Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Beautiful (11/07/05)
TITLE: The Ugly Truth
By Anita Neuman
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Eventually, I began to realize that I didn’t really feel as beautiful as I pretended to feel. My confidence was false; my “inner beauty” 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 hadn’t seen him in all these years, and I would probably never see him again. Forgiveness wouldn’t make him change his ways, nor would it change what had happened. My forgiveness wouldn’t affect him or his life in any way.
God didn’t 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 Satan’s 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 needn’t 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 – the very thing I had tried to avoid. By letting go of the hurt, I could finally begin the healing process.
It’s been four years since my forgiveness began, and it’s 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. I’m not perfect yet, but I rest in confidence, knowing that I am beautiful.
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