In my last years of ministry, I quit preaching about forgiveness because it did more harm than good.
When I did speak on the subject, I was aiming at the grudge-holding, petty sniping that went on where people used their resentment to keep others trapped in shame. However those people never heard me except to use my words to inflict more wounds on their victims.
Enough of that.
With whatever remnants of pastoral authority I still have, I want to say this to the victims of violence and sexual assault:
You don’t have to forgive your abuser.
I know, I know… the Bible says don’t let the sun go down on your anger. But frankly, I think it would be better to go to bed mad rather than scared or hopeless. Get out of harm’s way if you can. You’ve turned the cheek plenty of times. It’s time to rescue yourself. By the way, asking for help is part of the rescue operation.
I hope that there will be a day when the sun goes down and you can finally go to bed feeling… safe.
My friend, Dr. Christy Sim, is an expert on surviving and healing. You can see her website at https://drchristysim.wordpress.com/. If you’d like to support her work, go to https://www.patreon.com/DrChristySim