God often speaks to me through music. Last Sunday as I was worshiping God at my church, it was as if the words of the songs were jumping off the screen. Words that brought comfort and words that gave me a level of understanding about God that I have never grasped before. As I listen week after week to horrifying stories of abuse and heartache, and as I continually work through some of my own hurts, I hear some of the same questions over and over. How can God forgive people that commit horrible crimes that wound and damage His children beyond recognition?
I often tell my counselees that God feels their pain. Scripture says that the Spirit in us, can pray to God for us, when we can find no words to express the depth of our pain and disillusionment. I actually experienced this type of comfort this past month. So the first words in a song that spoke to me on Sunday said, “In your Kingdom broken lives are made new.” Thank you Father that you can turn ashes into beauty. Thank you Father that you heal and redeem lives.
The next song is one of my favorites. Jesus Messiah, Name above all names, Blessed Redeemer, Emmanuel, The rescue for sinners, the ransom from heaven, Jesus Messiah, Lord of all. I asked myself a very honest question. Do I want ALL sinners rescued and ransomed? Do I want my abusers and the abusers of my beloved counselees rescued and ransomed? (Remember I’ve heard some absolutely awful stories) Father, how do you love and forgive people that wound your children so deeply?
We are studying the book of James at my church. This book warns us to be careful about judging. But how can I not judge the person that abused me? James 4:12 says, “There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” The scriptures also quote God saying, “It is mine to avenge, I will repay.” It’s hard to leave the judgment to the judge. Romans 2:2 says, “Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.” God see’s the whole picture; we see in part. HE is the righteous judge. However, abuse is NEVER okay! I believe God takes abuse very personally!
But on the other hand God is a God of love. He died for the sins of the abuser too. Wow, how can I reconcile that fact in my mind? Can I fathom the thought that the abuser was possibly abused? Do I care? As I’ve stated in previous blogs, forgiveness is crucial and forgiveness is for me. But do I really want my abuser to be forgiven? If I look at my emotions I may shout, “No!” Remember unforgiveness means, “You HAVE to pay!” But can they really pay adequately for that sin against you? NO! So I will let Jesus pay and redeem that sin against me. But what about them? God’s love has no limits and He goes after EVERY human being in hopes that they will receive HIM. If they do, His blood on the cross pays for their sin against me AND God will redeem it IN me. AND they will stand in the righteousness of Jesus.
So here comes the next song last Sunday that nearly knocked me off my feet! This line comes from “When I survey the wondrous cross.”
See from His head, His hands, His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did ere such love and sorrow meet.
It was as if I could see it. Jesus hanging on the cross with blood flowing down his body. And in that blood was love and forgiveness for the abuser and sorrow and pain for the abused. ONLY GOD CAN DO BOTH AT THE SAME TIME! He felt my pain, He felt angry at the person who caused my pain, He felt the sorrow my pain would cause me for years AND He felt sorrow, love and forgiveness for the person who caused my pain!
I think for the first time I felt a total release for the people that have hurt me. I chose to forgive a long time ago because forgiveness is a choice whether I feel like forgiving or not. But God opened my eyes and released my emotions and mind to SEE His ways. I am now feeling a peace that passes all understanding. If you are a survivor of any type of abuse, I pray that as you read this article; you are set free by forgiving the person who hurt you and receiving God’s healing touch. If this article makes you mad; it’s okay. Ask God to help you work through your anger and grief. Once you have taken the time to walk through that stage of healing, ask God to help you forgive and to see HIS ways! You will feel a ton off of your shoulders. I promise!