When God touched me I knew I had to forgive those people who hurt me. I thought it wouldn't be so hard to forgive my parents. I forgave them a gizillion times. No matter what they said, no matter what they did - no matter how awful they treated me - I forgave them. At least I thought I had forgiven them. I think now I just minimized the things they did and made excuses for them.
I thought of the judges, the police, the "professionals" who locked me up, over medicated me, tied me down - did what they wanted. I hated them even more than I hated my parents. I forgave them. Then I thought of what they did and I hated them again. When I remembered the things they did, I wanted to hurt myself. Take the anger and hatred out on me. The hatred made me crazy. I didn't want to hold onto the hate so I forgave them again and again and again. I"m still doing that.
The rapist was even harder to forgive. He hadn't just hurt me. I found out he had hurt kids. Somehow I could forgive him for what he did to me but not for what he did to the kids. When I heard that his son killed himself and what he had done to the boy - I hated him. I wanted to see him punished. And I hated the boy's mother for not protecting him. I didn't want to forgive. I'm working on it.
The hardest to forgive though was myself. I hated me more than I hated everyone else. I hated myself so much I wanted to destroy me. That's why for a long time I couldn't stop hurting myself. Even sometimes now when I'm tired, frustrated or impatient about something - I want to hurt myself. I won't though. I run instead. Or write. The intensity of the feelings overwhelms me.
Forgiveness isn't so easy. I remember how much God forgave me. When He did, the peace and joy I felt were amazing. Like being released from prison. Walking free. Forgiveness. I want to keep on trying to make forgiveness a way of living because I want peace in my life. And I want others to know peace too.