Finding Forgiveness – Part Three
Note: This blog is an excerpt from my book, Beyond Bound and Broken. Find part one here or part two here of this three part blog series.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mahatma Gandhi
Where was God when I was suffering? Where was God when my dad told me his only regret was “not starting sooner” so he could have watched my breasts develop? Where was God when I hated my dad for taking away my privacy? Where was God when I found myself so ashamed of what dad was doing with me that I begged him not to tell my mother? Where was God when I was being raped while my father watched and then took his turn? Where was God when I was tied up and beaten with a riding crop until I was black and blue? Where was God when my body betrayed me, and brought me shame, by responding when I didn’t want it to? Where was God when I cried out in despair and wanted to simply give up living?
We need to forgive ourselves. We need to forgive others. And, we need to forgive God. Not for His sake, but for ours.
Playing the victim role allows us to hold on to anger and blame someone or something else for what happened to us. Norman Vincent Peale said, “Many people suffer poor health not because of what they eat but from what is eating them. If you are harboring any ill will or resentment or grudges, cast them out. Get rid of them without delay. They do not hurt anybody else. They do no harm to the person against whom you hold these feelings, but every day and every night of your life they are eating at you.”
Sometimes, we suffer consequences from the decisions of someone else. Sometimes, we suffer from the consequences of our own mistakes and decisions. Sometimes, terrible things happen, even to those who don’t deserve it.
I love the story of Job in the Bible. Whenever I start feeling sorry for myself, I remember Job and how he suffered because Satan wanted to test him. Job lost almost everything. He lost his home, his children, and his lands. He suffered from boils all over his entire body. His friends, and even his wife, told him to curse God. But, he would not. Job knew God is the source for good, and not evil. Job questioned God, but then he repented, and God restored him in the end.
It’s natural to have doubts or to want to question God. We are human, and we all make mistakes. Remember though, the bigger the battle, the greater the victory when we overcome.
God doesn’t cause the pain in our lives. God didn’t cause my dad to do what he did, or my mom to stand by him. God gives us the freedom to choose for ourselves. Satan tempts us to make the wrong choices. We live on earth with pain, suffering, and sin. Bad things will happen to good people. I had to learn to let go of my anger and stop blaming God for my situation. I had to learn sometimes we pray for a miracle, and the answer is no.
Today, I still pray for miracles, but I also pray for peace with God’s answer.