How do we cope when things go radically wrong??
People, events, attitude and even the weather can change our lives in often dramatic ways – things we never even thought of before can come thumping into our lives in the most unexpected ways and times. Things that can floor you and change your life forever.
The murders ripped the very soul out of the small town where they lived and because it was murder and also of the sheer brutality of both I doubt the family will ever be the same again.
So how do you cope when life takes a hideous detour?
It is certainly way too hard to lose a loved one anyway, but to add a brutal murder to the events of death the complexities become 100% deeper because of denial and shock.
Murder, and again I am thinking of this particular shocking one, is especially horrifying because another person, a third person, felt that your loved one’s life was worth nothing and took innocence and through their own decision blotted it out.
The very shock of losing a dear one, a friend or acquaintance grabs hold of you immediately and leaves you totally devastated.
I guess after the shock comes anger -which up to now may be completely unknown to the Christian especially in regards to a family member if they are involved.
Many people feeling this way, beat themselves up because of guilt – it would not be uncommon to be so angry at people, jealous of other families.and even angry at God. In lots of cases I can imagine that this anger and heartbreak will never go completely away.
It is so natural to feel anger and the need for revenge that your minds and your lives can think of nothing else.
So understandably, the very thought of forgiveness is way out of your comfort zone if I can call it that! It doesn’t even make a blip on your radar. Again please don’t beat yourself up for this. It is understandable and completely natural.
Yet, forgiveness can be a soul/life restoring huge event that is really not about the perpetrator at all – it’s about you! Letting go of your anger, your jealousy, your need for revenge and yes, even your guilt and anything else that is holding you back can point you in the direction of living a fulfilling life.
Can we do this on our own? This is a question I struggled with for years after an event in my own life that has affected me constantly. I have come to the conclusion that YES in a way we can but not fully!
Believe me I tried. But it was only after I decided to let God have 100% of my life was I finally was able to put a full stop to that period and let go of my guilt and anger and the ever-present need for revenge.
I realise now that no matter what we do or the legal system does to the perpetrator or even if he/she seemingly “gets away” with the crime, nothing will leave you with any feeling of completeness and finality as forgiveness does,
With time and when I say that, it took years and years in my case, (so please don’t be hard on yourself) to feel any sort of forgiveness to the perpetrator. The sheer fact that you even commence to feel forgiveness or even to allow the thought to fly through your heart and brain is a HUGE step forward.
So in the case mentioned above, to begin to feel a sort of forgiveness towards the killer will be an amazing step – a huge leap actually!
Now, this is something that I learned and would dearly love to pass onto you.
I would suggest that we don’t forgive him for his horrendous crime but for his erroneous, flawed and counterfactual humanity. It is so natural to feel hatred, when you face evil and honestly. With the case mentioned above that is what we are dealing with – pure evil.
But with forgiveness comes the miraculous feeling of self preservation and a release of guilt. It’s not saying ‘go ahead and let the perpetrator off the hook’ far from it! But it is a release to let compassion heal your own heart and soul.
God really is the only one who can forgive the perpetrator fully and properly. Let’s face it we are all flawed we all have erroneous and counterfactual personalities and really we are the ones that need forgiveness too.
Should hatred, spite and the need of revenge rule our lives or are we ready to at least entertain forgiveness?
Below is a eye-popping website to visit – please take the time to do just that but I must warm you that it is very very heart rending. It tells the story of Marietta Jaeger and her family who were out camping when her young daughter, Suzie aged 7, was seized and brutally murdered about a week later. It’s a heart rending account and really quite horrific but also shows how Marietta coped and still coping.
Forgiveness takes courage and a trust in God – it takes boldness to confront your own thoughts, angers and the
need for revenge but with God we can be overcomers and we can grow in love, mercy and forgiveness.
Will we ever ‘get over’ such atrocities as this? I hardly think so. But God alone knows the outcome of EVERY situation in our lives and knows what is the best way for us to move or inch forward to grow us into Christ followers regardless of the atrociousness that has marred and scarred our lives.
God bless you all this week as we move on with God and we may even consider for a fleeting moment what it would be like to forgive.
With God’s grace leading us, you never know we may find security in knowing we are in a healthy place again.
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