You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well- Lewis B. Smedes
Yesterday I found out that the man who raped me had gotten married and has a child. Honestly when I saw the pictures through a mutual associate who does not know about the rape, I felt all types of emotions and forgiveness was not one of them. For a few seconds I felt anger and hate trying to rise back up. Who was he to be happy? Does she know what he did to me? What type of father will this rapist become? Even though I had been praying for him throughout the years and actively working to shed the layers of negative emotions and unforgiveness, in those first few moments I was walking in the flesh.
Then I had to remind myself, I can’t wish ill on someone and say I’ve forgiven them. I can’t judge him based on what was done ten years ago. I’m certainly not the woman I was ten years ago. I decided that it was better for me to pray, walk in love and forgiveness towards him verses continuing to stare at his picture and wish evil to come his way. In the past, I forgave him so that I could be free of the bondage that held me captive.Yesterday I made that decision again with God’s strength. Forgiveness is a decision and must be done often for the same event sometimes.
That night I called a friend who had also survived rape in college. She’s a believer also and she was very encouraging and supportive. She helped me to remember that I am human and it’s okay to have initial negative reactions but it’s the decisions I made quickly following the incident that proved that God had done heart surgery on me and I was strong and delivered from the past.
God has truly done heart surgery on me! Like the lady in this picture, in 2003, I feel like my heart was literally taken out and replaced with a new one. Back in college, following the years after the rape, I was angry, hateful, bitter, fearful, insecure and confused. I couldn’t say the word rape, I literally crossed out the rapist’s name in every book that I read, I wrote depressing and angry poems and made bad choices in my relationships. When I gave my heart to the Lord fully, I asked Him to heal me of all the pain and make me new. I sought the help of my campus minister and she encouraged me to start going to counseling. I joined Word of Faith in Southfield MI, started receiving life changing messages about God’s love, healing, faith and I learned to have an intimate relationship with God. Years later, I know that I am healed and restored and I refuse to let this recent incident take me back. Back to the horrible place that I once was. God has given me a new heart, a new start and I wont allow the past, the young man or the devil to destroy all that I have worked so hard in God to overcome.
To the man who changed my life forever I say the following: I pray God’s mercy, grace, correction, protection, peace, comfort, restoration and salvation for you. I pray you are or do become the man who God has created you to be. I pray you learn what is means to be a godly faithful, nonviolent husband and a godly devoted father. I pray you make better choices and live a holy life in front of your son. I pray you never ever put another person through the things you put me through. I pray you seek God for forgiveness and you learn to forgive yourself. I pray God’s blessing over your family. In Jesus name amen.
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