Monday, February 25, 2013

Fathers and Forgiveness

My earthly father was (is) a hard man. He was abusive. After divorcing my mother (when I was 6 years old), we barely saw each other, until I had been forgiven.

That above sentence may seem at first to be a typo or mistake, but it is not. I’ll get back to this in minute. First, let me explain some background information. (If you haven’t read my story you can read part 1 and part 2) A child should be protected by their parents. There is no way to explain the pain inflicted on a child who has been abused, especially by a parent. It shatters your entire world and shapes your identity in very unhealthy ways.

I grew up with a lot of hatred towards my dad. Amazingly, I was more hurt (at the time) that he left and didn’t keep in touch more than I was about the abuse, after all, I didn’t know better. I didn’t know that the abuse was inappropriate. I never knew anything different.

By the time I was a teenager, that hatred for my father was very great. I used to imagine if he ever bothered to call or show up somewhere, I would tell him off, or run him over, or who knows what. I was angry at the world. I had all the feelings bound up with no one ever to talk to about it all. Unforgiveness brings bitterness and anger to the person holding on to the wrong, while the other person is usually oblivious and going on with their lives.

Long after being married and having children, I decided to see a therapist to get over some of these issues in my life from the abuse. It was, well, “therapeutic”, but it wasn’t until 1998 when Christ quickened my heart and transformed me, that my heart began to soften. I then confronted the feelings of anger I had toward both my dad for abusing me, and my mom for not protecting me. I had to repent for all my anger and other things. The long process of forgiving and healing didn’t happen overnight, but it did slowly happen.

All I ever needed to learn about forgiveness, I learned from my Father; my heavenly one, not my earthly one. I was forgiven much, and called to forgive. It took me a couple of years to finally write my father a letter. I explained my sin and asked for forgiveness for my wrongdoings. I also shared the gospel and told him I had forgiven him. Letting go of that anger and truly forgiving was essential for me to move forward.

We currently have a not very close and strained relationship. He is still a difficult man to talk to. He admits no wrongs, blames me and others for all his problems, and is still frequently emotionally abusive. I can be made to feel like that wounded little 6 year old girl very easily by him. Forgiving is something I am continually striving to do. I am also learning to be honoring, but not let him walk all over me. Setting boundaries is not a bad thing. I continue to pray that he might repent and be saved, and that God would use me to share the Gospel message with this lost man.

Are you hanging on to unforgiveness? Is there someone you need to call and repent to? If you are not forgiving, and hanging on to old hurts in anger, your Heavenly Father is waiting for your call.

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