Over 20 years ago, I was in a church service where a guest speaker was sharing. He was a well known men’s ministry leader and at this time, I cannot recall what topic he preached on, but in the middle of his teaching he stopped and began to minister to the women in the meeting.
He began to acknowledge all the ways in which women had been wounded by men. Whether it was childhood abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, he covered a plethora of offenses and the atmosphere began to change. You could hear women sobbing and being touched by what he said.
After his message to them, he invited those women who had been wounded to come to altar to forgive their abuser. But the way in which he did it, was the most healing part of all. Of every woman that was at the altar, he looked at each individually and as a man acknowledged what was done to them and on behalf of their abuser, asked for forgiveness and allowed each woman to respond.
When he came to me, I was in tears and when he asked for forgiveness on behalf of my abuser, I said “yes”, and decades of trauma from my childhood sexual abuse, began to melt in the power of that forgiveness. It was a life altering moment in my healing journey.
John 20:23 | “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”