Whispersfrommyheart's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness

Courtesy of The Kelly File

Courtesy of The Kelly File

Jessa Seewald and Jill Dillard, two of the victim sisters of Josh Duggar, broke their silence on The Kelly File Friday night. I watched, intently, to see how they spoke about their abuse, and how they reacted to personal questions regarding said abuse. And, do you know what I saw?

Grace.

Forgiveness.

Mercy.

I saw tears, too, but not where I expected them.

I expected the girls to break down when they were asked about what their brother did. I expected them to react like I did — like so many of us do when we recount our abuse — with tears, anger, and yes, some bitterness that Josh Duggar stole something precious from them — their innocence.

But, they didn’t.

Their body language was relaxed. They looked at ease through most of the interview. They smiled, laughed, and comfortably spoke about what took place in their home. It wasn’t until the subject of the media was brought up that, at least, Jill’s body language changed. She stiffened up and began to cry as she gave her personal feelings about the release of their sealed report. Jill recalled calling her husband on that day, over two weeks ago, when In Touch Magazine posted the police report for all the world to see.

“We’re victims,” Jill Duggar Dillard exclaimed. “How can they do that to us?”

Jill continued to fight back her emotions as she explained how they felt they were being re-victimized “a thousand times worse” than the original offense. She, and sister Jessa, both said multiple times, “We had already dealt with it, we moved on. Josh confessed to us, we forgave him; we moved on.”

So, why can’t America let it go?

Is it because we are disgusted with this kind of “sin”? As well we should be. As one who has endured years of childhood sexual abuse, I can say first hand that molestation is disgusting. It is vile. It is reprehensible. Repulsive. Repugnant. Vicious. Nasty. Shocking. Appalling. And, yes, contemptible. A lot of the posts I have seen over the past few weeks express those very words. Some would like nothing better than to take Josh Duggar out behind the woodshed and execute him. We have no problem understanding, or accepting, the words that express our disgust of Josh’s actions. We applaud those words. We exhort those words. But, there is another word we’ve heard that makes us just as mad as Josh Duggars actions against his sisters and baby sitter. A word that infuriates us and enrages us, and causes us to strike out in shock and disbelief that such a word could even be muttered over such a reprobate .

Forgiven.

WHAT? Forgiven? How could anyone forgive what he has done? He’s a pig. A worm. He doesn’t deserve to live. I’ve seen the words written all over the internet, newspaper sites, blog posts, Facebook statuses, Twitter feeds… they’ve all basically said the same thing. “Josh Duggar is a vile human being, and therefore must be punished in a manner that is acceptable to us.”

But, we don’t get to make that call, do we?

Josh didn’t molest us, he molested his sisters and baby sitter, and they are the only ones who get to determine whether or not he is forgiven. Period. And they chose to forgive him.

Deal with it, America.

I was very impressed by Jill and Jessa. They have given us a peek into something holy. A humble, beautiful example of Agape Love. True love that covers a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8). Along with a heart of love, they have given us a clear example of what true forgiveness looks like. A perfect example of how our LORD, Jesus Christ, treats every one of us who repent and turn from our sin to follow him.

The Duggar girls aren’t angry. The don’t exhibit signs of bitterness. They aren’t bashing their brother. Instead, their words toward him are seasoned with grace and mercy. They have said they have dealt with it, they have forgiven him, and they have moved on.

I believe them.

Is it possible, the reason we are so outraged is because we just expect the Duggar girls to feel the same way we do over our own abuses (or how we feel over a family member/friend who was abused)? And, because they don’t we think there must be something wrong with them?

I mean, who does that?

Victims forgive.

Why?

Because forgiveness doesn’t release the offender from the responsibility of his or her actions, rather, it releases the victim from the prison of emotional upheaval and life altering issues caused by the offenders actions.

The Duggar girls understand this.

They don’t need our help. No matter how much we think our two cents (even this blog post) is spot on, they don’t need our help. They’ve got it covered. And, they don’t need the internet counseling sessions. Their family dealt with Josh’s abuse. DCFS cleared the parents, and even complimented them on how they handled the situation. And, certainly, the girls don’t need our criticism for their right to forgive their brother.

These girls have suffered twice now.

It’s time to allow them the dignity to live their own lives with their own convictions.

ANGRY1
White hot.

Burning.

Seething.

I pushed my coffee cup to the side and stared out the window. My tears fell easily.

“I’m so angry,” I told my friend. “I just can’t see past the pain.”
I picked at the napkin in my hand. I could feel the simmer of my anger.

“Don’t you see how that anger is holding you back from healing?”

“I don’t know if I can let it go, Ang.”

Angie is right, I know she is. I haven’t been able to let go for years… too many years. Anger has been my motivation. If I let it go, then where would I be? How would I cope? “I’ve held on to this anger for most of my life. I don’t know how to let it go.”

Tears streamed down my face, but I didn’t care if the other patrons in the diner saw me. My pain was real and these tears validated the depth of my pain. Angie reached across the table and covered my hands with hers. Her face etched with my pain.

“I understand how deeply you were hurt, Rebecca, but keeping this anger inside is only going to eat you up inside. It will keep your heart hard, and away from God’s healing power.”

“I know.” I whimpered.

I had been a Christian since I was fourteen years old. I understood why God wanted me to release this anger into his hands. But, I couldn’t. It wasn’t fair of God to ask me to let it go. He, of all people, should understand why I am so angry! He saw the depth of depravity they drug me through. He knows what those men did. God only knows how many people saw those pictures Rick took. I was only eight years old! I deserved to be angry! Don’t I?

“You know, Rebecca,” Angie began, “God understands why you are angry. And, according to the world, you have every right to be. God isn’t mad at you because you feel anger at what those men did. He is angry too. But, your anger is not accomplishing anything. It only hurts you. God’s anger, on the other hand, will accomplish what he wants it to accomplish. He isn’t going to let them off of the hook. They still have to answer for their sin against you. God wants you to release your anger to him, so you can be free from the past. Don’t you see how your anger against those men keep you tied to them? Keeps you tied to their abuse? The longer you hold on, the less likely you are to heal.”

I hate that she is right. I can feel God’s Spirit tugging at my heart; telling me she’s right… telling me to let it go. ‘God, it’s so unfair that you’re asking me to do this!’ as if screaming in my head would change God’s mind.

“God wants to heal you, Rebecca, but you’ve got to let him do what he needs to do in you. If you won’t release your anger, he is at a stand-still. You are literally stopping him from completing his work in you… do you understand that?”

Why is she always so spot on?

“Anger is natural, but you don’t express it. You keep it bottled up inside. That’s not healthy. Not only is it hurting you spiritually, it is hurting you physically. I see some of the signs, already. **Depression. Anxiety. Those are the things I can see. But, what about what I can’t see? There are all sorts of physical ailments repressed anger can cause. You could give yourself a heart attack. A stroke. Abdominal pain. Insomnia. Headaches, and high blood pressure.

Wow. If she only knew my stomach always hurt, and sleep was next to impossible to obtain every night! Oh, wait. God knows! Is that why she keeps stabbing me with her words? God keeps exposing my wound and pouring on the salt.”

“I don’t want to see you suffer any more than you already have, Bec. It’s been a long haul, you deserve some peace.” Angie stroked my hand with her thumb. “You know I love you. I want the best for you. Think how much more God wants the best for your life. Your future. You know his plans are meant for good, right? He would never ask you to do something that would harm you. He wants you to be free from the past.”

Oh, God, help me to let it go! Help me to put this anger in your hands! Help me to be free!

“Angie,” I looked her in the eyes for the first time since we sat down. My heart pounded. Tears rolled down my face again. My breath stuck. “Pray for me…” My voice is barely a whisper. Strong emotion choked my words… “Since I gave my heart to Jesus, I told him the main thing I have always wanted to do, was to be obedient to whatever he asked of me… but I can’t do this on my own. I need help.”

“It’s okay, Rebecca.” Angie was crying too. I’m sure the other patrons wondered what was taking place in the corner booth. I wondered if they could feel the presence of God the way I could. Did they know God was meeting us at Denny’s? Could they feel a miracle taking place?

“Let’s pray now.”

Angie squeezed my hands as we bowed our heads.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

How anger affects your body, here.

For a biblical response to anger, please go here.

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Cheryl HeadShot
Award winning poet and author, Cheryl A. Thompson, has been a single mother to Trey, Charlie and Brett since October of 1989. Through the trials of her childhood, and the struggles of single-parenthood, Cheryl has learned the importance of a heart attitude toward life and God, and how that attitude impacts a person’s soul and their relationship with God. She is a 1983 graduate of Christ For the Nations, Institute, in Dallas, Texas, and a 2012 graduate of Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, Kentucky. Cheryl has been published in the FaithWriters quarterly book, FaithWriters online magazine, and a contributing writer for the Christ For the Nations—60 Years of Service coffee table book released in October of 2009. She has published articles in Heart Magazine 2012 and WHOA Women Magazine 2013. Her first book, Whispers From My Heart – Emotional and Spiritual Healing from Childhood Sexual Assault, was published in November 2009.

I know. It sounds flippant. But, really, it’s not. I really am sorry. I didn’t mean to do it, again. I didn’t mean to give in to a moment of weakness.

But, I did.

I hate when I give in to sin. It is usually followed by a sense of distance between God’s Spirit and me, and a bout of guilt that continues until I break down, confess myself to God, and repent of my sin.

That’s how it went today. Happily, in short order.

Sin is deceitful. It draws us in by constant bombardment. At times, we are able to stand firm against it, and it lessens the pull against us. However, there are those moments of weakness when we give in to that temptation. It seems so exciting, so good, so inviting, when we are being tempted. But once we have given into the sin, and completed the sin, the guilt and shame enter in. The guilt and the shame create the distance that develops between God and our self. Sin always causes us to shrink away from God. Sin and God cannot stay in the same place.

That’s how sin works.

That’s why God tells us to resist the devil and he will flee from you. – James 4:7.

I can hear you saying, “But, you don’t know how hard it is…”!
Oh, yes I do. That is why I also come bearing good news.

We are all human. While we can learn to overcome sin, we are bound to fail. God, in his mercy, has already made provision for us.

The work that Jesus did on the cross, not only provided us with salvation, but total forgiveness of sin. Total. I mean, everything we did in the past, everything we do today, and everything we do in the future. Covered. Taken care of. Blotted out.

“Are you telling me if I let loose of a string of cuss words, I’m covered? I can do whatever I want?”

I didn’t say that.

“But, that’s what it sounded like.”

No, that is not what I’m saying. Otherwise, the guilt I felt when I gave in to temptation is of no use.

When Jesus died he died ONCE and FOR ALL for ALL sin for ALL TIME, Romans 6:10, he took care of sin for ALL TIME for ALL who come to him.

“You mean, me, too?”

Yes, you, too.

However, if, once we have accepted Christ’s payment for our sin, if we continue to live in sin his sacrifice is null and void for us – See Hebrews 10:26.

A Christian who willingly sins hasn’t died to sin – Romans 6:2.
One who humbles him or herself in the sight of God allows God’s Spirit to work sin out; to conform us to the image of Christ.

As one who is overcoming the issues of Childhood Sexual Assault, falling off the sin wagon is huge. Since control is a big issue, loosing control matters. Not controlling my mouth, or my body, or my attitude, brings about huge disappointments. As soon as I give in to sin, the cycle begins: I retreat from God, and as I make that retreat, I remind myself; “You’re so stupid, you can’t do anything right.” “You are dumb.” “God hates you.” These thoughts take me even farther away from God. They increase my distance from him. Thankfully, God’s Spirit also begins his work, reminding me God’s mercy is new every morning -Lamentations 3:22 & 23. Drawing me back. Closing the gap.

You see, God knows we are going to fail.
He has already forgiven us.
Already given us the way back.
Already closing the distance between us, and him.
Already drawing us back in.

The scriptures tell us in Romans 8:39, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Our failures don’t make us unlovable to God. They won’t cause God to abandon us. He won’t run away from us. We’ll be chastised because he loves us – Hebrews 12:6. We’ll have to suffer the consequences of our choices, but God will never turn away or forsake us.

Don’t hold back.
He’s calling you to turn back to him.
He’s telling you, you’re already forgiven. Already covered.
Even if you are enduring tough circumstances because of your choices, God is still there, right beside you. Waiting for you to run into his arms.

We are human.
We’re going to stumble and fall.
But, you are more than…your sin.

Image

Photo Courtesy of 123RF          

           She watched the disgusting child molester as he stalked his next prey. He had been easy to find. All Grace had to do was hang around the park a few days a week and wait for him to show up. It only took a couple of weeks before Jacob Pine made his appearance. He made her stomach turn. She raked her arm with her fingernails in an attempt to quiet the crawling of her skin. Disgusting.  Grace waited patiently for Jacob to get back into his car to go home. She followed him at a safe distance to find out where he lived.

            Grace checked to see if she had all the tools she needed for when she went back to Jacob’s house. “He wouldn’t know what hit him! He was going to pay for his sins.” She would make sure of that. She had watched his house for several nights and knew Jacob would shut the lights off, and be in bed, by 10 p.m. She would wait until 11 p.m., just to make sure he was asleep before she broke in. She had waited for this day for so long, she was actually excited the day was finally here. She was feeling quite giddy.

            Scenes of her childhood played in the back of her mind. There he was. Jacob Pine. Sneaking across the hallway. She could still hear the sound of the floor creaking. The fear that threatened to choke her breath off. “Oh God! Help me. I shouldn’t be here! Why did daddy make me go”? Grace shook her head to clear the images threatening to overtake her. She had to keep her wits about her. She had a job to do. She couldn’t let memories distract her now. “I wonder if he will even remember me.” Grace checked her watch, eleven o’clock. Time to go.

 ~*~                              ~*~                              ~*~

            Jacob Pine snuggled down under the cover. A smile crossed his lips as he replayed the day. His granddaughter was getting so big. Watching her play at the park brought him so much joy. Because of his past, Jacob was not allowed to make any kind of contact with his grand daughter, but his daughter gave permission for him to watch her from a distance.

            He had grievously sinned in his life. So many children he had damaged. Sometimes, the guilt was so much he thought he would suffocate. Still. He has spent a little over 10 years in jail. He found forgiveness and eternal life, yet, to him, forgiveness had been given too easily. He didn’t deserve it so freely. He needed to grovel; to beg.

            He should have to crawl a mile on broken glass.

~*~                              ~*~                              ~*~

           Grace imagined how the scene would play out once she was inside Jacob’s house. Terrorizing him. Hurting him. Making him scream. Tape. Rope. A knife. A gun was too humane. Jacob didn’t deserve humane…

~*~                              ~*~                              ~*~

Although the names have been changed, the above scenario is based on a true story.

Mine.

Hate. This extreme emotion nearly consumed the majority of my young life. Every day I fantasized about finding the man—the so-called friend of my father’s—who raped me when I was 7 years old. I dreamt of being able to torment him; to exact my revenge on his pathetic life. I yearned for just one moment of revenge when I could expose him for the pedophile he was. My turn to use him for my enjoyment while I ruined his entire life… just as he did mine.

I wanted him to be miserable because I was miserable. I was a mess; his life should be a wreck. I was lost in a dark hole of depression; he didn’t deserve to be happy. He deserved to suffer. I existed in circumstance; he shouldn’t be allowed to flourish.

I imagined searching for this man and inflicting so much pain on him that he would have to beg for his life. Of course, I would have to laugh at such a request. “An eye for an eye,” right? I wanted this man to fully understand that his pain brought me enjoyment. I wanted him to see that his fear and pain was not enough to deter me from what I planned to do. After all, the fear and pain he invoked in me wasn’t enough to deter him from the evil things he did to me. My tears never stopped him from exposing my nakedness, and my innocence, to his vile enjoyment. No, he didn’t deserve mercy.

The hate I felt for this man was real. It was a murderous spirit whispering in my ear. He doesn’t deserve to breathe. I wanted him dead, and I wanted to be the one who killed him. I spent so many years hating this man that plotting his demise is what kept me alive. It gave me a reason to keep marching forward in life. I didn’t think of killing and torturing him every day, but that hatred was always at the ready.

Counseling helped. I learned how to forgive. But letting go of my hatred wasn’t easy. It wasn’t easy to let go of my hatred because that meant retribution was out of my hands. Letting go meant that my rapist’s punishment no longer up to me. The world said I had the right to carry my hatred.

Romans 12:19 says, “Dear friends, don’t try to get even. Let God take revenge. In the Scriptures the Lord says, ‘I am the one to take revenge and pay them back.’”

Is that something I really wanted to do, to put my need for revenge into God’s hands? To trust heaven’s King with the right of repayment I felt I was owed.

Would you?

Could you?

Hate has the ability to color your whole perception. It deadens your heart and poisons your soul. I remember the day God asked me to let go of my hate. I fought him. My heart continued to hurt until I obeyed. Oh, it didn’t happen overnight, but the process brought healing to my heart and peace to my mind

To this day, I do not know if my rapist has ever been caught. I don’t know if he has ever felt remorse, or if he has asked God to forgive him for the sins committed against me. That is between him and God. J.P. will have to answer for what he did.

I encourage you, though, if you are struggling with letting go of hate, obey God’s word and let vengeance remain with him. You will be glad you did.

Be Blessed and Walk In Truth Today.

~Whispers

You knew him once upon a time

So many years ago;

He offered you his friendship but,

Dear Daddy, did you know?

 

One night he led me into hell

With terror to bestow;

And stole your daughter’s innocence

Dear Daddy, did you know?

 

That night I pleaded; terrified

Oh please, don’t make me go;

You said “Enough! It’s settled now.”

Dear Daddy, did you know?

 

I didn’t want to go there but

I went there anyway;

Endured the pain and agony

Afraid of what you’d say.

 

I didn’t call when he was done

Nor think that you would come;

Or want to save your little girl

Now broken and undone.

 

I’ve often wondered through the years

Why Daddy didn’t see;

The fear that was so obvious

And cries that came from me. 

 

And how could Daddy never see

His daughter’s soul had died?

Behavior; attitudes that changed

Was evidence denied?

 

I’ve held this anger in my heart

Since I was only eight;

I’ve blamed you Dad for everything

And given in to hate.

 

 

Realities of what you said

Have echoed through my mind;

Became the ache of memories

Transcending years of time.

 

But Daddy there is something else

I want for you to know;

Despite the pain and suffering

Compassions seed has grown.

 

My Father Who’s in heaven has

Redeemed my ruined past;

He taught me how to love; forgive

And walk through life at last.

 

There’s one more thing that you must know

Straight from your daughters heart;

If I’m to bridge the gap at all

Today’s the day to start.

 

I’ve chosen to release you from

Responsibilities;

That once demanded justice for

The shame inside of me.

 

And with release I now forgive

Your words of long ago;

The secret of my troubled past

Dear Daddy, now you know.