Those struggling to forgive after abuse can find healing through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I was convinced that I would not find peace until he was in prison. I needed justice. But I was an eighteen-year-old with few resources and he was a much older man with criminal lawyers behind him. Domestic violence and sexual abuse for an extended period of time left me feeling soiled, worthless, and powerless. I only regained my power as a woman and as a human once I learned how to forgive the abuser through Christ’s gospel.
Understanding forgiveness can be difficult. In Sarah E. Miller’s article “Hope and Healing in Recovering from Abuse,” she says, “When the person who has been abused is pressured to forgive, he or she may feel an added measure of guilt, taking the blame not only for the abuse itself but also for being unable to forgive. Allowing the person time to forgive can be a lengthy process, but it is critical to healing.”
During my healing process, I learned that forgiveness is not vindication: you are not saying that what they did was okay, you are not communicating with them, you are not allowing them back into your life, and you are not required to forget what they did.
Forgiveness means that you are completely handing your pain, your anger, and your abuser over to Heavenly Father. When you hand everything over to him, you allow him to heal you and to determine the proper balance of justice and mercy. Forgiveness in this way brings freedom and healing through the Atonement of Christ. It empowers you. As Elder Richard G. Scott in “Healing the Tragic Scars of Abuse” said, “You cannot erase what has been done, but you can forgive.”
Read more in Sarah E. Miller’s article “Hope and Healing in Recovering from Abuse” and find hope and healing in recovering from abuse.
— Contributor, Latter-day Saint Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY FORTEC
Find more insights
Learn how to find healing after abuse in “A Bridge to Hope” by Nanon Tally.
Head over to the Church’s website abuse.lds.org to find hope, healing, and protection.
Learn more about healing and forgiveness in Elder Richard G. Scott’s article “Hope and Healing in Recovering from Abuse.”