Thursday, October 25, 2007

Walking the line between flesh & forgiveness

I hope this helps someone. God wants me to write about this to reach someone. Maybe it will even help me.

I live and care for my childhood perpetrator. Not only did this person harm me, but, allowed others to harm me. The abuse was such that you read about in the paper today. But, in those days childhood abuse was rarely approached. The abuse perpetrated on myself was sexual, physical & emotional. To the extent that I was made to eat my own feces. My most significant abuser was my mother.

She now has Alzheimer's & has lost the capability to abuse. She now tries to be the mother that God meant her to be. Then, again, maybe this is her abuse. My decision to move her in was based on, "would I want to go to a nursing home". Well, I think that was it. Also, there was the "Honor thy mother & father" command in the Bible.

Forgive? I believe I have forgiven. But, now & then, I feel resentment & anger. These feelings do not feel like they are built on the past, but, more like the present. My erroneous thought is that "you took away my childhood, now, you are taking away my adult life". I was wrong, these feelings are build upon from the past. So, forgive but not forget. Always the struggle for the Christian.

I have told myself that my decision to move her in was to show her honor. I know that I was trying to honor her. I spoke to a pastor about this situation & his thought was that I was to honorable. I don't know how you can be to honorable. He didn't help much. So I kept going looking for my true motives.

One day she came to me crying. She said that she remembered that her brother had molested her as a child. My mind flashed in an incident between her & I years before. She had told me then that when I was seven years old, she had found semen in my underwear. When I asked her what she had done about this she said" nothing." "Brother will be brothers". This allowed the abuse to continue. So, here she is in front of me with the same issue and wanting me to comfort her. Catch every thought to the obedience of God, I thought. I told her I was sorry (even though I wasn't feeling that) & to forgive him.

She became a Christian when I was 18 years old. I had gone to prison for a short time & she sought God for answers. Her behavior did change a bit, but, absolutely no searching of self. She does not see her own wrongs or seek forgiveness. So, I have concerns about her salvation (read posting: Forgiveness). I have tried to go there with her, but, she denies her part in my abuse.

So, what to do with all these feelings & thoughts. We are not to be led by our feelings. They lie to us. I know that I have forgiven her. So, my feelings that come up are a lie from Satan. I respond to these feelings with "I forgave her & forgive daily. I will not fall for your lie." If we fall under the belief that I truly have not forgiven then I will go into depression & hopelessness over my situation. The lie says, you can never forgive. God knows that it is hard to forgive, but, the Bible does not say that it is impossible. Only Satan can put those doubts in your head.

Looking at my motives. They are a bit questionable. I still search for the answer. My flesh & Satan say it is to show her I'm better than her. This is such a negative thought & not in my character, that I doubt this to be true. Honoring? I know that this is in my heart. But, why? The answer is that my heart as been taken over by the Lord Jesus Christ. Whom in His glory sees the goodness in His children. He does not want one to be lost & would care for the most ugly among us. His heart is within me, even though my flesh likes to pop up now & then & say "This is foolish". I continue to catch those thoughts & walk forward in the path of my God.

Thank you for letting me ramble about this & I hope & pray that those who need this are reading. It certainly has helped me. I now understand my motives. To be has much like Jesus as I can & to show His love.


prettylady said...

Darling, you are forgetting. You do not do the forgiving. You open up to the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit heals you, and forgiveness is automatic. If you are trying to force yourself to forgive by denying and repressing your feelings, you have not truly forgiven and you have not healed.

Feelings, dear, must be experienced and acknowledged or they shall not pass. Feelings are not lies; sometimes the ideas which produce those feelings are lies, but in order to expose those lies, we must look them in the face. The feelings are a demand that you look the lie in the face and understand that it is a lie.

I imagine that you have taken your mother in because you require healing in your relationship with her. Please remember that it is your responsibility only to listen to the Holy Spirit as regards your own healing; it is not your responsibility to heal your mother.

prettylady said...

P.S. I highly recommend the book 'Leaving the Saints: How I Left the Mormons and Found my Faith' by Martha Beck, for an insightful and healing story of a woman who copes with precisely these same issues of childhood abuse, denial, faith, healing and forgiveness.

Given55 said...

Thank you PrettyLady

Phelan said...

mayhaps it was for me, mom. Not being crass, but I still think she needs to go into a home. Mainly for your physical health. All of us {your children} agree. We worry about you, as well as her.

Sunny Sky said...

It is a struggle, thank you for sharing that personal story. I have issues with my parents too. As long as they deny and pretend like nothing happened like mine do, They can't move on from it. Anyway, thanx for posting this and by the way, thanx for reading my blog as well.

Bob said...

True love is not "feeling" it is a choice. The definition of Agape (the Greek word translated as Love in the bible) is to choose for the highest good of the other, over what you want. To put their needs first. Forgiveness is also a choice, not a feeling. It is a choice to not be enslaved by the anger, hate, and fear that comes when you hang on to that wrong done. It is a choice to be free but it is also a choice that must be made again and again when those old crimes against you rise up in your mind again.
Glad to find you through Phelan.