A young man, hunched over and staring at the floor, said, When I was a child, I was sexually abused repeatedly by my uncle. Just saying these words makes my stomach ache and my ears burn. I hated him – he ruined my life and I’ve struggled with this all my life. When my father died, my uncle came to the viewing. When I looked at him, all I could see what a mangy, scared, grey and ugly dog. He didn’t speak to me and I didn’t speak to him, but he knew that I knew what he had done all those years. I’m talking about it now because I have to. I have to let it go, let the anger and hatred go, for myself. It has to be an act of my will. I won’t forget what he did, but I have to forgive him so I can move forward with my life. I need to set myself free.
My reaction: My heart ached as I listened to this young man. The abuse is repulsive, and I have had a hard time forgetting the sadness and despair of his words. He will never forget the offense, but forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. I was grateful to be a witness to his decision to forgive and set himself free.
Today’s Promise to consider: There are hurts we suffer that debilitate us for a long time. Although it isn’t easy, forgiving those who hurt us allows us to open our hearts and to feel a sense of serenity and liberty. Today, I will work on forgiving those who have hurt me by turning my will toward love. I will pray for peace that will help me go forward with my life.