For A Crime I Did Not Commit

10 07 2013

Many of us have suffered unthinkable acts at the hands of people who would be considered criminals if the world at large knew what they had done.

Their activities were never exposed, or if they were, had been quickly dismissed by people who should have protected us. In some cases, their turning away allowed the perpetrator to continue to dismantle our bodies, our hearts, and our minds.

There are several such people in my history. In the quiet times of their lives, do they ever think about the damage they’ve done? Do they even give me a second thought? For all intents and purposes, I would have to say that they do not. They go on about their happy lives, unaffected by my pain.

Meanwhile, I relive their actions and words. The memory is as fresh in my mind today as if these things happened yesterday. I can tell you what they were wearing, where they were standing, what they were saying, word for word.

Ask me to tell you about any one of the many incidents, and you’ll discover my emotions rising as I relate the horrid details.

I’ve been incarcerated for a crime I did not commit.

No one arrested me. I’ve never had a court appearance, and yet I’m locked up…

…in captivity.

My cell is small, only about six inches by four inches!

You see, my prison is my mind.

I forged my own chain; each link is comprised of another unforgiven act committed against me.

Meanwhile, they are free. Free to live, to laugh, to carry on without giving me a second thought.

What’s wrong with this picture?

What they did to me was wrong – dead wrong, but I’m the one imprisoned.

How did this happen?

It’s not fair!

For all my whining about this, what has changed?

Not a thing.

I’m in chains, while they enjoy liberty.

I do this to myself, you understand.

To forgive them feels like they will never be brought to justice; like I’m saying that what was done was no big deal.

EVERY INCIDENT WAS A VERY BIG DEAL!

My brain was scrambled, my shame mechanism broken, my sense of value destroyed, and my personality split.

That’s a big deal.

Yet, Jesus asks me to forgive those who persecute me and spitefully use me.

Really?

It boils down to this: How much do I trust God? Do I really believe that He can work all this garbage for good? Do I believe that His plans for me are for good and not for evil?

If I answer “no” to these questions, then forgiveness is impossible.

Someone has to be the judge, jury, prosecutor, and executioner. If I don’t believe that God will be this for me, then I must handle this case myself.

So long as I insist on sitting in the Judge’s seat, though, there is no room on the bench for God. His hands are tied, and He cannot act.

Meanwhile, the “perps” are enjoying life. Unaware that they are in my court, under my judgment.

The sad truth is that my condemnation has no effect on them whatsoever…zip, zilch, nada! 

When I’ve finished their “hearing,” no one is going to arrest them and lock them up. There will be no execution, no matter how many times I try their case and condemn them to death.

I think the part that ticked me off the most is the fact that He loves my perpetrator, too – is “not willing that any should perish, but that all – even the jerks in my life – should come to repentance.”

Really, Lord? 

This process will twist your head into a knot!

In the end, I have one of two choices:

I can forgive them, pray for them, and ask Jesus to give me His mind for them, His love for them (which doesn’t mean I have to let them anywhere near me again if they are not safe, by the way), and go free.

Or I can continue to replay their heinous acts – which means dozens, or even hundreds of times I commit against myself mentally what they did to me once. (They raped me once, I’ve “raped” myself hundreds of times. Why would I choose to do this to myself?)

I can refuse to forgive them until they “pay” for what they did. (How can they go back in time and undo what was done? They can’t. They can’t give back what they stole. It can never be repayed by them.)

…And I can remain in my self-made prison, in bondage…

…for a crime I did not commit.

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47 responses

5 08 2013
obiamaka onyebum

Wow! This hit straight home. Over the years, I’ve learnt to forgive, to let go. It might take a while but I’ve also learnt to forget, for some, it takes really really long but the love of God strengthens us. Great write up!

5 08 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks. For some in my past forgetting was easy. For others…well, Lord willing, that day will come. 🙂

\o/

4 08 2013
Jo Yule

I love the honesty that flows through your writing. Thank you for visiting my blog and the lovely encouraging comments you leave behind. I appreciate them.

4 08 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thank you for stopping by! I enjoy reading your posts – or there would be nothing to comment on!

I love the banquet the Lord sets before us here in Blogtopia. I come away from reading and commenting feeling as though I’d eaten enough for five adults!

\o/

15 07 2013
tric

I will never forgive the man who stole my childhood and led to so much heartache for so many. I do not think it is fair to ask any of us to wipe his slate clean. However I have ceased to hate him or what he did. I look at the life I have now and maybe in a way I am the way I am because of it. As I am a very happy and relatively strong individual that is a good thing so I do not mourn my past. But forgive? Sorry no chance.

15 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

I know what you mean. He stole my childhood after splitting up my parents, then systematically sought to destroy ME because he couldn’t get to my father…in almost every way imaginable.

What I’ve learned, though, is that by forgiving him, I am no longer controlled by him or by anything he did. By refusing to forgive him, I lost. My feelings toward him mattered not at all, and were of no effect on his happy life. He stole my past. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let him have my present or my future!

Forgiving him didn’t mean we had to become buddy-buddy,” it just meant I quit mentally repeating TO MYSELF what he did all those years ago. 😉 I did it for no one but myself, it was eating me alive.

Thanks for your comment, Tric. Seems like so many here have had similar experiences. That saddens and sickens me.

13 07 2013
PaperGiftsForEstefany

This is a FABULOUS post. So true. Thanks so much. I’ve found it really helpful to think of it this way… I take it off MY HOOK and put it on Papa God’s hook! (And He’s got a bigger – and fairer – hook). Big hug

13 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

It takes a LOT of trust in the Lord to do so, I’ve discovered.

\o/

10 07 2013
findingmyinnercourage

This is indeed powerful! “Remembering what Jesus did for me is what finally helped me to let go. Such freedom I’ve found as a result!” as you quoted above – I need to do this with something in my personal life regarding my stepdaughter. I simply can’t get past it. Your words are going to help me tremendously!

10 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

That’s wonderful. I have some issues of my own to finally let go, as well. I’ll probably tell about one of them tomorrow.

\o/

10 07 2013
Prodigal Chick

Reblogged this on Prodigal Chick and commented:
The ultimate test of trust in god. I struggle with this myself. It is heart breaking when evil seems to prevail.

10 07 2013
inthepottershands988

Great post, Tami!!! Your illustration about us being judge, jury, prosecutor, and executioner when we hold on to unforgiveness is spot on! You pointed out the futility of unforgiveness. It does nobody any good and worst of all it makes us bitter. Thank you for the reminder that God loves those offenders who hurt us. Blessings!!

10 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for your comments. You can tell it was a tough process to go through. Forgiving people and letting them “off the hook” (which they were never on – except in my mind) goes against all sensibilities, doesn’t it?
\o/

11 07 2013
inthepottershands988

Yes, it does. It is tough! It goes against our nature. Forgiveness is a supernatural act. I like the quote from C.S. Lewis, “God forgives the unforgivable in us so we may forgive the unforgivable in others.” He says something like that. I might not have remembered verbatim.

11 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

🙂

\o/

11 07 2013
robbyefaye

Oh, Tami, I can so very much relate! Thanks for this post.
It took me over 30 years of fighting with myself, God and my mind to finally realize that it did NOT affect them in the least.
God loves you and will be with you through all you will go through.
God’s Blessings.

11 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

🙂

\o/

10 07 2013
melanie jean juneau

you’ve learned the secret, sister

10 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

Took me long enough!
\o/

10 07 2013
melanie jean juneau

when we struggle and suffer for a long time we treasure what we receive

10 07 2013
graciousg

This is such a great post, and it’s so true..Forgiveness is something we do for ourselves not necessarily for those who hurt us.When don’t forgive, we hold ourselves back, imprisoned by memories, grudges and anger while your offenders go about living their lives. God help us.
Years back i recall meeting one of the men in my past who abused me as a child, he seemed so happy and fulfilled with his wife and children. Though angry, I realized that i needed to forgive myself, my past, let go of the past and move on with my God-given, redeemed life.
God is indeed our peace and comfort.
Just for you to know I am reblogging this, and posting it on my facebook page.

10 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thank you, Gracious-G! Love your name, by the way. It’s my youngest daughter’s middle name. 😉

\o/

10 07 2013
Kathleen

I recently came across some papers that I had written all the ‘hurts’ a certain person had committed against me— so I would ALWAYS remember…. I threw them away, realizing that all I need to remember is that Christ suffered for me when I just as much an offender. He has taught me the Remember Message of the OT isn’t to remember the hurts, but the amazing rescue! Thanks for this Remembrance!! We all need to be given this freedom!

10 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

Remembering what Jesus did for me is what finally helped me to let go. Such freedom I’ve found as a result!
\o/

10 07 2013
Shofar

This post is so profound, so true. Satan has taken so many captive by mind control. Goes to show you how important the Word of God is. Faith in God, faith to believe God, comes only by hearing, believing and obeying God’s Word. It is our passport to freedom and whom the Lord has set free will be free indeed. But we have to give God our minds everyday; we must have the mind of Christ in our own minds and hearts. It is a battle with Satan every single day to not listen to him and allow him to mess with our minds! Thanks, Marty!
-Liz

10 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

It’s all about being transformed by the renewing of our mind!

Thanks for your comment, Liz. I appreciate what you’ve added.

\o/

10 07 2013
annabachinsky

This is so good Tami! Often times we are our own prisoners because we hold onto un-forgiveness and we are the one’s who cage ourselves in for years on end when we could have been set free a long time ago with Jesus’ help.

It’s so important to forgive the people that hurt us not just for their sake but for our own. There is so much freedom in letting go of grudges and hurts that keep us in chains. Wonderful post. Hope you have a blessed day!

10 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

What you’ve said is so true, but it certainly is a process, isn’t it?

\o/

10 07 2013
theywhoseek

This is a true blessing to read. Praise the Lord . . . He releases the chains that bind all of us. ~ Blessings ~

10 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

He is so good to us!

\o/

10 07 2013
Tony

Excellent post worth repeating and re-reading again and again.

10 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

I’m so glad it spoke to you, Tony. 🙂

\o/

10 07 2013
Tony

There’s an old saying that says that when you forgive, a prisoner goes free and that prisoner is you. That’s always stuck with me.

10 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

So true!
\o/

10 07 2013
Rebekah L

Love this post!

10 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks Rebekah!

\o/

10 07 2013
Pure Glory

Powerful!

10 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

Oh that we would just accept God’s wisdom, forgive, and be free, eh?

\o/

10 07 2013
Pure Glory

Amen!

10 07 2013
blmaluso

Just to let you know…I will be reblogging, posting to Facebook, and also emailing your link to friends.family to pass on this awesome message.

10 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

Really? Wow, thanks!

\o/

10 07 2013
blmaluso

Wow….this is so powerful! You have articulated such an awesome truth and reality. Thank you for sharing…only the love of Jesus can set us free. So many of us are held prisoner because of wicked things that were done to us; and then because of our response to them. It took too many years for me to finally grasp what “forgiveness” and “giving it to the Lord” meant. Praise be to Jesus who gives us the peace we search for.

10 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

I’m loving the “peace” part. I guard mine jealously!

Thanks for taking the time to comment. 🙂

\o/

10 07 2013
Jan

Heart wrenching and filled with truth. You have discovered the key to freedom! Thank you for sharing from the heart. (Posting a link to this on my Facebook account

10 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks! It’s been a long, slow journey. I’m so thankful that the pain is over.

\o/

10 07 2013
TeachX3

I cannot enthusiastically yell AMEN loud enough! When we choose choice number one, Jesus gives back what they stole… we are released from bondage, set free from the pain through Christ. It is NOT easy, but nothing worth anything ever is. Glory to God… for HE has made a way for each of us when there is no other way. Praise Jesus, may He bring His beloved into His arms of comfort and give them His Peace! Again… AMEN!!

10 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

🙂

\o/

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