Continued from here.
My dad was a monster. I saw God take him from being the man I hated to the man I wanted to become.”
While it was great that Bart Millard’s father came to Christ and invited God in to transform it, many of our monsters will not make the same choice. Does that mean we are destined to remain victims, fearful of the monsters in our lives?
God taught me that forgiveness is not only the vehicle He uses to heal our pain, but it also transforms us from viewing ourselves as victims to survivors as we change our perception of the monsters and begin seeing them for what they are: broken people. The truth is that nobody is born a monster. Even diagnosed sociopaths have a combination of both a genetic disposition AND traumatic experience to become sociopaths. (For more on this topic, reach Martha Stout’s excellent book, The Sociopath Next Door.) The point is that no matter how evil the person is who harmed you, he or she was first a victim, just like you. That’s a tough lesson to learn, but embracing this truth will radically change your life and help catapult you out of seeing yourself as a victim into a survivor, which is a much more empowering label. (That’s not the end, though – God can lead you further to become an overcomer, but that falls outside the scope of this discussion.)
As long as you continue to hate the monsters in your life, you won’t make the transformation to seeing them as broken people, which only hurts you. I was shocked to realize this truth the day I completed the process of forgiving my abusers. My choice to forgive them did not change their lives one iota, but it powerfully changed mine! All the years I spent nursing my bitterness, reliving the pain, and thinking about how unfair it was that they continued to have this power over me, they were off living their lives! And when I laid all of this down and chose to let go of my bitterness, their lives stayed the same. Forgiveness was the key out of my emotional prison and had absolutely nothing to do with anything that the monsters did or did not do.
To be continued…
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace dressed as Godzilla. Courtesy Bitmoji.]