“Jesus said, ‘I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.’ ” — Matthew 5:44-45
We all have enemies. Whether we like it, or not.
I didn’t realize it at first, but hindsight is twenty-twenty (as they say) and somewhere along the line I figured out that my biological parents were my enemies. Yes, God literally delivered me into the hands of my enemies… He Himself chose my parents… And then He delivered me out of their hands and led me to forgive them and love them with a holy love.
My childhood was one of constant abuse: physical, psychological, emotional, sexual, even spiritual. I was taught the Ten Commandments, and then taught to tell lies if anyone ever asked if my parents hit me. I was forced to ration my little brother’s drinking water that time our parents tied him up in the garage in the middle of the Southern California summer. I was given only one meal a day, for days at a time, as punishment for childish peccadilloes like talking back. My father sexually abused me. My mom closed her eyes to the situation, accused me of lying, and told me I was on my way to Hell in a hand basket. The list goes on and on. I wound up with chronic depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, and an eating disorder.
From my earliest memories, 99% of what I got from my biological parents was not love, but pain. I call them my biological parents because I never felt parental love from either of them; and because I realize now that God is my true Father and Mother.
I, on the other hand, have always loved my parents. I loved them with every piece of my broken heart. At this moment, with my heart (mostly) glued back together by God’s love and the love of the beautiful people He’s put in my life, I love my parents in a way I never thought possible.
I choose to not see them if I can manage it, and I keep my kids and husband away from them as well, but I love them. I wish them the best, I hope they heal and grow closer to God, and I look forward to the day that all this is behind us and we can be a family together in Heaven. And every time I remember how they hurt me, and I suffer through it all over again, I know Jesus is in my heart, hanging on His cross, suffering and loving with me.
I struggled for years with forgiveness. It seemed to me at one point that I would never be able to forgive them. But every time I said the Lord’s Prayer, “…forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” I tried again. And one day I remembered that Jesus died for them as well as for me.
He loved my parents so much, even knowing everything they would do to me and my siblings, that He sacrificed Himself to save them. The Blood of the Lamb was spilled to set them free. And because God put so much love in me, and because of His infinite grace, I finally found it in my heart to forgive. I can not express how happy this makes me.
My parents are worthy. They are loveable and precious… Because they are worth it to God. And God never makes a mistake.
Suffering through what they did to me, and suffering still with the memories and scars, I happily give myself to God our Father with Jesus, our Brother, as a sacrifice, to save my abusers, my parents. I say with Him, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” I’m sure it will be enough. Jesus and His Love are always enough. And it is an honor to help save the world by suffering with Him.
To God be the glory!