Friday, September 26, 2008


Abuse is like an uncollected debt.

A small business owner feels used when a client knowingly writes a bad check with no funds to back it and then won't pay the money they owe. As long as the owner leaves the account open, he will be reminded of the unresolved problem each time he examines his accounting books. His aggravation grows as he tries to collect, sending reminder bills and legal paperwork that go unheeded.

In many cases, the business owner eventually decides to report the debt as a loss or write-off, so that he can at least move the offensive uncollected funds to a different page or column of his ledger to lower his tax liability for the job that has cost him time and stress. Forgiveness is similar to a write-off.

Forgiveness does not mean that the one has not been wronged and it does not fix being wronged--but it does allow the wronged party to move on, without constant pressure to try to collect on the debt. It eliminates the ever-present reminder of the person who has been abusive. It helps one to move on with life, allowing the forgiver to stop obsessing about how to "make" the wrong-doer take responsibility and make restitution.

True forgiveness:
--Acknowledges the debt/sin that has been done
--Understands that the offender cannot ever make the survivor's life the way it was before trust was violated with abuse
--Empowers the forgiver to set future boundaries
--Releases the one who forgives from trying to "fix" the wrongdoer
--Frees the survivor to be accepting of her or his emotional responses to the whole ordeal
--Lightens the emotional load on the survivor's shoulders
--Ends the tendency to feel stuck in the past, allowing any continued processing of the past to occur on a timetable that works for the victim
--Promotes spiritual growth as we trust God to help us forgive things we didn't think we would ever be able to forgive
--Gives us peace as we realize that Jesus has paid for all sins
--Allows us to put our trust in God as the final judge of all those who refuse to repent of sin

Forgiveness is part of the healing process. But don't rush forgivenss. Review the post entitled What Forgiveness Isn't to help you avoid false forgiveness that scars instead of being an effective part of the healing process.

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Recommended Books

  • 10 Lifesaving Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages by Karla Downing
  • A Way of Hope by Leslie J. Barner
  • Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them by Paul Hegstrom
  • Battered But Not Broken by Patricia Riddle Gaddis
  • Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Bradshaw on the Family by John Bradshaw
  • Caring Enough to Forgive/Not Forgive by David Augsburger
  • Codependent No More by Melody Beattie
  • Healing the Wounded Heart by Dr. Dan B. Allendar
  • Keeping the Faith: Questions and Answers for the Abused Woman by Marie M. Fortune
  • Perfect Daughters by Robert J. Ackerman, Ph.D.
  • Recovery: A Guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics by Herbert L. Gravitz and Julie D. Bowden
  • Safe People by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Slay Your Own Dragons by Nancy Good
  • The Cinderella Syndrome by Lee Ezell
  • The Dance of Anger by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D.
  • The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee
  • Turning Fear to Hope by Holly Wagner Green
  • When Violence Comes Home: Help for Victims of Spouse Abuse by Tim Jackson and Jeff Olson
  • Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft