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Table of contents
- Truth and Reconciliation
- Truth and Reconciliation | Greater Good
- Forgiveness and Reconciliation: How to Forgive Others and Receive Forgiveness
Regardless of how much your post-divorce parents love you and mine loved me very much you can feel rejected by the one who leaves. Also, like many teenage boys, I wanted to date girls. Unfortunately, being one of two blacks in a graduating class that exceeded students, rejection was the norm. The reds of passion are less. The blues of peace and enjoyment are less. Again, unbeknownst to me. Thankfully, I was spared the illicit drug use, sexual promiscuity, and risk taking that is common with children of divorce, but Jesus promises life abundantly John However, my color spectrum was like paint faded by the summer sun.
But thirty years after their divorce, my wife and I were at a Marriage Encounter weekend and the Lord spoke to my heart. I loved my wife and, like every ACD, the last thing I wanted was a divorce. This was in large part due to my research on ACD issues.
Her book did two things: A big thing I learned was how fear dominated my life. This is true of my fears too. After extensive research, I presented my first seminar on the subject in at my church. Ten years later, the ministry became a c 3 nonprofit organization.
The key scripture for my ministry is 2 Corinthians 1, verses 3 and 4: God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. God has blessed me with His comfort. I am humbled and thankful to be a part of this process at Reconciliation Ministries!
And if you were abused or misused by your father and never heard these words from him, please hear them from me: I am sorry we failed you. Your heavenly Father will not. My daughter had a security job guarding a storage lot for one of the big three automakers. Under the rows and rows of shiny new vehicles protected by a security team and a volt electric fence, there was an entirely different world. Their world was nothing like the protective world of the beautiful cars and trucks.
Their world was in the gravel. Instead of the protection of the security team, they were threatened by coyotes and huge rats. Cat life was very dangerous. The cars were carefully guarded and accounted for. Great care was used to get them to their destination. The cats were a different story. They were on their own. Them against the world. And that world was deadly. The Lord showed me a lot of lessons from the cats. Enter my animal loving daughter. Somehow those mangy cats stole her heart. I remember the night she brought a bag of cat food to work because she noticed that they were skin and bones.
The cats noticed the food. When they noticed her, they would run. She kept reaching out to them. After about a week, the fluffy one decided to stop running. It let this benevolent creature touch it. It was safe at a distance. The skinny cat thought differently. Its size suggested that life in the same gravel world was somehow more difficult for it than life for fluffy cat.
It needed the food that the benevolent creature provided, but it had zero trust that this creature would be any different than the other creatures that tormented it. At one point my daughter tried to reach out to it. It freaked out and ran away. Unfortunately, while it was running from her it caught one of its paws in a fence and got hurt.
The heart of the benevolent creature had compassion knowing that life would be so much better for skinny cat if he would just stop running and let her help him. There were other cats in the yard, but they stayed even further away than skinny cat. My daughter kept feeding them — reaching out to them — to gain their trust. After two weeks, they trusted the benevolent creature enough to enter her guard shack. The door closed behind them and they were in her domain. It was different from the gravel. My daughter kept caring for them, feeding them. Reaching out to them. Fluffy cat dared to let her hold him.
Skinny cat kept resisting. Skinny cat learned from sad experience that trust is dangerous. A new day came along. My daughter heard that management was changing things up at the storage lot. Within a few days they would be taking all the cats to an animal shelter. The benevolent creature knew that she had to remove the cats from their familiar gravel world and take them to a strange new place, or they would die. Kinda hard to explain that to a cat. In order to take them out of gravel world, she had to place them in a cage. I wonder if they felt betrayed in that cage. After all they trusted her and now they felt trapped.
And then she brought them to a strange new world of carpet, colorful walls, lights, and people. It must have been overwhelming. They knew gravel world with the occasional venture into the guard shack. It must have been sensory overload. Did they exercise a tragic error of judgment when they began to trust the benevolent creature? There were other cats my daughter was willing to rescue along with them, but they ran. Leaving the familiarity of gravel world with an unfamiliar benevolent creature was too much of a risk for them to take. Their lack of trust would later prove fatal.
I remember the first night that my daughter brought fluffy cat and skinny cat home. She led my wife and me to our downstairs bathroom where she was keeping them safe from the two dogs and another feral cat we had brought into our home several years ago. I knew the Lord had something to show me, so I just sat in the background of the room and watched my wife and daughter try to interact with the cats.
The loss of gravel world and the newness of carpet world seemed to be too much for them. We put two small bowls of milk out for the cats to drink. The fragile trust they had in the benevolent creature way back in gravel world seemed to be gone. Instead of the bright lights, warmth and milk of carpet world, they preferred to hide in the darkness under some shelves in our bathroom.
They knew the parameters of gravel world. Carpet world is another story. Trusting one was hard enough. Hidden in the background. The second the door shut behind them, skinny cat and fluffy cat lunged for the milk. The benevolent creatures may be terrifying, but the truth is the cats needed the care that the benevolent creatures were trying to give them.
They drank that milk up pretty fast. Even my daughter had to hold fluffy cat in a coat that first day lest she experience the terror of psycho kitty. My wife picked up skinny cat with another coat. Both cats were hissing at us. The benevolent creatures were patient. They just sat there holding and loving the terrified cats.
They wanted the best for those cats. Gradually, fluffy cat calmed down and let my daughter hold him again without a coat. Skinny cat held onto control. The benevolent creature had to continue using a coat to pick him up, but he was willing to sleep on the bed with her. As long as skinny cat was able to maintain some sense of control, he was okay. Finally, as the week wore on and the benevolent creature found an adoption shelter, skinny cat stopped hissing and let my daughter hold him without the coat.
Benevolent creatures are patient. They look beyond the hissing and see the wounded heart that needs love and restoration. That is their goal all along. Another ride in a cage. Another loss of familiarity and fear of the new. This time carpet world was exchanged for metal cage world. Other loud, nervous animals. And new benevolent creatures. It turns out that one of the new benevolent creatures at the adoption shelter fell in love with fluffy cat and skinny cat and took them to her home.
Cage world started off feeling cold and unloving. It turns out that it was actually a place of great love and compassion where the long-term solution was revealed. The new benevolent creature loved the cats as her own. Sometimes God keeps things the same. Sometimes he changes things. Each time it is a new opportunity to learn the difficult task of trusting Him.
He will wrap His coat around us and lovingly hold us while we hiss at Him. Souls leaving gravel world can understand. Sometimes it was those we trusted — those we thought were benevolent creatures — who played the role of the coyotes and rats. Brokenness is scary, but sometimes we prefer it to the unknown. The Lord understands this. We might want to hide under a dark shelf, but He feeds us and teaches us how to live in a strange new place. Sometimes those He has placed in our lives move on. One familiar source of strength may transition elsewhere and be replaced by a new compassionate face.
We have to learn to trust all over again. It is during those times that we have to look beyond the immediate and see Jesus Christ, the true Benevolent Creator, orchestrating our lives. He can preserve our lives in gravel world. And in time, restores our hearts in carpet world. He knows what it is like to be abused in gravel world. Jesus Christ conquered the sin and death of gravel world, and rose victoriously to deliver us.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. Support is Available Healing Hearts is a confidential Christian support group for parents and families of those struggling with homosexuality and transgender issues.
I never thought of porn use as a problem. In High School it was normal for guys to talk about their favorites, which made it seem like everyone did it, like it was normal and natural. I was using porn like a drug to keep me away from my emotions and distancing me from God. Realizing porn use as a problem and even addiction was like lifting a heavy fog in front of me, dispelling all the lies I accepted as my truth.
My parents were both responsible adults, but they did not feel responsible for raising their kids well. My parents were divorced when I was young and both neglected me, and while they were married there was a clear pattern of physical and verbal abuse. After the divorce, I lived with my mother for most of the time and she had a very co-dependent relationship with me.
She was very controlling and focused on perfection, which drove me to be uninterested in doing anything. During High School I remember crying out for help and my mother took me to be tested for Bi-Polar disorder. I was not diagnosed with any disorders, but through the discussion the therapist found some issues and suggested some books on parenting and some parenting tweaks.
My mother lied and said she already read them and was a great parent. Any problem I had came across as an attack on her parenting and she would go into denial and shut me out, often crying in an attempt to manipulate me. He only agreed to pick me up every other weekend because it would reduce the child-support he had to pay. He continued to complain about the payments, my mother, and the annoyance of having to pick me up until I was a legal adult. If I had a question, I would be told to ask the other parent. Since I never got any answers, I stopped asking the questions and tried to figure things out on my own.
I felt unwanted, and even worse, like a burden wherever I was. I never felt like I had a home, I felt like I was just visiting someone. Spiritually my mother believed in going to church when she felt guilty enough, and my father created his own religion focused on himself. Thankfully he shielded me from drugs and getting into trouble as a youth. I turned to porn and videogames mostly, jumping into fantasy worlds where I was the most important person and felt I had control. My father introduced me to videogames as a way to connect, and we had little else to talk about.
I expected marriage to take away all the problems in my life. I fully expected the desire to watch porn to disappear, but it got worse. My wife and I were not connecting as well as I thought; we had more stresses as we were living together for the first time and were both busy figuring out our lives together.
I doubled down and watched more porn, shut out my wife, and reinforced my addiction through that negative cycle. She was incredibly hurt and filed for divorce, which I agreed was not ridiculous or undeserved. She said I had six months to show major improvement or she would continue with the divorce, which was a great show of grace to me. The next six months we fought almost every day in the worst possible way. I found a therapy-based program that gave me some tools to fight my temptations.
Truth and Reconciliation
The program was useful in day-to-day living, but I felt something was missing. It focused on tools and tricks to get through life and involved prayer, but made it very clear healing was not an option. Our leader left, a new draconian leader took over with some ideas and outlooks that were not uplifting and I could not agree on, and the group had changed dramatically. I decided to look elsewhere. My wife had seen someone from Reconciliation Ministries speak in person at a High School ministry event through our church and suggested I give the ministry a call.
I came to Living Waters shortly after and immediately saw the difference. At first it was challenging, but it became apparent Living Waters was a place where I could begin to find real healing and connect with God. I began to learn how to surrender to God and begin understanding where the healing would be happening. Living Waters has changed my life. My marriage can finally be described as happy and we have never been closer. The process has not been comfortable. Coming clean to my wife was not comfortable. Learning about myself was not comfortable.
Continually facing my fears and doubts instead of running and hiding is not comfortable. Surrendering to God is not comfortable. Despite no part of the process being comfortable, it is worth it. Being able to walk free, without the haze of lies and denial, is something that is better than I could imagine. No longer feeling like I have a terrible secret makes it so much easier to look people in the eyes and feel my own self-worth.
One of the most surprising gains is when I stopped focusing only on my own needs. I would suggest Living Waters to everyone, since I feel everyone needs to know about themselves more deeply. Used under license with www. Some of the participants would like to share how the group has helped them… I was able to identify pain in my life and found the source or root of it. I can understand now how abuse dictates emotions and mindsets. I have learned how to let go and allow God to heal. I could talk about the abuse I experienced, the addiction I developed, and all the fallout and consequences; without having to be worried about judgement or rejection.
I can truly say that though I have a ways to go as far as healing, I am not the same person I was when I entered this group. I have regained my voice, set boundaries, gained strength in many ways, and found hope for healing in God. This group has truly been a blessing. Your brother in Christ, Dan. I am closer to God as a result of Living Waters. I see Him more clearly in my past, anticipate Him more certainly in my future, and follow Him more peacefully in the now.
Through Living Waters I learned that I am a survivor, not a victim.
Truth and Reconciliation | Greater Good
Photo by Mike Wilson on www. Even though Adam walked with God in the cool of the day, God still created another human for Adam to share life with. It is interesting to note that God places such an importance on fellowship that He created another human for Adam even though He knew that both humans were imperfect.
God also knew that His imperfect creation would walk out His plan of salvation together and overcome sin. Love and fellowship was so important to Jesus that He issued a new commandment to His disciples to love one another, and show the world that they are His disciples through that love John Since living together in unity is so important to God, it is no wonder that the enemy of our souls attacks it with such venom.
We who have survived the devastating effects of abuse are well aware of the pain and dangers of living life connected to others. Although we are created for love and fellowship, many of us would rather hide in the darkness of isolation than risk vulnerability in relationship. We may not have consciously decided to build huge walls around our hearts, but many of us have constructed emotional walls so thick they rival medieval castles. Even though our childhood abusers may be long gone, the emotional walls remain and hamper us well into our adulthood.
The effect of these walls was made real to me just a few weeks ago when I attended an extended family reunion. It included first and second cousins and their kids. She had two sisters who also had their share of emotional challenges, and so did their children. As I stood back and watched their interaction, I noticed two things. First, some actually seemed to have adapted well and were coping better than others.
They had good marriages and steady jobs. Many others seemed to struggle with multiple marriages, emotional challenges, and had a hard time making ends meet. Others were absent from the gathering due to family squabbles or emotional distress. The second thing I noticed is that although many of my relatives present had their share of problems, a good number of them seemed to have the type of relationships that take years and a lot of time to develop.
They got together for dinners and family events. I gained a clearer realization of my own reaction and the effects of abuse — a new understanding of my own deep retreat into emotional isolation. He was much different from the guy who stood off to the side in while the other cousins grouped up for pictures.
I left the area as soon as college afforded me the ability to do so, and stayed away as much as I could. No matter what type of abuse we suffer — sexual, physical, emotional, neglect, or spiritual — the effects are pretty much the same. In the past few months we looked at some of these effects; false guilt and shame , lack of initiative , dysfunctional family dynamics , and a wide variety of sexual brokenness.
In the Mending the Soul Workbook for Men and Women, Celestia Tracy identifies three primary root issues as the foundation for isolation — the belief that I am shameful, the belief that I am shattered beyond repair, and the belief that we can trust no one and no one can trust me. Replacing each of these broken beliefs with the truth, is critical to learning to walk out of the emotional hiding place of isolation and developing healthy relationships in the Body of Christ. If you find yourself simultaneously craving healthy relationships and fearing them, you are not alone.
You are experiencing what many abuse survivors live with every day. This is where we learn to trust the Lord to teach us how to walk past the fear and develop healthy friendships. It is a belief that we — not only our actions — are more than bad; we are inherently despicable. Abused children often take on the false responsibility for the abuse as a means of trying to make sense of it all. Assuming that we have caused our abuse also gives us the false hope that we can be perfect enough to stop the abuse. This thinking is futile.
In order to overcome toxic shame, we must place the responsibility for the abuse squarely on the shoulders of our abuser to whom it belongs. Survivors need to reckon with the realty that the abuse was beyond their control and that they were actually helpless back in the day to stop the abuse. The good news is that you are not helpless anymore.
You can reach out to safe people for help.
Forgiveness and Reconciliation: How to Forgive Others and Receive Forgiveness
I am shattered beyond repair. Abuse shatters our sense of safety and trust. No longer is the world a safe place where my needs are taken care of and adults will teach me how to navigate through life. The world becomes a scary place of hopelessness and despair. Either extreme is unhealthy and causes us to continue living out of our shattered heart. Broken hearts, with broken motivations, produce broken results that only seem to confirm our brokenness. Healing begins when we admit and accept the terrible things that have happened to us, reach out for help, and learn to grow beyond the devastation.
You can learn to live life beyond the borders of your brokenness. A boy abused by his mother may reach the conclusion that all women are dangerous. A young girl unprotected by her mother who willing allowed her step-father to abuse her may conclude that both genders are bad. No one is safe. Remember, we often blame ourselves for the abuse. Perpetrators are experts at manipulation and the grooming process. A more devastating reason that survivors have a hard time trusting themselves is that hurt people, hurt people. Many survivors have responded to the sinful abuse perpetrated against them by sinning against others.
A young child sexually abused by a step-parent, may act out the same actions against a younger, more vulnerable cousin.
A boy beaten by his father may take out his anger on a younger boy in the neighborhood. Yes, a survivor who has acted out on others must take personal responsibility for his own sinful actions, but he can also give himself the grace to realize that he was acting out of his own pain. Sexual promiscuity, pornography addiction, and substance abuse are common ways survivors try to numb the pain of their own abuse. Isaiah 53 is a beautiful picture of the forgiveness and healing that Jesus provided for us through His death on the cross.
He knew what it was like to suffer and be in pain emotionally and physically He took our pain and suffering on Himself He took the guilt of our sin on Himself And He made a way for our own healing by the wounds that He personally suffered Truly, Jesus can healing the brokenhearted and free those who are in an emotional prison Luke 4: Overcoming emotional isolation is a process. It involves some healthy risk taking. And… It involves clinging onto God for help while we learn to recognize who in our lives is safe, and who in our lives is not. Here are some practical steps to help you learn to walk out of your hiding place and learn to develop some healthy relationships.
You may find yourself revisiting some of these steps from time to time as God brings a deeper understanding of how abuse has affected you. First and foremost, we need to ask God for help. This step is so basic that we often miss it. The Lord recognizes that He is asking you to do something that is way out of your comfort zone.
He is willing to be the parent that you never had, and teach you how to develop healthy relationships. Pray for the Lord to give you a godly mentor. As much as trusting another human to help you overcome isolation may feel like climbing to the top of the Empire State Building to help you overcome the fear of heights, you need the help of safe others in the Body of Christ.
A good mentor will understand the challenges you face, and can help guide you through the process. Remember, you are dealing with human mentors here, and even the best Christian mentor will make mistakes from time to time. This is your chance to ask the Lord to help you talk to that other person about the misunderstandings. Unlike your abuser, a mature mentor will listen to your feelings and help work through any challenges that may come. Walking out of isolation is a process. Healthy relationships take a long time to develop. Unhealthy connections can happen fast.
Ask the Lord to help you grow into healthy relationships at a pace that you can handle. Rather than sharing your whole life story with someone you just met, learn to talk about the basics of life or even the church project that you happen to be working on together. As you share little parts of your heart, watch how the other person handles them. If he or she is faithful with your information, you can share a few more details. Not everyone will develop into a close, personal friend.
The best friends can do both. We may trust Him for our salvation and ask him for provision, but are we willing to let Him into the areas of our hearts where we have deep wounds? We need frequent reminders that God is not like our abuser. Examine your heart and identify issues that you need to repent of. The problem with inner vows is that they are usually made out of the wrong motivation. Instead of living bound by an inner vow, it is far better to acknowledge the pain and the offense against us.
We can then ask the Lord to keep us safe and to help us live through the power of the Holy Spirit. Observe the character of the people we are learning to interact with. This may be a bit tricky, because survivors can be hypersensitive to the frailties of others. Everyone carries around a bucket of good and a bucket of bad. As hard as we try to only pour our bucket of good on others, sometimes the bucket of bad splashes out. The important thing is how someone responds when their bucket of bad splashes on others.
Do they admit their frailties and apologize, or do they blame others for their mistakes? Safe people acknowledge their errors, apologize, and make corrections. Learn to trust your discernment. Sign in with Facebook Sign in options. Quotes tagged as "reconciliation" Showing of It is a conversion, confession, repentance, reconciliation, forgiveness and sanctification center, where flawed people place their faith in Christ, gather to know and love him better, and learn to love others as he designed.
What you can do is stop blaming each other and engage in dialogue with one person at a time. Everyone knows that violence begets violence and breeds more hatred. We need to find our way together. I feel I cannot rely on the various spokespersons who claim they act on my behalf. Invariably they have some agenda that doesn't work for me.
Instead, I talk to my patients, to my neighbors and colleagues--Jews, Arabs--and I find out they feel as I do: It'll be because people have changed. They'll be like you, Puffin. So why not become a mongrel? Through art, beings can meet and exchange their points of view, as it rules out alienation, and arouses chemistry and understanding. By definition, art is universal and helps to cross borders and barriers without prejudice.
Bina, listen, this guy. His name wasn't Lasker. This guy-' She puts a hand to his mouth. She has not touched him in three years. It probably would be too much to say that he feels the darkness lift at the touch of her fingertips against his lips. But it shivers, and light bleeds in among the cracks. A Memoir of Reconciliation. It meant feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, caring for the young, but it also meant healing the wounded and forgiving the unforgivable. I knew I had to be committed to preaching a transforming message to the people of Rwanda. Jesus did not die for people to be religious.
Guilt, even unacknowledged guilt, has a negative effect on the guilty. One day it will come out in some form or another. We must be radical. We must go to the root, remove that which is festering, cleanse and cauterize, and then a new beginning is possible. Forgiveness gives us the capacity to make a new start. That is the power, the rationale, of confession and forgiveness. Whether hatred is projected out or projected in, it is always corrosive of the human spirit. We have all experienced how much better we feel after apologies are made and accepted, but even still it is so hard for us to say that we are sorry.
I often find it difficult to say these words to my wife in the intimacy and love of our bedroom. How much more difficult it is to say these words to our friends, our neighbors, and our coworkers. Asking for forgiveness requires that we take responsibility for our part in the rupture that has occurred in the relationship. We can always make excuses for ourselves and find justifications for our actions, however contorted, but we know that these keep us locked in the prison of blame and shame.
In the story of Adam and Eve, the Bible reminds us of how easy it is to blame others. When God confronted Adam about eating the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam was less than forthcoming in accepting responsibility. Instead he shifted the blame to Eve, and when God turned to Eve, she, too, tried to pass the buck to the serpent.
The poor serpent had no one left to blame. So we should not be surprised at how reluctant most people are to acknowledge their responsibility and to say they are sorry. We are behaving true to our ancestors when we blame everyone and everything except ourselves. Forgiving and being reconciled to our enemies or our loved ones are not about pretending that things are other than they are.
It is not about patting one another on the back and turning a blind eye to the wrong. True reconciliation exposes the awfulness, the abuse, the pain, the hurt, the truth. It could even sometimes make things worse. It is a risky undertaking, but in the end it is worthwhile, because in the end only an honest confrontation with reality can bring real healing. Superficial reconciliation can bring only superficial healing. If the wrongdoer has come to the point of realizing his wrong, then one hopes there will be contrition, or at least some remorse or sorrow.
This should lead him to confess the wrong he has done and ask for forgiveness.