For those who have experienced traumatic events leaving deep scars, what is it to forgive? Can I ask them to truly forgive before some measure of healing takes place? And how can I help bear that burden? (Galatians 6:1-2, “…Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”)
Personally, I find that healing can’t even really begin until you forgive. Forgiveness isn’t for the other person, it’s for you. I’ve had people approach me after not speaking to me for years after something happened between us, and tell me how much what they did has been eating them up. But I had already forgiven them, so I was fine. At that point me vocalizing that forgiveness allowed them to heal. If I hadn’t already forgiven them though, I might be going through the same pain, having never started to heal.
Just a personal perspective. Thanks for raising the question. I’m sure others have been there too.
Pls do go through this link
in this link,there is a real life story of a women called corrie ten boom…i hope her message and experience on how to forgive…people who has brought scars in our life…will help you a lot
@carolsong88 In terms of walking with someone through this process, I found an article in Psychology Today that seemed helpful, even though it is not from a Christian perspective. My first question would be, how do you think we as Christians are uniquely equipped and strengthened to go through these healing stages? @Joshua_Mathew shared Corrie Ten Boom’s testimony, which I also found powerful, and I wonder how these elements from the article played out in her own experience.
Here is my summary of the points from the article followed by a link. I am not saying that all of these steps are correct, but I think it offers a good starting point for discussing how to walk with someone through their struggles. We need to give them a safe space to share and process their anger, help them recognize that they and their perpetrator are made in God’s image / need Jesus and to encourage them to walk through their suffering with our encouragement and the aid of God’s Spirit.
What are your guys’ thoughts? Are these steps helpful? Do they provide you with new language about how we can help those struggling through traumatic life events? May God grant us discernment in this discussion.
- anger must be acknowledged and processed
- sharing revenge fantasies and anger with trusted individual can help
- finding common ground between yourself and the one who hurt you can help you heal
- also acknowledging how you are different from your aggressor helps you differentiate your identity and maintain emotional stability
- forgive yourself (if necessary)
- be willing to acknowledge the reality of your broken life and to grow through your suffering
Forgiving Because We Are Forgiven - The Cross
Personally, I think part of what Christianity brings to the table in this process is the cross of Jesus and a deep understanding of the grace of God in our own lives. Along these lines, here is a good rendition of “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us” and a sermon by Tim Keller on how to apply the truth that forgiveness flows from being forgiven by God through Jesus.
"It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom"
Thank you, @Joshua_Mathew for your link to Corrie Ten Boom’s testimony. I am deeply aware of the principle of forgiving others as we have been forgiven. Recently I have become aware, though, that as tough as it is for mature Christians to forgive where we’ve been hurt, it is yet more difficult for baby Christians. My struggles to forgive are resolved by my acute knowledge of the massive forgiveness I have had from Jesus, and knowing his character. With these two
men who are baby Christians, whom I’m discipling, don’t have that same understanding yet. So
I have realized that I blithely mention forgiveness in the face of their crippling trauma history. This is where I acutely feel the need to bear that burden with them. Am I not trusting the Holy Spirit enough to do in them what he has done in me to enable me to forgive?
Wow, @SeanO, some good stuff, especially the Psychology Today article. I have always shied away from psychological interventions, but these seem to be Scriptural. Thanks again.****
I believe you’re right, @Jamie_Hobbs; I guess I need to trust God to bring them to the place where they can forgive.
Thanks to the group for sharing. I know this is a long time coming, but I thought you would appreciate a follow-up to the individual and the situation. In the months following, this brother has been hit many times where he was hurt and further traumatized, usually about earthly family attacks or people stealing money from him. In the worst case, when people around him thought he might be homicidal, people from his church came to talk and pray with him, all the time treating him with love and respect, until he acknowledged that he had given up his desire to be avenged. (I have to admit I haven’t gone back to ask about the formal forgiveness statement.) Also, the brother who had publicly slandered him has since become reconciled, and, after Thanksgiving this year, told him he loved him. Through all this time I have been so proud of the members of my church, who stood with him and loved him and prayed for him, and have seen not only a greater
evidence of faith in this new believer, but also a greater love among those working together with him. This is how God works. He is so awesome! Thanks again for your encouragement; this is an awesome community.
@carolsong88 Praise the Lord for His faithfulness! Glad to hear of how the Church shared the love of Christ and reconciliation was accomplished