Sometimes, we believe that once we've forgiven, we're home free. At least that's how I felt. But I found myself in an unusual predicament recently. One of the people who once raped me when I was a young girl confronted me about my book. It turned into an argument and as quickly as I could blink an eye, I was angry all over again... I felt victimized all over again. I was filled with anger and indignation, fury, the kind that wants revenge suddenly. This coming from an ordained minister and a person who teaches forgiveness regularly. This coming from the person who thought she was completely free of her past. And here was the preacher with a butcher knife in her hand and a heart filled with wrath. I'd regressed because the surface looked healed, but a nice kick to the ribs brought back all the pain of the past.
After a couple of weeks of loathing and plotting and desiring harm come to him, I finally approached him and apologized for cursing him out and threatening his life. That felt like pulling teeth, like pouring alcohol in an open wound. He finally took the easy way out and said he didn't remember raping me and I said it didn't matter and that all was forgiven. Seems like once I said it, the whole forgiveness process began to renew itself in me. I cried though. I cried because of what those two weeks put me through. I cried for myself. I cried for all victims who even 20 years later find themselves having to prove they were victimized. I cried because people would rather believe you are simply loose than to believe someone took advantage of you. At least that has been my experience. I cried because I lowered myself to a place I haven't been in many years. And, I cried because that little girl that was hurt is still a part of me and she will forever be.
Forgiveness sometimes must be renewed. Sometimes, we have to check ourselves and make sure we are doing what we should do and feeling what we should feel. Sometimes, God allows situations just so we can see we aren't where we thought we were and need to work on being more like HIM. Wouldn't you know that after I finally got the last morsel of hate out of my heart that something bad happened to him. He went to jail and an officer beat him up pretty bad. For two seconds, I almost felt relief, almost felt that he was getting his punishment for hurting me, that his trial was proof that God loved me enough to defend me. But then I remembered that we should never feel happy at another person's problems. We should never glory in the suffering of others, especially when they've hurt us but the Bible encourages us to forgive and pray for them, to do good to them.
Just one more stage of healing for me... just one more level of growth!