By Gina Rhodes
When I think of the word “forgiveness,” I feel a sense of dread. I think of unfinished business, pain and trauma. But most of all, I feel like forgiveness is a huge mountain that I seem to be forever climbing.
I have struggled most of my entire life just to take those first steps up that mountain, and it has taken me years to get to the place I am now. The one thing I have learned is that being unwilling to forgive does not hurt the people who have abused you, taken you for granted, broken your heart and tossed you away like a piece of trash. If you’re unwilling to forgive, the only one who continues to suffer is you.
When you have the ability to forgive — not just a little here and there, but to totally and completely forgive — only then will this festering, gut wrenching pain finally be gone. You can once and for all free yourself from the tremendous burden that you have been carrying for so long.
So then I have to ask myself, “Where do I start?” I suppose the best place to start is self forgiveness. That seems to be the hardest one of all.
When you are a child who suffered what seems like a lifetime of sexual or emotional abuse, you blame yourself. You think it must’ve been something that you did that caused the suffering, something you may have said. You were not good enough. You had no value, and whatever was happening to you was because of you.
You must’ve brought this upon yourself.
The saddest part of all is that you carry this burden until you are finally able to let it go. But then, with God’s grace, you do let it go. The steep climbs of that mountain fall behind you. It never gets easier, but you get stronger.