When I was younger I did not have the best family life. My biological father was a physical and emotional abuser to my mother and the children. My mother finally had enough and filed for divorce. What does that mean for the children?
Back in the 90’s, the state we lived in split custody down the middle while the custody hearings were going on. We spent half the school year with one parent then went the other half of the school year with the other parent. As a 10 year old that was very difficult to understand. Going to two different schools was difficult too. Near the end of the trial it appeared my father was going to lose custody and would need to pay child support. He decided just to terminate his parental rights so he did not have to pay. This made me think he never wanted us to begin with and was only filing for custody to hurt my mother.
Flashing forward 20 years God had never been a person I had actively sought out. I had been put into some rough circumstances. Where was He when I really needed Him? Then I decided to let it all go and surrender to God and put Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Maybe doing this I could finally hear from him WHY these bad things happened to me and my family. So, how do you forgive someone who’s hurt you?
No matter how many times I had tried to put my past behind me God kept putting it right in front of me forcing me to deal with it. I had been praying for a way to get over this part of my life, but had no idea what God had in store for me. Then this verse appeared to me:
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
He does not say there might be tribulation- He says it IS GOING to happen. So I decided to dig in deeper. Now I was asking “Why do bad things happen to good people?” I started thinking back to a sermon that was done by Cory Johnson at 121 Community Church about when God created the world. Cory really nailed home that God made everything GOOD.
“And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” – Genesis 1:31
So, if God made everything good, what happened? Why was my father this way? Psychology tells us that most likely he was abused himself, but the Bible tells us this:
“We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” – 1 John 5:19
Satan has a powerful grip on the world and is here to steal, kill, and destroy. Falling into Satan’s schemes can destroy whole families and might even spiritually cripple young children from accepting God as their heavenly Father.
“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” – Matthew 18:5-6
My last two paragraphs are hopefully an encouraging one to anyone who has been abused or is currently being abused. The Bible tells us that God never abandons us. He is familiar with all of our ways and that we are precious to Him.
“You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.” – Psalm 139:3
“Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to Him than a whole flock of sparrows.” – Matthew 10:29-31
The last thing to do is forgive and release the person who hurt us. Yes, this may be hard to do and may take years to do. In my case 23 years, but everyone is different. I encourage you to pray to God to give you the grace to forgive them. This is the final step in resolving hurt feelings. Forgiveness really sets you free and is one last thing that you have to hold on to.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32
I do encourage anyone who is in an abusive relationship or has been abused to seek counsel with a church leader, Pastor, or to visit the The National Domestic Violence Hotline website and call them at 1-800-799-7233.