God can give you rest
I have been hurt bad.
I did not deserve it.
It was something that happened to me and not because of a decision I had made.
My Son was Murdered by my Wife
I have joined a local support group, The Parents of Murdered Children (POMC). I have heard many, many horrible stories. They understand how horrible my story is, as well.
But I have also witnessed the continued physical damage that stress puts on the survivor—cancers, tumors, sleep difficulty, digestion problems and other “strange” issues that doctors cannot diagnose.
I think the root of these problems is anger and unforgiveness.
By no means should you tell a homicide survivor that they must forgive their assailant. This is a horrible thing to say. Anger can, and usually is, a healthy part of the grief process.
How did Jesus put it? Oh yes.
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your
brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
—Jesus Christ, Matthew 7:3 (NIV)
Saying such a horrible thing will drive survivors away from the church, and that is something they dearly need right now. But perhaps they need to find a more loving and understanding church.
A church should be where you feel at home, loved, and welcome.
But I wanted to tell homicide victims that they can choose to forgive and that letting go helped me. Every journey is different. I am not telling you what you should or shouldn’t do. You may feel horrific anger now that will soften over the years. You may never forgive. That is your right.
Forgiveness Has a Bad Rap
There is a misconception about forgiveness. Some think we are saying the sin is all right. Nothing could be further from the truth.
If we sin against God, nothing will ever make that all right.
There is nothing the perpetrator could do that would make the crime right. No matter what the court system decides. No matter what restitution she pays. She could go away for the rest of her life, but that will not bring back my son.
Rather, forgiveness is about debt. It is balancing the scale. When we ask God for forgiveness, he counts us as righteous. He doesn’t make us righteous. That ship has sailed.
There is nothing she could do to repay me, so why am I still holding this anger? It only hurts me, not her.
They say that hatred is like drinking poison and hoping that other person dies.
So what do we do?
If you have been hurt, you have been given a rotten fruit. You didn’t want it, but you didn’t have a choice. It was given to you. Now, what do you do with it? That is up to you.
You can eat it—stuff it down deep inside—but that will only make you sick.
Or you can choose to forgive. Let God take that spoiled fruit of anger and hatred. Let him clean you up and remake you.
Tell God, “I have anger built up in me against [person] but I do not want it. I choose to forgive her. The debt is gone. Please take it away and heal me.”
Believe me, I did not come to this point right away. I was good and angry for many years. My hatred burned hot.
I think a little bit of that is healthy.
I had deep, deep love. That love was taken away—not lost.
Now my love is broken and incomplete. For the rest of my life.
It was in desperation that I prayed that prayer. What could it hurt? Why do we turn to prayer as a last resort? I try to make prayer the first resort now.
What happened next?
Instantly, the burden of emotion was taken away. I was still sad—that will never go away. But I no longer felt the burden of hatred. That yolk was taken from my shoulders immediately.
From that point, my heart has been softened to the plight of others. I am more understanding of the anger and hatred of others. Someday, they might forgive—or not. What will be will be.
Don’t forgive because they deserve it. They do not deserve it.
Forgive for you. You deserve it.
You are in a prison cell, but the door to the cell is open. You can leave any time you want. You are choosing to hold on to the anger and stay in the cell.
This is sad to me.
You are being victimized again.
I hope that you someday choose life and freedom.