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Question Title Posted By Question Date
want to confront abuser Liesel Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I was sexually abused throughout my childhood by my biological father. Now that I am an adult, I see that my childhood was stolen. I grew up in a great deal of pain.

I would like to confront my abuser and tell him he has not gotten away with it, and will have to answer to God for his crimes. I feel this will help me heal and be able to move on.

I have 7 brothers and sisters, all of whom were treated terribly by him, but they support him and attack and blame me. I see them as 'under his spell.' I think he could be possessed, or at least heavily influenced by evil. Do you think I am safe in confronting this evil person? How would you recommend I go about doing this?

Question Answered by Bro. Ignatius Mary, OLSM

Dear Liesel:

I am sorry to hear that you were abused. But, healing for you will not come by confronting the abuser. I know that it is difficult, but healing comes from forgiveness. It is important, however, to understand what is involved in forgiveness.

Here is what we teach our clients about forgiveness:

  1. Forgiveness is not forgetting: People who try to forget find that cannot. It is an unfortunate quirk of the English language with the phrase, “Forgive and forget”. In actuality this phrase does not mean to “forget” in the sense of not remembering what happened; of course we will remember. God says He will “remember our sins no more” (Heb. 10: 17), but God, being omniscient, obviously cannot literally forget. “Remember no more” means that God will never use the past against us (Ps. 103:12).

    To forget is really “to let go”. We need to “let go and let God”. We let go of the past, but more importantly we let go of the hurt. As long as we do not forgive, as long as we do not let go, we allow the offender of our wounds continue to hurt us.
  2. Forgiveness is a choice not a feeling: Since God requires us to forgive, it is something we can do. God will NEVER ask us to do something that is impossible for us to do; that would be cruel and God is a loving God.

    Forgiveness, however, is difficult for us because it pulls against our feelings and emotional hurts. Forgiveness is not about forgetting our feelings or our emotional hurts. We often will not “feel” like forgiving, but we must forgive anyway. As the Lord's Prayer teaches us, God forgives us “as we forgive others”. But how can God require this of us when we have been hurt so badly?

    God does not expect your feelings and emotional hurts to be healed overnight. He knows and understands our feelings and our hurts. He is a compassionate God and will help us to heal over time, as we are able. What God expects of us is not an immediate emotional healing, but a decision of will to forgive, a decision of will to trust Him to take care of the offender and to heal us, a decision of will to ask God for, and to commit to, being healed of our wounds.
  3. Forgiveness is not letting the person off the hook: Forgiving is about you letting go, but it is not letting the offender off the hook. He will still pay for what he did, either before the Law or before God or both.

    Forgiving is surely difficult for us because it pulls against our concept of justice. We want revenge for offenses suffered. But we are told never to take our own revenge (Rom. 12:9). Revenge does more damage to us than it punishes the offender. God’s justice will prevail, no one can escape it. Never fear, those who hurt us will be held accountable, but we must let God deal with it. In order for God to deal with it, we need to let Him deal with it by letting go.

    “Why should I let them off the hook?” But doing that is precisely the problem — we are still hooked to them, still bound by our past when we do not forgive.

    To forgive does not mean letting the person off the hook; it means letting yourself off the hook.
  4. But you don't understand how much this person hurt me: The problem is that when we do not forgive we, in essence, allow the person to still hurt us! The question is, “How do we stop the pain?” The answer is to forgive!

    It is important to understand that we do not forgive someone for their sake; we do it for our sake so we can be free. Our need to forgive is not an issue between the offender and us; it is between us and God.
  5. Forgiveness is agreeing to live with the consequences of another’s sin: Forgiveness is costly. We pay the price of the evil we forgive. We are going to live with those consequences whether we want to or not; our only choice is whether or not we will do so in the slavery of bitterness and unforgiveness or with the freedom of forgiveness.

    Jesus took the consequences of our sin upon Himself. All true forgiveness is substitutional because no one really forgives without bearing the consequences of the other person's sin. God the Father “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:2 1).

    Where is the justice? we might ask. It is the Cross that makes forgiveness legally and morally right: “For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all” (Rom. 6: 10). This doesn't mean that we tolerate sin. We must always stand against sin, but we must give the offender to God and get on with our life.
  6. How do we forgive from our heart? First we acknowledge the hurt and the hate. If our forgiveness does not visit the emotional core of our life, it will be incomplete. Many feel the pain of interpersonal offenses, but they will not acknowledge it. Let God bring the pain to the surface so He can deal with it. This is where the healing takes place.

    Do not wait to forgive until we feel like forgiving; we will never get there. Feelings take time to heal mostly after the choice to forgive is made and Satan has lost his place (Eph. 4:26, 27). Freedom is what will be gained, not a feeling.
  7. Summary of Points on Forgiveness:
    • Forgiveness is necessary to have fellowship with God.
    • It is not forgetting.
    • It is a choice.
    • Letting the offender off our hook is what frees us.
    • The offender is not off God's hook.
    • God says, “Revenge is mine.”
    • You must acknowledge the hurt and the hate.
    • Forgiveness means we are agreeing to live with the consequences of another's sin — which we have to do anyway.
    • The justice is in the cross.
    • Choice is between the slavery of bitterness or the freedom of forgiveness.
    • Forgiveness means not using the past against the offender.
    • Forgiveness does not mean tolerating the sin or abuse.
    • Why forgive? To stop the pain! As we live in unforgiveness the offender still hurts us!
    • The issue of forgiveness is between you and God only.
    • The act of forgiveness is for your sake, and for your freedom.

Now it is time to Pray...

Remember that by forgiving the offender we are not rationalizing or trying to explain the offender's behavior. Forgiveness deals with the victim's pain, your pain, not another's excuses. Positive feelings will follow in time; freeing you from the past is the critical issue now.

If you are willing to forgive for your sake, so that you can walk away from this webpage free in Christ, free from the past and from person who hurt you, pray the introductory prayer below and then pray the “Prayer to Forgive” for each person on your list:

Heavenly Father, I now ask for your help in forgiving all those people who have hurt me. Although I am still hurting and angry with them, I know that they are your children and that you love them more than I can possibly know. For this reason, my God, I ask you to help me forgive them. I lay down all bitterness, resentment and hatred for this person and I freely choose to forgive them. Teach me to be more merciful, my God, and help me be always willing, just as you are always willing, to forgive those who sin against me. Amen.”

Prayer to Forgive

Lord, I forgive ___________________________ for (specifically identify all offenses and painful memories ).

We will be in prayer for you and for your healing.

God loves you,

Bro. Ignatius Mary

For information on how to receive help see our Help page. We suggest that before contacting us directly for help you try the Seven Steps to Self-Deliverance. These self-help steps will often resolve the problem. Also our Spiritual Warfare Prayer Catalog contains many prayers that may be helpful. If needed you can ask for a Personal Consultation.