He hurt me. It didn’t matter how long ago it was, or that I was too young to even understand my part in it. He hurt me emotionally in a way that messed me up for a long time.
Even now, decades later, I see evidence of that hurt in the things I do. The way I react to the possibility of being hurt has all the earmarks of a woman who has been deeply scarred.
I fight the temptation to put up a wall. I lay it down again and again at my Jesus’ feet and ask to be softer again. To not be so rigid.
So this one who hurt me so bad so long ago… the one who inflicted these wounds that have now turned to scars. I saw him years later through an acquaintance on Facebook and I wanted to run and hide from him, his picture, his name.
I wanted to pretend that this hurt wasn’t still there. I had forgiven him long ago, hadn’t I? But that didn’t make the hurt of it go away. There was no ill will. I didn’t want bad things to happen to him. That is what forgiveness did. I could put him in proper perspective in my own mind, but seeing him nearly 30 years later, and the mention of his name brought up old feelings. I just didn’t feel the closure that I thought I’d feel from my forgiveness. I still didn’t feel free.
That’s when the holy spirit in me spoke. He said “Ask him to forgive you.”
“What!!? Are you flipping nuts? Forgive me? He’s the one that should be asking MY forgiveness for crying out loud! For all he has done he has NEVER asked MY forgiveness. Why on earth should I ask HIM to forgive me, when what I did was so minor in comparison to what he did to me! I bet he doesn’t still wear scars like these!”
Yes, I know, That’s not exactly the right way to talk to the Holy Spirit. But you know what? We can’t hide what we really think and feel from God so why try? Truth?
So I had a tantrum. Emotions from long LOOOOONG ago were surfaced that I had put to rest, buried.
“Lord, why are you doing this to me? I thought we were done with this? I have forgiven him. He owes me nothing.”…. Enter check in spirit.….. “oh, yeah, I think he OWES me an apology.”
“Well, he does”.
“Let it go Kari. Let it go. Let him be free, let yourself be free. Wash your hands, let me put on a clean garmet for you. Be truly free of the last fringe of hurt he has caused you. And Yes, I know he has caused you hurt. Give it to me and let me bear it. Look at him here on facebook… read what he is writing, you can see that he is mine too. He IS Mine. And I always deal with my own.”
“Let the last fiber of this thing be set free…. really free.”
“Yes, Lord, I will. I will obey you. I will humble myself and ask HIM for forgiveness as an act of obedience and submission to YOU. I will lay this last mantle down.”
So I did. I asked him to forgive me. And he did, but offered nothing else. He didn’t ask for my forgiveness. He didn’t smooth over it. I wrote the note, short and sweet and he wrote back a one word answer…. “Yes.”…. And it was done. My final responsibility in this was over. It was no longer my burden to carry… so I thought.
God had one more surprise for me. A dream.
I don’t know if God ever shows you significant things in your dreams, but occasionally he does to me. I can always tell the difference between a God-dream and just a crazy dream, and this time it was a God dream. In this dream a conversation was had, and some answers were given that healed a part of my heart I didn’t know was still broken. When I woke up I immediately burst into tears of relief, the tears of one finally set free from a prison. Tears that had been pent up waiting to be shed for nearly 30 years. Tears of joy, of sadness, of relief, of goodbye.
Goodbye to the girl still hurt.
Hello to the woman walking free.
Forgiveness is power.
Perhaps you are still holding on to something. Perhaps you need to ask for forgiveness in a place you don’t want to. Perhaps that is exactly what will set you free.
Question: What power has forgiveness given you?
Kari Day is a woman passionately pursuing Jesus in her everyday life…stumbling and falling along the way. She is the co-founder of Allied Women, a community of women helping women to pursue God’s purpose for them. Kari is driven by a passion to see women change the world for Christ by living fully in the purpose he has created them to live. She blogs about living life intentionally and abiding in Jesus at KariDay.com and Allied-Women.com She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three kids, golden retriever and new kitten she recently rescued from under the house. You can connect with Kari on Facebook.