Firstly, I want to thank those who spared the time to write and encourage me onward. It is encouraging to know there are those receiving help and hope in reading this blog, and in dealing with betrayal.
Now I want to tell you a little story…a true story.
At a Sunday dinner, my adult daughter casually blurts out that she had ran into the woman who had an affair with my husband. (My children knew her going back many years and because the affair became common knowledge in the community) Then my daughter proceeded to drop the fact she gave the woman a hug. Looking at me for approval, she added. “I wanted her to know she was forgiven.”
Honestly, I gulped back as an odd twist of emotion. Like the unexpected touchdown of a tornado, old and not so pleasant feelings whirled within.
One part of me was thinking… “Are you crazy, you don’t hug the enemy. Don’t you understand the pain she caused?”
Another part of me was internalizing how proud I was of her for truly forgiving.
This kaleidoscope of warring viewpoints must have caused a rather interesting expression on my face. No one but my vivacious, outspoken daughter dared speak. She continued on as if nothing was amiss explaining where and how the chance meeting had taken place.
My words in that moment conveyed the right message, but my heart spoke a whole different language. A surge of fresh anger bubbled just below the surface. My kids had really liked this woman, as far back as their memories went, she had been kind to them. Then came the betrayal, and truthfully their anger toward her was easier for me to handle than this extension of forgiveness.
Why was that?
As only God can do with His perfect timing and direct words, my daily Bible reading (not so coincidentally) included Matthew Chapter 18. Jesus told a parable that painted a vivid picture on the subject of forgiveness. But the last verse hit me hard…the message to forgive “from the heart” leapt off the page as if someone had smacked me upside the head. Once again I analyzing this conundrum called forgiveness. Had I forgiven from the heart? If so, why was I conflicted?
God is gentle, wise, and completely uncompromising.
Having thought I was done with the forgiveness issue toward “the other woman.” This fresh dose of emotion troubled me. When I prayed, God gently consoled and encouraged my soul. In the spirit I could feel His approval. “Yes my child, you have done the hard work of forgiveness.” Wisely He continued…”But don’t expect Satan to lie down and call it a day. He will ever seek creative ways to stir the pot of remembered pain.” Uncompromisingly, God challenged me to lay this latest surge of honest emotion at the cross, where victory is won.
There I knelt, heart in hand, soul laid bare. I confessed the fact I kinda liked the way my kids had hated her for what she did to our family. Then I admitted the duplicity in my thinking. How could I preach forgiveness on the subject and yet carry a pocket of resentment when they followed through concerning "her?"
Truly humbled yet again, I went back to something I had done a lot in the beginning to help work through the process of forgiveness, and I prayed for “the other woman.” I rose victorious, peaceful and very thankful my daughter had followed the road of forgiveness through to include both parties, and felt comfortable enough to share the experience.
In short I learned a valuable lesson I want to pass on to all who struggle with forgiveness after betrayal.
-Forgiveness = freedom and healing. It is not an option.
- Satan will visit and tempt in creative ways. His goal is to get us to pick up our grudge after we have laid it down because he understands our human inability to forget pain. (What is super encouraging is the fact that as Satan loses battle after battle these attacks get far less and easier to recognize. I had not been bothered for a long time.)
-God’s power is stronger than Satan. What is impossible in our own strength is possible with God. All we have to do is call on His name and He will do the rest. We need our Father God.