstance related traumas in life that when circumstances change so do you. A divorcee who finds love and remarries has put some distance between themselves and a painful past, the abandoned child who finds a faithful spouse to enjoy life with has created some distance between themselves and a painful past. The sexually physically abused however do not have that same possibility of relief from the pain, at least in that manner, and require a more supernatural work that practical tools cannot helot bring healing. This is what forgiveness is, in this sense, it is supernatural and it is for your benefit. What hurt you cannot be reconciled or repaired. It happened, it hurt, it’s permanent. I want to say this also, God can heal any and all symptoms of abuse, the depression and other repercussions of such trauma, but even then, the memory, the scar, remains.
Excerpt from “Dancing With the Scars” now available on Amazon.