Is There Hope? Forgiveness (Decision 6)

Liz Cowen Furman:

Image: Sujin Jetkasettakorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Sujin Jetkasettakorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Over a lifetime, anyone’s life, there are moments when one can feel desperate enough to even be thinking about suicide. There are so many things Satan uses to send a person to the brink of losing hope. And a life without hope is the one that may ponder suicide.

In the previous post of this Is There Hope? series, I promised to share with you the sixth decision a person can make to start getting their life back on track. If you recall I encouraged you to get Andy Andrew’s book, The Traveler’s Gift, which we are discussing in this series. In this book, decision number six is probably the most life changing of all:

I Will Greet This Day with a Forgiving Spirit.

Not forgiving people who have offended or hurt us doesn’t hurt them, it eats us alive from the inside out.

From page 138,  The Travelers Gift:

For too long, every ounce of forgiveness I owned was locked away, hidden from view, waiting for me to bestow its precious presence upon some worthy person. Alas, I found most people to be singularly unworthy of my valuable forgiveness and, since they never asked for any, I kept it all for myself. Now, the forgiveness that I hoarded has sprouted inside my heart like a crippled seed yielding bitter fruit.

No more! At this moment, my life has taken on new hope and assurance. Of all the world’s population, I am one of the few possessors of the secret to dissipating anger and resentment. I now understand that forgiveness only has value when it is given away. By the simple act of granting forgiveness, I release the demons of the past about which I can do nothing and create in myself a new heart, a new beginning.

 Forgiving someone who has hurt me doesn’t say that what they did isn’t wrong or didn’t hurt. What it does is release me from the responsibility of paying them back. It takes me out of bondage not them. And, oh how much power there is in those three little words; I FORGIVE YOU. Whether said aloud or just to myself, it lifts a huge burden. Sometimes the person we most need to forgive is our self.

More insights from Andy Andrews (Page 139-140 ):

I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. I will forgive myself. For many years, my greatest enemy has been myself. Every mistake, every miscalculation, every stumble I made has been replayed over and over in my mind. Every broken promise, every day wasted, every goal not reached has compounded the disgust I feel for the lack of achievement in my life. My dismay has developed a paralyzing grip. When I disappoint myself, I respond with inaction and become more disappointed. 

 So until the next post resolve to forgive yourself and others and stop thinking about suicide. And have a listen to Andy Andrews on forgiveness. Don’t forget to read The Traveler’s Gift too.

 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32, NIV Bible)

Help from God After Assault

By Karen Kosman:

Help from God After Assault

In 1956, when I was fourteen years old, I struggled against depression—one created by a traumatic event. While babysitting my younger sister and brothers, a stranger, with clever lies, gained access to our home.

Once he got me alone, he grabbed me from behind. At knife point he stole my innocence. The aftermath of rape resulted in Post Traumatic Syndrome: panic attacks, nightmares, and overwhelming guilt.  Finally, at the bottom of my depression pit I cried out, “God help me.”

Moments later, my mom called and said two detectives were waiting to talk with me. I’d had enough of interrogations—I wanted to be invisible.  Despondently, I entered the dining room. Then I heard a familiar voice. I found myself looking into the blue eyes of a police officer who had befriended me earlier that summer. I could hardly believe he’d been promoted and assigned to my case. “Karen,” Bill said, “this terrible thing is not your fault.”

Weeks later, during the trial, I struggled with fear every time my attacker looked at me with hate. “God help me,” I whispered in prayer over and over. During one recess, a woman approached and sat down next to me. She said, “I, too, am a victim of that man. You are a brave girl. Trust God and live your life.”

One weekend, while home alone, and in the throws of a panic attack I again cried out, “God help me.” Our doorbell rang, and looking through a peephole, I recognized my brother and sister’s Sunday school teacher.  When I opened the door he said, “I was passing by and suddenly felt I should stop and visit.” I knew God had answered yet another cry for help. The following Sunday I went to church and joined in with other teenagers. There is no doubt in my heart that God answered my cry for help. He helped me choose life.

Today, as a wife, mother, grandmother, and author, I am blessed.

Do you really believe that ending your life is the answer to your pain?  Have you heard the quote, “Suicide is a permanent answer to a temporary problem?”

Make a commitment not to end your life. Instead cry out, “God help me!” Seek him and you will find help from God after assault, no matter how traumatic.

In this video, Emily Klotz shares her story of abduction, rape, God’s presence, and eventually the ability to forgive. (Note that the beginning of this video describes an assault in detail, but there is a message of hope.)

If you are experiencing post traumatic stress from a sexual assault, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE