Forgiveness. Forgiveness is hard especially when you are trying to forgive someone who has hurt you so deeply. I wrestle with forgiving my ex for what he did to me and our children. In fact this is an issue that I often pray about and have been working through with my family Priest. Let me tell you that this has not been easy. I loved this man purely and all he did was turn evil on me. How does one forgive that? How do you forgive someone who raped you, terrorized you, threatened you and hurt your children? How to do you forgive someone who doesn’t appear to take responsibility for what he has done, let alone be sorry for it? That is what I have been exploring because I do believe it is integral to my healing to forgive.
Forgiving my ex does not mean I have to let him back into my life. Forgiveness means that I no longer need to carry what he did to me. I can offer it up to God and ask God to deal with my ex in his Godly ways. In that I can find peace and I can move forward.
I am reminded of the Bible story about the prodigal son. He has left father with his inheritance and caused much destruction. Upon the sons return his father embraced him before he even knows if his son is sorry. He loves and forgives his son not because his son has earned his forgiveness, but because God asks us to love our neighbours as ourselves and in that love is forgiveness.
In following the Commandment; Love your neighbour as yourself, I am asked as a Christian to love my ex as I love myself. I have been working hard at loving myself. Let me say that loving myself has not been an easy idea or act for me to do. When you are in an abusive relationship your self worth will be attacked by your abuser in order to weaken you. The abuse will weaken your self esteem and you will start to believe all the horrible things your abuser says about you. My ex called me many horrible names, especially in the final years of our marriage. Whore, idiot, stupid, bitch and slut were among his favourites. Over time I believed I was those names. By the time I left the relationship I did not believe I was capable of anything worthwhile and it took a supportive group of family, friends and my faith in God to help me see that I was not any of the names he called me. In time I remembered that I am a child of God, that I am worthwhile and that I have so many beautiful qualities. I began to love myself. Now that I value me, now that I love me I find God asking me to follow His Commandment and love my ex. Not as a lover, but as a child of God and in that love there is forgiveness.
My ex has never shown any remorse for what he has done. He has never taken any responsibility. In fact he is quick to blame me for what happened in our marriage. This is classic abusive behaviour. Waiting to forgive my ex till he says sorry is like sitting and watching paint dry. I know I will be waiting for a very long time. I don’t want that long. I want to be free. So what is next? Well in the words of Matthew West’s song “Forgiveness” (that I will leave you with) I am learning to love the unlovable and asking God to help me with the impossible; forgiving my ex. May your journey bring you peace.