After the domestic incident between my ex-husband and I, social services were referred to our home. I remember being so irritated thinking, what did my kids have to do with him putting hands on me, he had never hurt the kids. The social worker came by to my house several times and I kept dodging her visits.
One night she visited at 9 PM, I was out of excuses and there was nothing I could do but let her in. She asked to speak to the kids individually while I waited upstairs. After she was done speaking with my oldest daughter, she asked to speak to me. All I could think was: what did my daughter tell the social worker that she would need to speak to me about. My children receive spankings and I have not problem punishing them, so at this point, I’m thinking that’s why she needed to talk to me. Never in a million years did I expect to hear what came out of her mouth. The social worker asked me if I knew about the incident between my daughter and ex-husband. I was clueless and as she was telling me that my ex-husband had sexually molested her I began to feel numb. I can’t even pinpoint what emotion I felt at that moment but I do know it was a mixture of anger, rage, disgust, confusion, and disbelief.
When I confronted my ex about it, of course, he denied it. I hated him so much for so many reasons. How could he do this to him own daughter, how could he betray her trust, my trust…I wanted him to pay for what he did and suffer. In all honesty, I considered having some friends hurt him but that wouldn’t change what happened to my daughter. What he did was wrong and he is in jail for what he did. If I allowed my anger to take over, I would be giving him the power. So instead, I chose to forgive him, my daughter and kids needed me and me holding on to hate would not serve them.
Trust me when I say this was not an overnight process and it was only when I strengthened my relationship with God that I was able to truly forgive him. Many of us, including myself, do not forgive because we do not really know what forgive means. In my journey to forgiveness, I have learned why I hesitated to forgive.
1. I had the wrong understanding of forgiveness
Forgiving my ex did not mean that I was by no means okay with what he did. It also did not minimize the seriousness of the offense. What happened, happened and there was nothing I could do about it. Forgiving him was also not about reconciliation, it was a condition of my heart. Forgiving him allowed me to be at peace with myself. It freed me from a prison of hate.
2. I didn't think it was fair
I thought about what he did and many times compared it to my indiscretions. What he did was so much worse….but in all honestly wrong is wrong. We all have done something to offend someone at some point in our lives. There are many things I wanted to be forgiven for.
3. I didn't think I could do it
Getting closer to God is the only way that I was able to forgive. There is no way that I alone could have forgiven, God gave me the strength that I needed. There are times that I do not even recognize who I am because the old me would have never forgiven like this. The peace that forgiveness brings is like no other feeling.
4. Forgiveness is not a feeling, it was a choice
Forgiveness is definitely a choice and a process. I cannot promise you that the pain will ever go away and there will be constant reminders. We all have the choice to forgive and sometimes some will come to that realization sooner.
Wherever you are in your journey is okay. I am not telling you to forgive your offender, I am simply sharing my story in hopes that it will help you.