Survivors of RapeQUESTION: How can survivors of rape ever forgive?ANSWER:
Are you one of the survivors of rape? It is possible that you might not yet be in a place where you can forgive. However, once you go from victim of rape to a survivor of rape, it will come.
In order to heal, you have to forgive. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting nor does it mean condoning what your attacker did. Forgiving sets you free. It’s not about the other person, it is about your health and your healing.
Carrying around the additional burden of hatred will only wear on you. In fact, not forgiving actually allows the rapist to continue his control over you. Forgiving is not an easy thing to do. The memories you have will remain with you forever. Over time, you will begin to heal as you allow God to shine His light or mercy, love, and grace on your hurting places. The benefits of forgiving at any time are immeasurable.
God will take care of the wrongs done to me, the wrongs done to you. That’s His job. Every knee will bow to God and will be held accountable for the things they did while on this planet. Our job is to forgive. God commands it of us and it is for our own good.
I think about Jesus at times when I have felt like I have gotten a raw deal over the rape that has happened to me. I think about how He came with one purpose to His earthly life -- to die for me and for my sins. He allowed Himself to be put on trial illegally, to be judged unfairly, and to be put upon a cross of wood, nails through his hands and feet. He was beaten, wore a crown of thorns, and had His clothes taken from Him. As His life flowed from Him, He forgave the thief on the cross next to Him. As He neared His death, He asked His Father to forgive the people who were murdering Him.
Now I know I am not Jesus -- not even close. Why do I talk about Jesus when I am answering the question; how can survivors of rape ever forgive? I talk about Jesus because He forgave. Even as His life poured out for us, He forgave.
It took me years, but I did forgive my rapist. I can’t describe the feeling of freedom, the relief, and the burden being lifted off my shoulders. I look back and wish I would have let go of all the pain so much sooner.
How can survivors of rape ever forgive? We forgive because it frees us. Give it to God and let Him handle it. He can and He will heal you.