Recently, I received a disturbing telephone call. It was from someone from my early childhood. After catching up, he said, “did you know that there was a YouTube video of you?” I said, “there’s no telling!” He went on to say that he had found all of the articles I had written about the abuse I suffered as a child. Then he asked me, “Were you talking about what I did to you?” I was at a loss; I simply said, “I don’t know what you are talking about” He said while reading the articles, he kept trying to piece together the timeline and that a year or so earlier, he was caught sexually abusing me. I don’t remember it; I would have been around 4 years old. He told me that he was sorry that he hurt me.
This call came while I was at work, when I was able to leave work, I left in a fog of hurt and anger. I had told him it was ok, that I forgave him, but did I really mean it? During that sleepless night, I came to the conclusion that I did forgive him. The best part of this story: I never told anyone about the abuse that I suffered; I never gave them the chance to do anything about it. But I often wondered-“if they did know, would they have done anything about it?” After being told that when this particular abuse occurred that there was an end put to it, it felt like a hole deep inside of me filled up. The validation I so desperately needed was there. Someone loved me enough to protect me!
I wondered, “What am I supposed to do with this?” The answer was simple: forgive him and rejoice in knowing that I was valued enough, that someone intervened on my behalf.
I also wondered “Why would he tell me this? Was it to clear his conscience? Was it to truly apologize?” I choose to believe that it was to apologize. I could hear it in his voice. I felt like he had suffered his entire life carrying this around. I hope that he is able to have some closure with that part of his life.
Finding forgiveness for someone who deeply hurt you may be hard to do, but God tells us that forgiveness has no limits. There is a freedom that comes from letting go of bitterness or resentment.
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Ephesians 4:32).