Letting Go and Letting God
"I stand amazed in what God did."
- Pastor Candy
Candy's childhood family life appeared as any other normal non-Christian home. But everything changed after her dad's sister was killed in a head-on collision. Because her dad was in shock over the loss of his sister, his behavior changed, and he began to drink every day.
When Candy was about seven years old, her dad began to abuse her, and she felt it was her fault. She couldn’t go outside and play with the kids because she had a secret to keep. This led her to have feelings of bitterness, jealousy, hatred, and anger. She prayed that God would eliminate her dad.
At the age of 17, she moved out of their home and found a job. She met her (now) husband and married him at age 18. Shortly after her marriage, her brother-in-law was in an accident and was sentenced to community service. The community service program taught her brother-in-law about God’s love, and he gave his heart to the Lord. Her brother-in-law invited them to a church where she learned about forgiveness and ultimately was able to forgive her dad.
She invited her dad to church many times but each time he refused, until the day he asked if her church had an Easter program. He went to church that Sunday and the best gift she ever received was watching her dad give his heart to Christ. He died of a heart attack not long after that day. She is thankful that God saved her from living with regret and shame, and all she had to do was forgive her dad. She stands amazed at what God did in her life.
If you are struggling with unforgiveness, here are some points to consider:
Be honest with your feelings
Honestly address your feelings to God. It may also be helpful to share your feelings with a close friend or support group.
Pray to God
Ask God to give you the strength to forgive the person who has hurt you.
Begin to forgive
Pray for the person who has hurt you.
Ask God to give you compassion for this person’s emotional blindness or cold heart.
Ask God to show you what emotional shortcoming may have caused him or her to mistreat you.
Share Your Story:
Like Candy, many people struggle with pain and unforgiveness after child abuse. You may have feelings of hatred, bitterness, resentment, and anger. We encourage you to draw closer to God and discover His plan for your life. God doesn’t demand that you get all cleaned up before you come to Him. If you choose to draw near to Him, He will meet you, love you, and help you see how important and valued you are to Him.
We would love to hear from you! Please consider sharing your story with us by clicking on the following link: Share Your Story. There is someone who needs to hear it!
Words to Live By:
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV).
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” Mark 11:25 (NIV).
Dr. Ron’s Perspective:
The destructive cycle of child abuse affects many people and occurs to both boys and girls of all ages. Most children are too confused, frightened and ashamed to let an adult know what is happening to them. Often abusers will also use threats to scare children into keeping the abuse a secret. This can cause children to hide their secret even from trusted adults and family members. They may suffer in silence for years or even a lifetime. Regardless of the type of abuse or the relationship between the victim and the offender, abuse can have long-term emotional effects. Some of the common effects of untreated abuse are post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety, sexual anxiety and disorders, depression, thoughts of suicide, poor body image, low self-esteem and destructive behaviors like substance abuse and eating disorders.
If you are a victim of abuse, know that you are not alone. Recovery can begin when you take the first step of admitting it happened and begin praying for healing. In 1 Kings 19:1-15, the prophet Elijah is so depressed that he asks God to take his life. Instead, God sends an angel to tell Elijah to get up and eat. In the depths of his despair, Elijah encounters God’s grace. God is sending ministering angels into your situation too just as he did for Elijah and many others. Ask Him to open your eyes so you can see them operating in your life. You can be sure that God will give you what you need to take your journey of healing. By God’s grace and with the help of His messengers, renewal and restoration are available to all, one step at a time.
The Problem of Pain -C.S. Lewis
The Gift of Pain -Philip Yancey
The Reason for God -Tim Keller