Ginger Taddeo shares honestly and powerfully about her journey to forgive her past abusers
Early in my Christian walk, I was taught that we needed to forgive others if we wanted to be forgiven. I believed it was a simply stated scripture that just required me to say three simple words, “I forgive you.” I believed that once I said that, my Christian life would be fine.
It wasn’t until I began unraveling the pain from my 10 years of past childhood abuse that I realized it was not simple at all. I was finally understanding the true depth of what had happened to me and I was feeling enormous emotions of rage and hate that I had not experienced to this depth before.
Laying it down
These newer emotions were energizing and strong. They gave me a sense of power that I never felt I had before. Now that I finally embraced these new, raw emotions, God was challenging me to lay these emotions at His feet and forgive my evil abusers.
This radical forgiveness was complicated and made no sense to me. My abuse was not an accident. It was perpetrated against me by adults who were supposed to love and nurture me. It was not a random act of insanity but a decade of calculated abuse and torture. What kind of loving mother physically and sexually abuses her own daughter and also allows her husband and others to do the same? An evil mother does these things. God was asking me to forgive her in her evil state.
If for some wild reason my mother repented, it would still be very difficult to forgive her but it would be easier than if she did not acknowledge her sinful, evil behavior. It is totally a different story with someone who has no intention of admitting their part in the damaging circumstances.
That was exactly what God was asking me to do, forgive an evil, unrepentant, abuser.
“Are you kidding me God? She hasn’t even asked for forgiveness, she doesn’t think she has done anything wrong and You want me to forgive her? God, it is cruel of You to ask this of me!”
Initially, I pleaded my case before God and tried to figure out how I could be exempt from, what seemed to be, an unrealistic command from God. I prayed and searched scriptures about forgiveness and nothing seemed to let me off the hook.
Here are some of my protests to God about forgiveness.
I will have to relive the pain of all the past abuse.
The truth is that I will be letting go of the pain that they must see “it was not my fault and I didn’t deserve it”. Pain will always be a part of my existence on this earth. There is nothing I can do to change that. It is part of living in a sinful, broken world. I will continue to feel the pain of broken relationship with someone who was suppose to stand up for me and nurture me. I can do three things with that pain, try to kill it through numbing behaviors, dwell in it to the point of continued anger and despair, or give it up to God and allow Him to nurture me in my pain which continually leads me to a deeper dependency on Him.
Once I let go and forgive, I lose my hold on waiting for her to come to me and repent. It feels as though I am giving up on justice
The truth is, I am placing justice in the hands of my perfect Father who is the only One who can righteously judge. Psalm 73 (in it’s entirety)
I am forgiving evil. Satan represents evil so it seems as though I am forgiving Satan.
The truth is, I am not forgiving evil or Satan, instead, I am forgiving an image bearer of God who let herself listen to his lies and who has disregarded truth. Does that make her any less culpable? No, she is still responsible for her choices. She chose evil sin instead of God’s truth.
If I let her off the hook, I will be letting go of her continual power in my life and I will now be an orphan
The truth is I am letting go of a woman who practiced evil against me and I am moving toward the Perfect Father who loves me unconditionally. He will never have ill will toward me, nor will He do anything to me to cause me harm. I am safe in His hands. Her hands were unpredictable and dangerous. His hands are tender and compassionate and He cares for me so much that my name is written on them! Isaiah 49:16
For honest and true forgiveness to take place, I learned that I could not repress, minimize, or make excuses for the things that my mother did to me. I could not demand that justice be done here on earth. I could not demand that God make this easy for me. Even though my own sin was not as severely damaging to others as her’s was, my sin still separates me from God who is no respecter of sin. The quote below says it perfectly.
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” C.S. Lewis
Ginger climbed her first Freedom Challenge Climb in Wyoming this summer. She was deeply impacted by the experience and is already preparing for her second climb in Estes Park, Colorado in 2017.
Ginger volunteers for the ministry of Authentic Intimacy where she occasionally writes and speaks. A shortened version of her story,(Ann's Story) was published in the book, Surprised by the Healer, which was written by authors, Juli Slattery and Linda Dillow. Ginger speaks at various Christian events, enjoys writing, and gives God all the glory for her healing.