One of my favourite worship songs from the 80’s is called “The Basics of Life” by 4Him. The chorus is “We need to get back to the basics of life. A heart that is pure and a love that is blind. A faith that is fervently grounded in Christ, the hope that endures for all times. These are the basics. We need to get back to the basics of life.”
Considering the magnitude of anger and hate distended around the world especially on social media, these lyrics are so prevalent today. How do we return more towards a state of unconditional love and deep abiding peace? As I contemplate these lyrics I wonder how do I love unconditionally and how do I make my heart pure without resentment. The word forgiveness keeps popping in my mind. Throughout my life I’ve had to forgive. I refused to be a victim and I didn’t want anything to hold me back especially the pain from the past.
As a child with a disability I was often discriminated against based on my physical appearance and speech impediment instead of my level of intelligence or my delightful personality. A lot of people underestimated my capabilities. Forgiveness is the key for me to have an enjoyable life and not be repressed by anger or hatred but enjoy a deeper sense of holy love and kindness. For me, I couldn’t do it completely on my own. I had to pray multiple times to ask God to change my heart.
When I was eight I moved from a hospital in Vancouver to a foster home in my hometown up north in BC. I remember I was so happy to be closer to my family. I lived in that foster home for four years. The good news is during that time I became a Christian, I gave my heart to God, accepted him as my saviour. It was the best decision of my entire life. Unfortunately it was also one of the most painful periods of my life as during those four years I was sexually abused by the foster father on a continuous basis. I won’t get into detail but I can say that God really protected my heart during that time.
At the age of fourteen I made the decision to forgive him as I didn’t want that part of my life to define who I was. Forgiveness is a process, it doesn’t happen over night, it happens in stages. Depending on the offence it can take time for the heart to heal and for your heart to connect with your mind in agreement towards forgiveness.
Throughout the years I wondered what happened to my offender. Even though I had moved past the abuse the memories of him crept up once in a while and I kept wondering what had happened to him.
Four years ago I finally had the courage to seek the answers. He had a second chance at redemption and to be reunited with his family but he lost it. That moment of revelation was so profound as my heart was filled with compassion and sadness for his family. The fact that I experienced empathy and grace was the last piece of the puzzle that I needed to confirm that I had completely forgiven him. This solidified that I was no longer a prisoner of past hurts but that I was a captive of holy grace, free to love.