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Feeling conflicted between faith and feelingFaith Abuse
Posted 11 January 2014 - 07:57 PM
I have some terrible experiences from my past that are still with me. My sister and I were from different fathers, neither of whom we were around when we were children, so my mother married another man, a stepfather, and he was very bad to all three of us. He was very abusive in all the usual ways, we lived with him for seven years and that whole time was just like one long nightmare for us, worse yet, because it was like a nightmare you can't wake up from. To give just a small example, he molested my sister a handful of times when she was only eight years old and on one occasion he brutally raped my mother while I sat helplessly in the next room. I feel horrible anger and bitterness every time I remember that event because I wish to God I could have done something to help my mother, and I feel very bad that I couldn't, but he was a very violent man and I was just a small child at the time and was terrified of him as we all three were. And these are just a couple of many, many other terrible experiences we all three suffered at the hands of this awful man during the time we lived with him.
So, to this day, every time the memories of this man and the things he put us through resurface in my mind, I still feel furious anger and great hatred of him for all these terrible things he did to us. For me, time has not lessened the intensity of the things I feel against him and the power these awful memories still hold for me. I know that in the Bible Jesus commands us to love even our enemies, and God commands us to forgive others that we ourselves may be forgiven. But I can't deny the things I feel, they are real, and to me they are entirely valid. I can't imagine a human being who could go through all these terrible abuses at those young and impressionable ages and not feel these same kinds of things for the abuser. So I don't know how to even begin letting such a thing go. Plus, after considering it all for a long time, I really feel like even if I could forgive this man for these terrible things he did to us, that would be just the same as me saying the things he did to us are ok with me, and they are not, as long as I live they will never be ok with me. So on the one hand, I feel like to this day my anger and my hatred of this man are still so strong, so intense, that I will probably never be able to forgive him as long as I live, and I also can't even begin to imagine how I could ever feel any love for that awful man whatsoever, like I just hate him too much to even be able to imagine the idea even if I wanted to.
Yet on the other hand I know we are commanded as Christians to forgive people who hurt us and love our enemies in order to have God's salvation. So I find myself going back and forth between my terrible hatred and anger for this man, and my very sincere desire to obey Jesus and the Father's commandments for us. And I keep wondering, if it turns out I can never forgive this man and can never love him as long as I live, does that mean I'm a failure as a Christian? This is really a terrible conflict for me that I go through again and again and I don't know how to resolve these things. I don't believe God meant for anybody to live with this kind of heartache, but I just don't know how I could ever forgive or love him when he did such terrible harm to us, especially when he will probably never care even a little bit as long as he lives his sorry, self indulgent excuse for a life.
Posted 11 January 2014 - 09:37 PM
You know, not such a long time ago, your question would get many replies. It seems that mostly trivia and humorous questions are the ones being answered at the present time in General Discussions. I'll try to get answers to this new phenomenon.
Anyway, as far as your question, your struggle is shared by many believers even if it's in another form. The best advice I can give you is that your awful experience is not easily put to rest. Yes, forgiveness is a great virtue, however this calls for a great level of faith. It's more important, at this time for you, not to become fixated with the issue of your father since you will shut yourself down, and certainly not live in the moment. Our task is to build a good foundation first. In other words begin forgiving the small resentments that may bother you first. As far as your main issue I would suggest that you not be alone when thinking about the problem - practice shutting it out because you'll end up going in circles.. It's better to go to a good Christian friend, your priest or pastor even a therapist.
Posted 11 January 2014 - 10:04 PM
You are not a failure as a Christian...quite the opposite in fact. You are a man after Gods heart, seeking him and trying to please. You are a much loved son of the King!
Posted 11 January 2014 - 10:32 PM
Forgive me if I am being presumptuous.
I'd say you have a ministry.
You KNOW what rape really is, yet even to this day jokes are made about it, I hear of people patronizing porn sites filled with artist depictions of rapes... not what it truly is.
I was sexually molested by a 44 year old man when I was 13.
It took me a very long time to get over this.
But I eventually did.
I suppose because it was only against me and not my family as well.
You can warn others and help the battered and abused women and children centers with a passion that only comes from personal experience.
They always need help and supplies and support.
As to the forgiveness... Nelson Mandela was spot on about being a prisoner after being freed from prison if you cannot forgive / let go of the anger and the intense bitterness.
Posted 11 January 2014 - 10:58 PM
I am sorry you and your family went through such a bad time, Kosmo. It's hard to forgive when the forgiveness just isn't there. It's at that point that you have to ask God to bring it to you. As BFP said, lay the whole thing at His feet. I've had to do this with someone I absolutely hated and, eventually, the Lord took that hatred from me. Trust Him and stop torturing yourself about this; it's not your fault and He is always there to help. You've only to ask.
Posted 12 January 2014 - 11:51 AM
I am sorry you went through such pains in your family, If I can encourage you here, remember God forgives you moment by moment. Extend that same generous forgiveness to others. Because look at it this way, maybe your pretty good at outwardly keeping your cool perhaps you're even proud of how forgiving you appear to be at times. But storing up complaints and hurts until you reach a bursting point, isnt good either. Just pray about it to God and He will help you. Just focus on Christ and strive to know Him better and better.
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Posted 21 January 2014 - 02:26 PM
Posted 25 January 2014 - 03:42 AM
Hi Kosmo, I just wanted to say that I think it's really brave of you to tackle this. Forgiveness does not mean, at all, that what was done was okay in any way. Because it's not. God does not forgive us because our sins are okay. God forgives us not even because we are worth of forgiveness but because of grace. We are not God, but we can try and live in His image and follow His word. I have a lot of learning myself to do on what forgiveness means, but so far I've realized that forgiveness simply means that you will no longer allow it to hurt you. You are forgiving him in order to free yourself, you are forgiving him to get closer to God. For him to do such a horrible thing and have no conscience about it...Well, I feel sorry for him. You are a survivor. You are strong. And you have society on your side. Society is not on his side and I promise that if anyone is looking down on you, they have their own demons to face or will one day. You have God on your side. What he did is between him and God. You need to forgive him out of love for yourself. And by forgive, I mean, understand why it happened by having compassion for him. People who hurt are generally people who have been hurt. It's a terrible cycle. So take pity on him and pray that he will one day seek forgiveness. And like others have said, give it to God and give it more time.
Edited by natatatt, 25 January 2014 - 03:43 AM.