What You Taught, But What I’ve Learned

Dark_path

Forgiveness is something sought; asked for.

You told me it was something I had to give regardless of whether or not the offender wanted it, or believed they even needed it. It set up a system in which perpetrators could endlessly do harm, and victims were shamed for feeling hurt, wounded, or pain. The victim was at fault for not being Jesus enough to let it go and forgive. This sick view you called Biblical.

I’ve learned over the years that I don’t have to forgive those who neither want it, or believe they need it. My responsibility is to set boundaries; to keep the sick and harmful far from me. I don’t need to be angry. I don’t need to hate. Simply place it in the Lord’s hands; let God have it.

world_of_warcraft_ashbringer_2_800x600I believe this is what it looks like to love others as I love myself because loving others as I love myself implies that I love myself. To love myself means that I respect myself, that I care for myself, that I protect myself.

You failed to teach this, and I don’t know if it was intentionally or not. We spent much time learning how we were horrible people; it was ours to deny ourselves, kill ourselves, destroy ourselves. While this is partially correct, it was correct only in part.

We ought make war with the harmful, hateful, wicked, and cruel parts of ourselves. We ought strive, daily, to be better people -striving to live as Christ. And I sit here and wonder how you, man of Godproclaimer of the Wordpastoryou who teaches people from the very words of God missed this.

I thank God for his mercy; for the 12 painful years tossed about by this raging sea, for through this terrifying journey he has revealed himself to me. He has shown me love and forgiveness. He has taught me much of love and forgiveness.

I am blessed to proclaim that anger and hate for you has no place in my heart. And without guilt I can say: I don’t forgive you. You neither want it, nor believe you require it; so may it be. But, know also, you don’t have a hold on me.

Your wicked philosophies are as smoke, and I allow them no place here.

I do pray for you, as I ought pray for my enemies. Pray that the Lord would reveal himself to you; that your eyes be open and for the first time you might see him high and lifted up.

Blessed be.

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About Z.

Poetic pipe and cigar enthusiast rifling through the haunted memories of a not so distant past while openly wrestling with faith and God. A rambling writer with the misguided notion that he has something to say. His only redeeming qualities are his wife and children.
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5 Responses to What You Taught, But What I’ve Learned

  1. little soul says:

    very interesting article on forgiveness!
    something christians overlook is the ” love yourself ” part of “love your neighbor as yourself.” And David does say he hates his enemies with ‘perfect hatred’ (psalm 139:22)
    ive always wondered if spiritual crimes can be forgiven…still not sure…im inspired to seek that out

    Liked by 1 person

    • Z. says:

      All things may be forgiven. Not necessarily by the human heart, but by God. Forgiveness, though, must be sincerely sought and asked for; forgiveness ought also produce a willingness in the forgiven to make amends.

      Like

      • little soul says:

        Forgiving only when asked is a new idea i havent heard. It makes a lot of sense, and seems rational. And even refreshing! What is your take on “But if you do not forgive, your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins.” – Im thinking this still applies to what you are saying (Only if asked). Ive heard that spiritual crimes are irreconcilable. And i fully agree. When someone does that to you, they become dead, like not exist anymore. In my situation, if the cult i came out of asked for my forgiveness, I would forgive them, but surely they will never ask.
        I beleive in forgiving, but not forgetting, and not o.k.-ing what they did. And forgiveness does not equal a relationship. Making amends sure, like an apology letter, responding to that, and then nothing more, going your separate ways. I usually end up praying for someone who hurts me, and forgiving them without them asking. But when it comes to spiritual crimes against someone. It gets tricky. it says to pray for your enemies and bless those who curse you. Ive even asked God if I SHOULD pray for my old pastor, becuase it says I need to, but I did not feel the spirit leading me to pray for this person. becuase of the nature of their crime. I would like to get rid of my hate and anger towards this person. But I think forgiveness is a whole different ball game.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Z. says:

    @Little Soul,

    Each time I look in Scripture forgiveness is requested. Even in what you quote from Matthew 6. It comes shortly after the Lord’s prayer. In the Lord’s prayer there is a petition for forgiveness: “…forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us…”

    We ask for forgiveness, and ask that we might be forgiven as we forgive those who would ask us for our forgiveness.

    In 1 John we are told that, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins…”

    Forgiveness is sought by the offender in a state of repentance. Repentance means not to “feel sorry” or “feel bad,” but to be in a place of agreement regarding the offense, intentionally turning away, and seeking to be forgiven.

    Even when forgiveness is granted, the consequences of sin is not erased. We might be cleansed in the sight of God, but our consequences -the direct result of our actions have already been rendered. The result of which could be severed relationships, damaged lives, etc.

    There is not a sin that the holy blood of Christ cannot cleanse, a single life he cannot make whole, a single soul he cannot reconcile to the Father.

    Sin, however, has consequences -some greater than others.

    For instance, the wickedness of that cult has had a tremendous impact on your life. If they ever should (by God’s mercy) come to see the fullness of their sin, repent, and even seek after your forgiveness, the consequence has already been rendered. You -if I understand correctly- cannot have a relationship with them. You can extend your forgiveness, but this does not require you to rebuild relationships, submit yourself to them, or even go on as if you do not have your own wounds that must be attended to.

    The anger and hatred you speak of, I know it all too well. It took several painful years to let my anger and hatred go. It was eating me alive; killing me inside. It took me letting them go. Not giving them power over my life.

    I don’t forgive them. They neither want it, or believe they’ve done anything requiring it. So be it; in the end, God judges. And that’s the thing. That is the HARDEST thing. Letting go of my demands of them and giving it over to God.

    It is hard and sucks because I know I was wronged. I deserve apologies, etc., but in the end, I don’t control them. So I give it to God and let him have it.

    I still have my own wounds to attend to. I’m being treated for PTSD resulting from a violent and abusive home, and that spiritually abusive and cruel cult.

    I’m not angry with them. I don’t hate them. But also, I don’t forgive them. They’re not welcome in my life.

    If anything, pray that the Lord would grant you the power to give your anger and hatred to him, so that you might fully attend to your (very justified) hurt and open wounds; that you might find healing. If you feel lead to pray for them, do; but don’t let guilt force you to pray, or “forgive” when you know you don’t and/or cannot.

    I know this flies in the face of all we’ve been taught, but look who taught us this crap. The very people who shame victims for not being “Jesus enough” to forgive and allow poisonous people to plow over our lives.

    May you find the Lord’s healing; may they find repentance or the fullness of God’s wrath.

    Like

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