Hebrews 3:12-14- Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but [b]exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

When I read and mediate on the scripture above, fear grips my heart. This happens out of reverential fear to God and the fear I have that I am not doing as much as I can to be an obedient child of God.

Many people including me have been through gruesome hurt and pain and most of the time this is perpetuated by some one close. Some of these hurts range from rape, molestation, grievous body harm and many more. In some cases the emotional molestation is so much worse.

Hence, comes today's topic. The scripture above advises us to exhort one another which means we ought to encourage or uplift one another. Forgiveness is hard. Forgiveness is a decision.

No body forgives because it is easy, but we forgive because for peace to reign in us so that we can and must live at peace with all men. Romans 12:18- If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

And yes that includes our abusers. I was beaten to a pulp and almost killed by my blood brother. I held onto that hurt so hard like a clenched fist in my heart hoping that by doing so it would punish him, make him bleed even. He wasn’t punished, he went on to live his live and I stayed there in that quagmire sinking deeper and deeper into bitterness.

This happened 10 years ago, and I was only able to let the hurt go after a conversation I had.

I approached my Bishop (God bless his soul), 10 years after the fact, and I had already decided how I wanted him to respond. Many times we approach people for counselling or advice, but we have already decided how we want them to respond.

By telling him this, I wanted him to help me vilify my brother, I wanted him to baby me and cry with me but what he said astounded me and for the first 10 minutes I was in a state of shock and affront and standing so high on the rock of offence.

He said to me, “my daughter, you did not die you are here talking to me, let him go.” I said no that is unfair. What happens to all these feelings in me, why does he have to get away with it? He  responded, “he will not get away with it, but your healing is your responsibility, handle your business and protect yourself.”

He then took me to different scriptures like Romans 12:17-21- Repay no one evil for evil. Have[a] regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

And how David refused to kill King Saul because he couldn’t and wouldn’t lift his hands against the Lord’s anointed. 1st Samuel 26:9- But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD’s anointed, and be guiltless?” David said furthermore, “As the LORD lives, the LORD shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish.

By no means am I saying my brother should be cut or struck down or that he is the Lords anointed but I was chastened to not hold him in my heart and leave him to his maker.

So, after I left my Bishops office (in a blaze of fury btw) I sat down and allowed his counsel to do its work in me.

When I had realised, I went on my knees to God in repentance and asked God to release me and release my brother.

And He did!

All in all my healing never came because I never took the responsibility for it instead my healing was contingent upon my brother asking for my forgiveness but God does not do things that way, I was meant to forgive, release and heal from him without ever receiving the apology.

When I did do it, I felt a boulder leave my shoulders and feel free and I was able to think of him and only remember the good times.

The journey was hard but oh so worth it!!!

Matthew 6:14- “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”