Love prays (pt12) “as we forgive those…”

by Craig on May 10, 2011

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He beat me one time too many.

He has been mean and cruel and remains so.

I have forgiven what he’s done to me.

The thing I can’t let go of is what he has done to my sister.

She’s special to me, this one.

My mom died when my sister was only 18.

A girl can’t lose a mom like that.

It’s dreadful,

harder to a girl than to a boy.

She was my final gift from my mother. I knew from the time my mom left this earth that she was mine to protect, and love, absolutely, without condition.

I have never been a parent,
but I have experienced a parent’s love.

Her heart has been mine, her tears, and joys, and worries, and trials, and victories – it’s all been mine too. I know you moms understand this even better than I.

As blessed as I’ve been by this, it shouldn’t have been necessary for me to step in.

Even if a father’s love is not the same as a mom’s it should still be unconditional. But he abandoned her. He crushed her heart. He has excuses – he holds as tightly to them as a pirate grasps a treasure map. But there is no excuse.

A parent loves without condition. No?

But he doesn’t and hasn’t. His love comes with whole set of conditions. I’m violating them now by even mentioning them. And his love for her, he withdrew, at a time she needed it most. It was devastating, a most horrid thing to do.

Unforgivable.

She has tried to mend things and each time has been hurt even more than the last.

He beat me as a child. He caused me to live in fear growing up. I then allowed that to carry over into my adulthood. He never touched anyone else. I was the target – maybe by my own design (here, and here).

But as much damage as he did to me early – he did to her late.

He spoiled her like a princess until my mom died. Then withdrew love, and when she couldn’t take it – and left – he totally abandoned her.

Unforgivable.

A parent does not do this to a child.

The closest we get to God’s love on this planet,
is the love of a parent for a child,
and this is. not. love.

Unforgivable.

I have forgiven him for his abuses against me. They are long past.

But this – with his daughter, this a heartbreak that only he has the power to heal – and he insists on keeping it open and bleeding.

Unforgivable.

source

And I come to the part of the Lord’s Prayer that says…

“as we forgive those who trespass against us”.

Really Lord?

Even if that person doesn’t deserve the forgiveness?

Then I remember,
I didn’t,
and you forgave.

Even if that person continues to do harm?

But then,
I know,
try as I might to avoid it,
I still sin,
I do you harm.

And you forgive.

But what if it’s not me that is being harmed? Do I forgive then? Love protects. No?

And therein lies my stumbling block.

There’s more on this…

Please come back.

In God’s love.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Cora May 10, 2011 at 8:59 am

I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes, Craig — for you, for your sister, for me, and for all the unfairness and hurts in the world. I’m so sorry for you and your sister. As you said, parents are just supposed to love and protect their children. And a child is not supposed to be put in the position of an adult to protect a sister from a parent. It’s hard for me to put a lifetime of thoughts, feelings and emotions here. As I read through your post, I wondered what I would have felt if I had had a brother who stood up for me and defended me. No one knew what was going on in my house. My sister and I suffered separately. In the early adult years, I learned all the stuff about forgiveness — God’s forgiveness, that He saw me as perfect, “They meant it for evil, but God meant it for good”, and the list goes on and on and on. It was not until this abuser died that I faced the reality of my own soul. I got a phone call telling me the news, and my very first reaction was, “I hope he rots in Hell.” Here I was, living the life of a supposedly good Christian, doing everything in the church, even counseling girls who had been abused. And this is MY reaction????? I went to my pastor, plopped in the chair, and asked, “Can a person truly have forgiven someone and still hope they rot in Hell???” Great conversation starter, isn’t it? I still question that sometimes.

Craig, I found it much easier to forgive for what was done to ME. But forgiving what was done to my sister (though the same thing) was almost impossible for me. Even now, I feel that emotion coming up in the throat and eyes. It has been a “seventy times seven” and even more than that for me.

I only know from years and years of walking this road that the Lord uses the scars if we let Him. Even the scars of an unforgiving heart. My scars have become my gifts — gifts to use in ministering to others going through the same horrors. I seem to be able to see it. I sense it long before anyone has a clue.

Craig, you once again, have been led of the Spirit of the Lord to touch on something that is churning in my life. Two of your readers, Dawn and Kristin, heard from me this week on this very subject. I wondered if I should bring it up on my own blog. I am not settled completely on the issue you broght up here. Do we forgive someone who continues to do harm? I couldn’t do that. Not at first. But I do believe the Lord took me at the place I was. I prayed for this person.
And things changed in ME as I prayed. I’m not sure I ever actually said the words, “I forgive you.” I didn’t get that chance to say them directly to the person. But in my heart, that bitter, burning sense of wanting justice, punishment, and pain for him turned to acceptance and peace. Is that the same thing? My pastor took me to the book of Philemon, and to this day, I can’t read that little book without tears. When I think of forgiveness, the words “If he hath wronged thee, or oweth [thee] ought, put that on mine account” 1:18. If there is a debt owed me, that is where it is right now, on God’s account. And He promises to pay.

I will be soooooo waiting to hear more of what you have to say, Craig. Again, let me tell you that I understand how you must have felt as you wrote this today. I wish you had been my brother. Please accept a big hug from me. I knew that the tenderness and the depth of your heart came from a special place. It takes a lot of courage to share that, and I, for one thank you for it!

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Craig May 10, 2011 at 11:17 am

Cora – I think it’s clear – we forgive – we always forgive. If we don’t we set ourselves up as judge – and there is only ONE judge – so we set ourselves up in his place – Satan tried that once. Nota good place to be. We have to forgive – but we don’t need to stick around for further mistreatment – we can offer the cheek – but not follow around begging to be slapped again. And the words don’t need to go to THAT person – unless you are the one seeking forgiveness – if… you know what – I think I’ll save all this for a post. Stay tuned :) To be continued…

God Bless you Cora.

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Cora May 10, 2011 at 9:00 am

PS: Just saw your first picture. I used to sit like that hidden away in a dark closet. Might as well put my name under it!

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Craig May 10, 2011 at 11:20 am

Cora – I search long and oh so hard for the perfect pictures – that one spoke to me as it did to you. Funny – as old as we get – we are all still damaged children sometimes. God bless.

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A. May 10, 2011 at 10:03 am

I struggle with this, too. There is a very interesting discussion of this going on at Commandments of Men by Lewis where one of the questions is whether we can forgive someone if they don’t ask for forgiveness. When we come to the Father, initially, we have to ask for forgiveness-repent. He is ready and waiting, but doesn’t force it. is that how we are to be with those who have harmed us? do we have our forgiveness ready but wait to give it until they ask for it? I don’t know. I struggle with this, too.

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Craig May 10, 2011 at 11:18 am

A – as I said to Cora – we forgive everybody – I think I’ll include the rest of the answer in a post. Along with Cora’s points. Such good questions. God bless you A.

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Angela May 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I haven’t read the previous articles, maybe you’ve mentioned it already, but do you find a bit of solace in writing about your pain?

Nothing will ever erase the memory {so long as you’re healthy}, but the pain … pains for me anyway begin to heal and dissipate not just with time, but when I write and talk about them. I’m finding blogging can be very therapeutic (?) for the soul.

I understand your protectiveness with your sister. I was the same way with my brother. I didn’t even like him being scolded too bad.

How is your sister?

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Craig May 12, 2011 at 10:42 am

No. I really don’t find solace in writing of my pain. I do it to be open, to drop my masks, maybe to explain stuff a little, but mostly to be honest. That’s the hard part. It’s all past. My mom always said, “What’s done is done” That being said – I do get the “therapy” part of blogging – I have experienced that – and the learning part which I heart – and the connecting – heart that too. My sister btw is doing very well – it took a long time – he did a lot of damage – but she is well – and knows she is loved unconditionally – she’s told me that – makes me smile. Thank you Angela – and God bless you.

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Dawn May 10, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Dear Craig,

I am certainly no expert on forgiveness, but, like A., I’ve read some really good advice from others. This is some of the best:

http://www.wikihow.com/Forgive

It’s contains a conglomeration of wise people on the subject and gives steps (love those) on “how to” forgive.

The best part, for me, is that they all agree, like you said, “We MUST forgive.”

God bless you and keep you, Craig,
Dawn

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Craig May 12, 2011 at 11:18 am

I’d go read that – but I have no time to read anything but the bible, and commentaries, and blogs, and tweets – oh – and the sports page – wikihow will have to wait :) And I do agree with what they all agree on – we have to forgive – or we won’t be forgiven – Jesus said it – nuf said. God bless you Dawn.

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Mari May 11, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Craig, this was a hard read b/c there are no neat answers. Thanks for sharing your heart.

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Craig May 11, 2011 at 7:19 pm

No easy answer Mari – but somehow I think there is one. Pleas pray for me as I try to reason it out with Our Lord. God bless you and keep you – and thank you – I am truly blessed to have people like you read me – thank you.

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marlece May 11, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Wow Craig, this, this is something to read. The whole time I was reading I kept saying in my spirit, “thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus, that Craig stepped up and was what her father was not”. I am so sorry for your pain, but, I also know the Lord places us where we are of use to others and this, this shows it very clearly….again, way to be a man and be there for your sis!

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Craig May 12, 2011 at 11:22 am

Thank you Marlece. She was, as I said, my mom’s gift. I just knew. And if I hadn’t done it I would never have learned about unconditional love. It was a blessing.

This is from my 100’s list:

47. The best thing I have ever done is make sure my mom knew the way to heaven.
48. The second best was taking care of my baby sister until I gave her away to her husband.

both of them bring a tear, and a smile – God Bless you.

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Michelle May 12, 2011 at 5:24 am

I know that God uses what has happened in our past to speak to others. He has done so in my life. I also know the hold that unforgiveness has on us. Unforgiveness holds me, not the person I haven’t forgiven. They don’t feel anything. I have the bitterness, the cold heart, the pain, the poison in me. (“Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”) We need to forgive, otherwise we slowly die. And, as you have said Craig, we have to forgive, else we judge. And we are not the Judge. God is.

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