All of my life I have been told I am required, as a Christian, to “forgive and forget,” but recently learned “forgive and forget” were not the words of the Christ. Granted, it is clearly stated in red letters, “To be forgiven, you must first forgive,” but where is the forgetting part? I am open to correction, really I am, but after looking and studying, nowhere have I found we are required to forget the wrongs. We can utilize them as learning tools to help us not make poor choices or mistakes in the future regarding similar circumstances or people. But the forgiving part? We pretty much have to do that. It’s not an optional selection, as in “One from Column A…”
For a very long time I blatantly refused to make any attempt at forgiving either my molester or my abuser (“my”??? Was I taking ownership of them and their reprehensible acts against me?). Then epiphany! It took far too many years, but once I got it, I really GOT IT! Forgiving is releasing the offender from his/her power and control over your mind, heart, emotions, and sometimes, even your body. As long as we hold anger or animosity, they still win! They still maintain a level of control over me, over us. You see, bitterness and resentment are the devil’s fuel for the fire of abuse. They sustain the other party’s power and control over you, even long after the abuse has physically ended.
As if that were not enough, then the larger lesson came. By extending forgiveness, I found a level of freedom I never dreamed was possible. It was not in and of myself, but rather came from my deference to God and His power to work such a thing within and through me. He does good work!
Remarkably, I have not been required to forget the past, but rather to move forward from it. It is a place for learning from, not living in. The lessons from my past have now been turned to help other victims of molestation and/or domestic violence. In the meantime, I am finally free to be the “me” that our Creator meant for me to be all along! How great is that?
Carolyn is an advocate for sexual/domestic violence and assault awareness, also focusing on child sexual abuse. She is a Life Direction & Empowerment Coach, working with victims and survivors of molestation, sexual assault, domestic violence or spousal abuse, and bringing training to organizations seeking to help victims. Hennecy spent much time during October 2011, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, with media doing radio and television interviews. See Carolyn’s interview with Gayle Guyardo of NBC Channel 8 News Today Early Morning Show and her featured segment on the ABC Action News Emmy Award winning “Taking Action Against Domestic Violence” at orangeblossomwishes.com.
- Liar Liar.. Pants on Fire (catherinesnotes.wordpress.com)