Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Forgiving the Unforgivable

Some injuries may appear too difficult to forgive: being terribly abused by a parent or spouse, being tortured or raped, or being critically injured by an assailant. And, some of these atrocities are too difficult to forgive—alone.

Jesus forgave the unforgivable. He asks us to do the same. He said, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." He also taught, "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” He taught us to pray, “Forgive us our sins as we also forgive everyone who sins against us.”

So how do we forgive an someone who grievously injured us? How do we forgive when forgiveness seems impossible? That’s when we need the help of a Higher Power. We need to ask for help.

Erin Merryn did just that. Viciously molested by her older cousin throughout her children and violently raped by a friend’s father, she suffered for years. She writes, "Although I have traveled down dark roads at a very young age, I have come as far as I have because I am not alone. God has been holding my hand through it all. When I could not find my way through darkness, He carried me. When I cried myself to sleep, He rocked me in his arms. When I doubted he was even there, He forgave me. He has given me the strength to share this chapter of my life with you. As it says in the Bible, 'I can do all things through Him who strengthens me' (Phil. 4.13). I live and breathe and rise above the evil through the strength and courage He has given" (Living for Today p.-87.) Her blog inspires anyone who has suffered to experience the healing power of forgiveness.

Some wonder why they should forgive those who have no remorse or who have never apologized. We forgive because that powerful act frees us from bitterness, anguish, and misery. It allows us to become whole. Malachy McCourt said, “Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

Erin Merryn, who was so terribly abused, has forgiven her perpetrators. Empowered, she speaks throughout the world about raising “awareness of abuse in order to end the stigma and the silence.” She also advocates the adoption of Erin’s Law, which would require teachers to instruct children about safe and unsafe touch and about the importance of telling their parents, counselors, or a police officer if they have been raped or molested. Erin has turned her suffering into strength.

Jesus taught,“With God all things are possible.” He also said, “All things are possible to those who believe.”

If there is any good thing today that you find too difficult to do alone—including forgiving an enemy—ask God to help you. Believe that He will. I promise you that He will help you. He loves you infinitely. You are His precious child.

© Carol Brown

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