During this month we’re talking about the dangers of hatred and my dear friend Shelley Hitz is here to talk to us about forgiveness. Very timely, enjoy!!
I practiced as a Physical Therapist for twelve years, and therefore know the general process required to heal from a broken bone. First, the doctor will give you a diagnosis via x-ray, MRI or other test. Then, a cast or splint is applied and you are given orders to rest your body part as the healing takes place. For a broken leg, crutches are often needed for a period of time. Finally, the last step is to exercise your joints and muscles again to regain your strength and be able to walk again on your own.
However, when God began to heal my broken heart, this was new territory for me. There is no textbook answer on what the process is for healing a broken heart. However, one of the first steps God took me through was forgiving those that hurt me.
Forgiveness…Often the Hardest Step To Take But Necessary For Lasting Freedom
Years ago, I was at a retreat for Christian women where the speaker shared her story of being sexually abused and the healing God brought to her broken heart. As I listened to her story, a memory from my past began to surface. I could relate to her story in that I was not violently raped and therefore had unknowingly dismissed the incident as simply part of “growing up.” However, when I later shared with my counselor what happened to me in junior high when a boy did sexual things to me that I neither wanted nor knew how to resist, she affirmed that it was indeed sexual abuse.
Feelings surfaced that I did not even know existed…anger, grief, unforgiveness. For the first time, I cried and grieved the innocence that was taken from me that day. As I sobbed, I asked God to help me. And He gently showed me that I needed to forgive the boy that did this to me. Forgiving him did not mean that what he did was right or that I was justifying his actions. It was for me, so that I could be free. I’ve heard it said that unforgiveness and bitterness is like taking poison and expecting it to kill the other person. The only person it hurts is me.
I Did Not Feel Like Forgiving
It took a step of faith to forgive as I did not feel like letting go of my anger and unforgiveness. Not only was my innocence taken that day, but there was a door opened to the enemy in the area of my sexuality. And later on in my life, I became captive to sexual sin. As a Christian woman, I found myself struggling with pornography. Although I don’t blame my choices and my sin on the sexual abuse, I know it was part of the process. And so I was angry and did not feel like forgiving.
And yet, God empowered me to surrender my anger to Him and forgive.
It was a process and not an instant fix. But, as I took the step of forgiveness, God led me down the path of healing my broken heart. I am thankful today that I am free from my struggle with pornography. God is now using what the enemy meant for evil for good – to provide hope to many.
Shelley Hitz has been ministering alongside her husband, CJ, since 1998. They currently travel and speak to teens and adults around the country. Shelley’s main passion is to share God’s truth and the freedom in Christ she has found with others. She does this through her books, websites and speaking engagements. Shelley’s openness and vulnerability, as she shares her own story of hope and healing, will inspire and encourage you.
Shelley has been writing and publishing books since 2008 including the book she co-authored with S’ambrosia Curtis, “A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free From Pornography: It’s Not Just a Guy’s Problem.” During their book launch on 9/26/12 – 9/27/12, you can download a free Kindle copy and also enter to win over $400 worth of resources. Find out more at www.ChristianWomenandPorn.com