Also, forgive the person who hurt you. This isn’t just for them, it’s for you. Nelson Mandela, the former President of South Africa, once stated, “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” Forgiveness will allow you to transition from “victim” to “victor.” Your abuser will no longer have the power to shame, anger, or limit you. It’s important, however, to understand what forgiveness is. Forgiving someone isn’t condoning what they did. It’s not saying, “What you did to me was okay.” It doesn’t mean that it is now safe for you to spend time with them. –– You can forgive someone and still cut them out of your life. –– And, even if they never take responsibility for what they did to you, forgive them anyway. Forgiveness means that we cancel someone’s debt to us, and release them to God. It means that we no longer demand, expect, or desire them to “pay us” for what they did. The Bible teaches that our Heavenly Father is a loving and fair God. Therefore, we must trust that He will manage the situation much better than we can.

Try this exercise: Write yourself a letter from God. Imagine sitting somewhere alone with Him, and write down what He would say. Use what God says in the Bible as a guiding light. For example, find Scriptures where God tells His people not to be afraid, to trust Him, and that He will never abandon them.

STEP 3:
Believe.

I know it’s frightening to “believe” that you can walk away from an abusive relationship, but you can. You deserve to be safe, and you are worthy of someone’s love. It is also important to believe that God will use your hardship to make you stronger. Romans 5:3-5 states, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment” (New Living Translation).

Domestic violence has taught me that we’re stronger than we think. So face your fears, forgive yourself and others, believe –– and watch what God will do. c


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