Having Compassion for Broken People

hippoContinued from here.

This is the final blog entry in a series based upon this quote from the movie I Can Only Imagine:

My dad was a monster. I saw God take him from being the man I hated to the man I wanted to become.”

It’s hard, if not impossible, to develop compassion for a monster. However, when we forgive those who hurt us, God transforms our perception from seeing them as monsters to viewing them as broken people. You may be surprised to learn just how much you have in common with your monsters as God opens your eyes to see their brokenness.

If someone had told me this truth before I experienced it myself, I would have had a hard time believing it. I suffered from so many monstrous abuses that I believed only a monster could inflict. However, as I chose to let go of my bitterness and pull in God’s healing, He opened me eyes to the brokenness that drove the monstrous behavior. While I could not (and never will) relate to someone’s choice to rape and torture a child, I can relate to the brokenness that drove that behavior. I never imagined I could feel compassion for my abusers, but I actually do. I know the pain that drove the monstrous behavior, and my heart breaks for anyone who knows the level of pain that I have myself experienced.

I actually now feel sorry for my childhood abusers. I am saddened that they know similar to pain to what they inflicted upon me, but I’m even more sorry to know that they likely carry around guilt and shame at a level that I (thankfully) cannot relate to. The brokenness was bad enough. I cannot imagine the weight of guilt and shame on top of that brokenness.

God’s love is more powerful than all the hate in the world. It’s hard to believe that, which is why we hold onto our bitterness. I mistakenly believed that if I forgave my abusers, I was letting them off the hook or saying that what they did wasn’t “that bad.” I have since learned that forgiveness is only needed when someone is guilty and when what they did was “that bad.” The sobering reality is that Jesus forgave me, which means that I was guilty and that what I did was also “that bad.” Praise God for His forgiveness! I choose to pay that forgiveness forward, forgiving those who don’t deserve it, just as I have received it – in my brokenness and guilt.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace being squashed by a hippo eating ice cream. Courtesy Bitmoji.]

 

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