WARNING: This post contains brutal honesty. You may not like me very much after to learn of some of my inner thoughts and struggles!
I had a wonderful talk with a wonderful friend today. He has been walking with Tim and I through this whole ordeal. Tim even stayed at their house for a little while when he wasn’t at home yet while I was trying to decide if I was going to try to work this out or not. He is part of the small group of men who are walking Tim through this process and holding him accountable. I love those men.
He asked to meet with me so that he could get my perspective. He hears from Tim regularly, but he wanted to take some time to hear from me…the other side of the story. I really respect that.
We had a good talk today. He really challenged me. A lot. I needed that and I have a lot to think and pray about.
One thing he told me was that I have to make a choice to trust and to forgive. Until I make that choice I am going to live in this prison of pain and despair.
Do you have any idea how impossible that feels right now? Do you have any idea how much fear I have in trusting him? Do you know how ridiculous it sounds to forgive him right now?
But it’s necessary. If I continue to live in the fear of what might happen I won’t be able to live in what is happening.
So after I was done meeting with him I listened to a message from Elevation Church about forgiveness. It drove home all that Keith told me and really hit me hard. And God broke in and helped me to start wrapping my head around this forgiveness concept.
He used Romans 12:17-21. I have read this before! You might have too. But today I understood it differently.
Read this with me:
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,
“I will take revenge;
I will pay them back,”
says the Lord.
I realized I have been trying to do God’s job. In some ways I have been trying to take revenge, to make Tim pay for what he’s done. And it’s not working. I can’t make him hurt the way I hurt. And that frustrates me. And I continue to live in this dark pit of pain. I could never do enough to “pay him back” for what he’s done. Nothing would ever feel like the debt was paid.
And honestly, I don’t want to do that. The good parts of me don’t want to punish him. But the human parts, the destroyed parts do.
But that is not from God. And God can heal those destroyed parts.
I also have to accept that I have no control over how God “gets revenge”. I’ll bet it looks a lot different from what I would do! I don’t think God is going to hurt Tim. I don’t think he is going to destroy him. I can’t say that I know for sure what God would do, but I don’t think that’s what it’s going to be. There are consequences, yes. And God holds to those because He is just. But I don’t think God is going to just try to harm him.
And can I be ok with that? Can I trust that to God and leave it in His Hands? Can I “let” (please note the sarcasm in that word) God “pay him back” with GRACE? And LOVE? And FORGIVENESS? And RESTORATION after brokenness? Because I think that’s what God might do.
Can I give up the “right” to get revenge? Can I give up the “right” to guard myself and keep myself from him? Can I give up the “right” to hold this over his head for the rest of our lives?
Those are hard questions to answer. But I think, after all that God has showed me today, that I am getting there.
And Keith was saying, as did Steven Furtick, that it’s not a feeling. I can’t wait until I feel like forgiving.
I have to choose it.
And I will have to choose it over, and over, and over, and over, and over……..
And that is a daunting task to look at. Overwhelming.
Does that mean it won’t hurt anymore? Unfortunately, no. It will still hurt. But I think it will not have so much power over me. I will be obedient, so God will walk me through that. And over time it will get better.
But as with most things, I can’t look at the whole task for the rest of our lives. I have to look at today. This moment. Because who knows what tomorrow holds??
Romans 12:21 says: Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
Keith kept reassuring me that I have the strength to do it. I have the character to do it. I doubt that oftentimes, but he believes it right now! He said I can be “She-Ra: Princess of Power”!! (Anybody remember her??? Anyone??? 🙂
Forgiveness is not a passive thing. It is not something that is done in weakness. It is not a small thing.
I don’t think the word “conquer” connotes anything passive! Them’s fightin’ words!
By not forgiving Tim I am letting evil conquer me. I am letting satan pull me down and drag me to those places that hurt so bad and hold me there. I am letting him tug at my heart and keep me from moving forward. I am letting him keep me stuck.
I don’t want that. So what do I have to do? Conquer evil by doing good.
Can’t I just be neutral? Isn’t that enough?
Nope. I have to do good.
That means letting go. That means loving on Tim despite what he’s done. That means praying good things for him. That means forgiving his little annoyances now and not letting them take me back to what he’s done. That means letting myself be free.
Free to love him. Free to forgive him. Free to trust him. Free to move on. Free to seek God and find out what He has for us now. Free to be good parents on the same team. Free to be the Godly wife I can be.
Am I there yet? No.
Have I made this choice as of this moment. I’m sorry to say, but no. I need to be ready for that. God and I have to have some talks so I can do that.
But I finally have a better grip on what forgiveness looks like in this situation. I have been frustrated up until now trying to figure out what in the world it would mean to forgive Tim.
I think I have a better understanding now.
Now I have to figure out my choice. The ramifications for both are huge. They each take me down a very different path. Life looks very different when I look down each road.
I have to make a choice. I know what I want to choose. But I need to figure out how to pull the trigger.