Please watch this video before continuing to read (thank you):
This is a subject that includes something I haven’t talked about here for a long time now and I don’t intend to go into the details or drama of it all other than to say that, as some of you may know, my father for sexually and emotionally abused me throughout my whole childhood.
This isn’t about anger or hatred or resentment (although it would have been a couple of years ago). It’s not a ‘poor me’ plea for sympathy either.’ far from it.
My father died a couple of years ago. I was in a dilemma – did I forgive him before he died or not? As a Christian I knew that was the right thing to do…..but I didn’t feel it in my heart in those days leading up to his death. However, I spoke at length to my Christian sister (who was not abused) and we prayed together intensely and I prayed continually, alone.
I’d held on to the anger, the hate, the pain, the shame, the bitterness and more for all of my adult life. I can honestly say it nearly killed me as I made several suicide attempts over that period of time. I thank God now that I wasn’t successful. My life isn’t all roses, far from it (as goes for the majority of the population). I have my fair share of problems, worries, bad memories, nightmares, illnesses etc, etc but I don’t feel sorry for myself (I used to) – not one bit – in fact I feel blessed to have this life despite all its difficulties. I have also had a fair amount of therapy, some very bad but now with a new therapist who is good. All of this has helped.
Back to forgiveness and this video which really touched me, bringing back memories of those days that I tortured myself trying to decide whether I could in fact forgive such a crime. But gradually it all made sense. God gave me the answers at the right time, in His timing and at the right place. I remember it very well. In the last days of my father’s life, I decided to travel the 50 miles I needed to go to be able to see him in the middle of the night as we’d been told he didn’t have much longer to live. I went to say goodbye. I was frightened at the time, of what feelings seeing him would bring up after all these years. As I reached his bedside and saw this frail, elderly, white haired man with a mask strapped to his face; as I watched his stats on the monitor rise slightly, then dip, then rise again then dip further and gradually further, I knew in my heart what to do. I’d allowed God to lead me His way, not mine.
I sat at the father’s bedside. He was unable to speak because of the oxygen being pumped into his lungs but I gently took his hand (the same hand that inflicted the pain but it didn’t matter then) but all I felt was love and compassion and great sadness for my father’s struggling and obvious discomfort although he was on constant intravenous powerful pain medication. I spoke softly to him although he wasn’t able to reply. I wanted to forgive him; I genuinely and with all my heart wanted to forgive him. I stood up, still gently holding his hand and leaned forward. I leant down and whispered in his ear, “It’s alright now, dad; I forgive you; I love you” and I gently kissed him on the forehead, and I meant it. I genuinely and wholeheartedly meant every word and action. He pulled the life-preserving mask from his face, smiled just a little and opened his eyes just a fraction and for only a moment. He was my dad and I didn’t hate him anymore. Moments later, I watched him slip away peacefully. I wept both with grief and also relief. I prayed that the Lord would take care of him and give him peace. What I didn’t expect was to feel like someone had just lifted a ton weight of books off my back. I realized that in forgiving my father, I’d also forgiven myself and as the video shows, it has been so healing, so freeing – I didn’t expect to feel this but I still do and although I get my bad days (and a fair share of them) and although I have lifelong mental health conditions, I am alive, I am here, I am relieved of my emotional pain that resulted from the terrible abuse, I am free from that. I am forgiven too. Forgiveness starts on the inside. I’ve learned that now. Christ died on the cross so that we, each one, will be forgiven for all our sins. I am God’s child and I am forever grateful and prayerful about that. We are all God’s children. Praise God. God bless you for reading this x