This is another re-post from late October of 2011 and the one I mention in the introduction to the previous post.
This is about forgiveness and I warn the reader that it is full of graphic content describing an actual rape...my own as a 12 year old boy. These last two post I consider to be some of the most significant writing I have EVER done...It was LIFE-Saving work.
Vengeance...Retribution...Wrath...Judgement...It might sound as if I am pulling words out of an Old Testament Bible Scripture but alas, I am not. Those were and frankly still are relevant words to me in my own life's story when I once again began to think about forgiving the 3 men that assaulted and raped me as a 12 year old boy.
Forgiveness?! Are you out of your mind...there was a time, not long ago when I could visualize putting a bullet in the head of each one of those bastards...and feeling unsatisfied because they wouldn't have suffered enough! How is THAT for Vengeance, Retribution, Wrath and HATE for you? Me...their judge and jury? Damn right...I'd be their executioner....I wanted to make them PAY!
Funny thing is though..over the last 36 years...that unquenchable fire of rage, wrath, vengeance and hate was consuming only one person and doing them great emotional, psychological and yes...spiritual harm...and that person was ME.
A while back I wrote several posts throughout a few week period that dealt with this very subject of forgiveness. And as a result...I got closer and closer to that place in my heart where I might forgive them...I didn't...perhaps I couldn't, I don't know it doesn't much matter now: The bottom line is I did not forgive and as a result, I won't completely heal or even have a chance at healing until I do.
Forgiveness, as I have come to understand, intellectually at least...is for the FORGIVER...and in this particular case that would be ME. Why can't I do this? Why must I hold onto that HATE & ANGER so tightly that even in death, you probably could not pry my cold, dead fingers off of it!? Typically when confronted with a difficult task like this, unpleasant...emotionally hard...something I've needed to do to help my recovery, it has just taken a little time and I have been able to move forward.
The prospect of forgiving those 3 guys seems different to me somehow. And I think FAITH or a lack there of has a great deal to do with it. Because...if I forgive them, the vengeful side of me seeks a guarantee that they WILL indeed be punished, that they will suffer like I have suffered. Well...God doesn't work that way, he won't make that promise to me...he owes me nothing. No...Romans 12:17-19 says:
"Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do NOT take revenge, my dear friends but leave room for God's Wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay" Says the Lord".
Well that does seem fairly clear cut, doesn't it? And ultimately the bottom line is this: I know now that forgiveness is for ME, that I am the one who benefits the most for offering it unconditionally. The anger that boils deep inside of me will only destroy me in the end if I don't put it aside and FORGIVE. I do not want to be consumed by my own rage...I know very well how tormented one feels when they HATE all the time.I don't want to go through the rest of my life feeling this tormented. I no longer want to be impaled on the Devil's Horn of HATE...certainly not for all eternity!
That being said...how do I go about forgiving them? I never knew any of them and except for that brief, violent encounter back in 1975...I had never even seen them before. I haven't seen any of the three since though at times in the late 70's I re-visited the scene of the crime several times...
Ultimately in my new faith I turned to the Bible to see what God said about forgiveness...Obviously, HE has a heck of a lot to say about it, as you might imagine and a great deal of it is about forgiving us our sins. But I was struck by a little something different that I saw in
"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you".
Bang, Bang...KABOOM! There it was for all to see and finally I know had no choice but to forgive..."Forgive as the Lord has forgiven YOU (ME)". I no longer could argue anymore, could I? If God can forgive ME, considering ALL the things that I have said and done over nearly 50 years of living hard and exclusively for SELF at everyone else's expense...well then surely I can forgive.
Granted I am not a rapist but the point was made...GOD gave HIS SON, his perfect SON in sacrifice so that he would DIE in my place for the forgiveness of my sins and yours...They were forgiven, forever...and it would be the height of selfishness and arrogance and stupidity for me to hold on to this flaming ball of hate any longer. So here we go: WARNING: The Following content is violent and GRAPHIC, read on knowing you will be reading about rape.
Hey...I don't know who you are. I never knew your names...I didn't want to and I still don't. The only detail I remember of any of you is an image burned into my memory's EYE of your mocking, name screaming, raging faces of 36 years ago and oh yea...I can still smell your sweat, your after-shave, your fragrance of HATE and violence, I can feel you pulling my hair, trying rip it out of my scalp while one of you is kicking me repeatedly in the face, all the while I'm being raped, my head is continually smashed into a wall by a urinal...that is what I remember, that is my memory of YOU...You could all three be dead already for all I know and I honestly wouldn't care...or you could be living next door. I haven't a clue...and it doesn't mean ANYTHING really.
But I forgive you...each one of you...completely...no strings attached...I forgive you, you and you. I sincerely hope you found or find the LORD and find HIS forgiveness because honestly,that is the ONLY forgiveness that really matters. I can forgive you for what you did to me...but I can't forgive your SIN...only GOD can do that...and he will, if you ask him to. I won't make excuses for what you did...perhaps one of you or all three of you has suffered for what you have done, perhaps I wasn't the only one that night on your rampage of HATE...STILL, that doesn't matter...I forgive you.
It is my sincere hope...and prayer that those men find forgiveness...But I have no way of knowing if they will. But regardless I think that just maybe...I might have found something much more important today: PEACE.