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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Beautiful (11/07/05)

TITLE: The Ugly Truth
By Anita Neuman


For eight years, I denied the truth. Subconsciously, I thought that if I pretended the abuse hadnít happened, then I wouldnít need to face the issue of forgiveness. If I hid the ugliness that Iíd been dealt, then I could portray myself as confident and beautiful. I learned to hide the ugly truth. I told no one. I refused to empower my abuser by admitting that heíd hurt me. I couldnít even admit it to myself. After eight years, I was well-practiced at pushing the situation to the back of my mind, refusing to acknowledge it, hushing the still, small Voice that urged me to forgive.

Eventually, I began to realize that I didnít really feel as beautiful as I pretended to feel. My confidence was false; my ďinner beautyĒ was a sham. As I examined this discovery, I placed the blame on my abuser. He had made me feel ugly, and paradoxically, he had made me want to be repulsive. Although the period of abuse was relatively short, I realized that I had lost eight years by refusing to deal with it.

The time to deal with it had come. I was ready, but God surprised me with His methods. He showed me that my ugliness was not caused by the sinful actions of another, but by my wilful refusal to forgive. I tried to argue with God. What good would forgiving that man do? I hadnít seen him in all these years, and I would probably never see him again. Forgiveness wouldnít make him change his ways, nor would it change what had happened. My forgiveness wouldnít affect him or his life in any way.

God didnít argue those points; instead, He switched tactics. He told me that when I harbour unforgiveness, Satan gets the last laugh. The thought of playing into Satanís hands made me angry - so angry that I chose to forgive out of spite. My motives may not have been pure at that point, but my actions got me headed in the right direction. I forgave my abuser for the first time that day.

For the next few weeks, I tried to tell God that once was enough and He neednít bring up the subject again. I was wrong. God still wanted to teach me the beautiful truth about forgiveness: it has nothing to do with the offender. The more I begged to be released from this duty, the more God convinced me that forgiving my abuser was for my own benefit. By holding onto the hurt, I was indeed empowering that man Ė the very thing I had tried to avoid. By letting go of the hurt, I could finally begin the healing process.

Itís been four years since my forgiveness began, and itís been an on-going journey. There are still occasional days when I would like to wallow in self-pity and complain about my raw deal. But those are the days when God graciously intervenes and shows me the beauty that my life has become. A brief word from that still, small Voice sends me to my knees so I can once again commit myself to forgiveness.

The Lord is working all things together for good, and He is moulding me into the woman He intended me to be. Iím not perfect yet, but I rest in confidence, knowing that I am beautiful.

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This article has been read 1070 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Crista Darr11/14/05
This is such an important lesson. I wish you would bring us into the scene with you. Let us see and feel your struggles, your healing.
Pat Guy 11/16/05
On the surface I could feel her struggle from beginning to end - like she was letting us in 'just enough.' I too would like feel 'behind' the words. It's such an important message for us all, and you portrayed that well.
Laurie Glass 11/16/05
Great message from one who has been there. In one way or another, the struggle to forgive is something I think we can all relate to. This article is such an encouragement.
Sally Hanan11/16/05
This is good clear writing. You will know when you have finally broken through when you can pray that he be blessed too.
Linda Watson Owen11/16/05
You've tackled a deep and challenging issue here. No fluff in this topic for sure! Yes, I'd use 'red' ink to write this one. Don't hesitate to bleed on paper. Show it.
Cassie Memmer11/16/05
Great entry! I, too, would have liked a bit more intimacy with the character, but understand that a person truly dealing with this might very well hold her audience at bay. When you let go of hurts, you are the one who is truly set free! Amen! Thanks for writing this!
Lynda Lee Schab 11/17/05
You touched on a tough subject with honesty and realism. It's hard to forgive the small things, let alone a major life-altering tragedy like abuse. What I took away from this piece was a gentle yet bold message of HOPE. Nicely done.
Blessings, Lynda
Shari Armstrong 11/17/05
A powerful reminder that we need to let go of all the past hurts -large or small -in order to heal. Well done!
Denise Stanford11/17/05
wow! you could write a whole book on forgiveness, but this is a good start!
Jeffrey Snell11/17/05
Wow, thank you for sharing this intimate and sensitive experience. Praise God for His healing! Well and honestly written.
Debbie OConnor11/17/05
Excellent lesson. Forgiveness is always the key to freedom and it does take forgiving repeatedly in cases like this. Bless you. Your sharing may have helped someone else.
Beth Muehlhausen11/17/05
Sincere and sensitive...very deep and yet well communicated. The issue of forgiveness is a common one; this story will speak to many who also harbor pain. I also liked your title!!
Peter Thomas11/17/05
In your second to last paragraph, you write: "A brief word from that still, small Voice sends me to my knees so I can once again commit myself to forgiveness." For some reason, as I read that, I thought that that still small Voice has given you a strong voice in this story. "The Ugly Truth" has transformed into something beautiful.
Julianne Jones11/18/05
An ugly tale that is unfortunately all too common in today's world. As you have realised, such a painful wound will not go away until forgiveness is allowed to do its healing work. I'm thankful that you had the courage to share this as I'm sure this is just another step toward healing and wholeness.
A painful piece that was well-written and honest. God Bless.
Val Clark11/20/05
Your writing shows that, despite how you may feel, God is doing a beautiful work in beautiful you. Yeggy