Today’s devotion is written by my friend, Wendy Godel. She is a daughter, friend, and sponsor of 2 Compassion International children (Mariel and Jhornnet). She attends CrossPointe Church and is active in the Vacation Bible School program there. Her life verse is Jeremiah 29:11. Unfortunately she’s made many mistakes in her years and succeeded in making a mess out of her life. Fortunately she has a God that loves her anyway, and who met her in her darkest hour. He’s given her a new life that she never could have dreamed of, and she owes everything to Him!
In her words: “When everything else in my world seems unsure and uncertain, there is one truth I always run to ~ Jesus loves me! (How amazing is that?!)”
Grab a cup of coffe and let’s listen to what Wendy has to say about anger and forgiveness!
The prison of anger, and the freedom of forgiveness
Between the ages of 8-10, my uncle repeatedly sexually violated me.
And until now, only a handful of people outside my family knew about it.
One reason I didn’t tell many people was because I was ashamed – for some reason I felt I was to blame. Finally, after 20+ years, I know I did nothing wrong.
Unfortunately, emotional trauma doesn’t heal as quickly as physical trauma does.
When my parents found out about the abuse, they pressed charges against my uncle. And while they were doing all the right things by me (pressing charges, arranging counseling for me, etc), the rest of my family was in meltdown mode. Headed quickly for total combustion.
You see, some in the family – including my godparents (another uncle and aunt) – thought I was lying; trying to get attention. It didn’t matter to them that 2 of my cousins also came forward to report this same uncle violating them. Can you imagine what it was like to have godparents who chose to support my predator uncle, instead of me?
The legal case ultimately went to the Grand Jury, where as an 11 year old girl I was forced to testify and give graphic and traumatic details about the repeated violence I endured.
And during that time, I went from ‘victim’ to ‘angry-and-wanting-revenge’. Too young really, to know either of these labels.
I kept the ‘angry-and-wanting-revenge’ label until my 30th year, when, thumbing through a Bible I’d purchased for myself, I found this scripture:
“Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do.”
Romans 12:18 MSG
At that point I knew I had to get control over my anger. And that I wouldn’t be able to do that without God.
“Since prayer is at the bottom of everything, what I want mostly is for you to pray – not shaking angry fists at enemies, but raising holy hands to God.”
1 Timothy 2:8 MSG
I’m in the end of my 32nd year now, and the last few years have been a trial. But God has done an amazing work in me – I have new life in Him, and He is at the center of my life now. He has brought me so very far.
“God’s strength … helps you to endure the unendurable and spills over into joy …”
Colossians 1:10 MSG
I know now that His “grace is sufficient, and all I need” (2 Corinthians 12:9 MSG), and that “there is nothing said or done that can’t be forgiven” (Mark 3:28b MSG). God has helped me escape the prison of anger and find the freedom of forgiveness. I am “deeply at peace” (John 16:31b MSG) now, and He’s given me the gifts of “affection for others, exuberance about life, and serenity” (Galations 5:22b MSG); and I can honestly say that I have forgiven my uncle for what he did to me.
(I’ve also forgiven the family members who accused me of lying and – in their words – “breaking up the family”. I refuse to own their issues. All I can do is pray for them. I’m not bold enough to say that I’ve been completely blameless in my life – I’m a sinner too! – but in this case, uncle was the guilty party, not me.)
Anger is a prison – it’s dark and lonely. To find forgiveness is to find an amazing freedom that words can’t describe. And finding the peace of God … hands-down the best gift anyone could ever receive!
“Day and night I’ll stick with God; I’ve got a good thing going and I’m not letting go. I’m happy from the inside out and from the outside in.”
Psalm 16:8-9a MSG
Thank You Jesus, for your amazing, unfailing, perfect love! Without the love of God, I would still be stuck in the ugliness of anger and bitterness, instead of living in the joy and peace He has given me!
To follow more of Wendy’s devotions and stories, you can visit her blog @ http://wendylivingsimply.blogspot.com/
How has anger and unforgiveness affected your life, and how has God met you right in the midst of it all to help you forgive and let go?