Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The work of forgiveness 6

I should issue a warning about this forgiveness business.

I have found one of the most important, and healing, things about it is a willingness to be completely honest and to seek God's truth in the matter, wherever it takes you. And that includes being shown that sometimes you are more than the victim. Sometimes you had a part in what happened and need to ask God for forgiveness for your role before you can move on to forgive others.

I suspect this is part of the reason why we put off forgiving. We know, somewhere deep inside, that we were not 100 percent the victim, that some of the fault lies in ourselves. When I have been at least open to this possibility, sometimes I sense things I could have done differently or attitudes I harbored that contributed to what went wrong. Other times I sense no fault on my part. But it is good and pleasing to God to be open and available to the real truth of what happened.

As difficult as it can be, if you did have a part in things, discovering what it was, coming to terms with it, and bringing it before God can be very freeing for yourself, and can help you on your road to forgiving others.

Important note: I want to be clear that I'm not talking here about forgiving emotional or physical abuse, rape, incest or other heinous acts where there was a clear aggressor and a clear victim. For that I believe seeking professional counseling and legal help is essential, and that you should not be searching internally for what you might have done to "lead on" the aggressor or do any other such blaming of yourself. You may actually have been in this situation for years because aggressors in these circumstances often pull that ploy. It is part of their abuse. In your case, getting better may actually mean learning to stop searching for "your part" in what happened. Trained professionals can help.

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