One of the most important and difficult spiritual issue for children of abuse: forgiveness for the abuser.
If God condemns the evil but has mercy on the perpetrators, can we do less?
We have seen that children (and the families of children) who are being sexually manipulated find every reason to excuse the behavior of their abusers and blame themselves.
Such toxic “forgiveness” keeps them trapped in victimization and trauma and pain. In order to heal, it is vital that survivors of childhood sexual abuse redirect their blame away from themselves, first toward their abusers and those who failed to protect them, then toward evil, and finally in part toward the God who created those possibilities. Anything less is not authentic and to expect any child or adult survivor of sexual abuse or incest to buy into this is willing them to fail.
To demand that they forgive their abusers as any prerequisite to healing or to God’s mercy (or ours!) only invites a false and damaging resignation.
For me it was a long way down the line, after years and years of healing work, of prayer, and of raging (in therapy and in prayer) at my abusers, that I was ready to open myself to the possibility of forgiveness. No amount of willed or false or hopeful forgiveness was going to fix me or heal what had been done to me.
We can get to forgiveness, yes. But there are not shortcuts. And self-forgiveness and true healing must come first.
Continued tomorrow …