HONOR BY FORGIVING
I was 29 when my first repressed memory of abuse came up.
It happened when I was 4, almost 5. We had a teeter-totter swing in the basement. My younger sister and I were playing onit.
My father was also in the basement, working on a wood project. Every time he would run the table saw, we would scream as part of our play.
After a while, my father called me over to him. He picked me up, turned on his power sander and ran it down my arm. It had no sandpaper, which would have severely injured me; it left a rub burn, but mostly frightened me.
He put me down; I ran upstairs to my mother, who was washing dishes. I was crying.
My father followed me, laughing as he came, “I gave Tracy a shave!”
My mother didn’t change her pace or look at me; she just kept washing dishes. “you’re okay,” she said without expression.
I went into the bedroom that I shared with my two sisters and took care of myself.
I could tell plenty of stories like this one. My father was a very wounded man, who often acted in hurtful, cruel ways. My mother often failed to advocate for us or protect us, if she recognized what was going on in the first place. Every adult survivor of abuse knows what I am saying.
Twenty-one years later, Papa God asked me a challenging question. I was sitting in Church, listening to the pastor’s sermon. He told about a time when his brother and he had done something particularly unacceptable. Their father took the boys into his study and told them he wanted them to give him the spanking. They were appalled at this and asked why. Their father said that he must have not done well by them, since they could act so poorly. The pastor said this was the hardest spanking he ever hadd.
At that point, Holy Spirit drew me aside and asked, “How long will you spank your father?” Then He said, “I will deal with him according to My mercy.”
My father was in a care center with advanced cancer at the time. Three weeks later, he died while I was en route to see him.
If God could grant this broken man His mercy, I could do the same. From what I have been told, he gave his life to Jesus shortly before his death; I expect to see him in Heaven.
It took years for me to forgive my father for the many traumatic things he did and receive healing from the good, good Father: Papa God, mostly because things were only broght to my attention as I was ready for them.
One question I often asked was, “How do I honor parents who acted in hurtful ways?”
Part of the answer is to forgive. Honor has to do with reflecting God’s regard for people. If Jesus died for all sin, that includes those committed against each of us. We can join with Him, which brings blessing.
If you’re ready, you can pray something like this:
Papa God, by your grace, I forgive my earthly father for ______ (be as specific as you can.) I receive healing from You today. Thank You for being my good, good Father. Amen.
Be healed and set free, in Jesus’ wonderful Name.