By: Ginny Luedeman
I was standing at the stove
preparing dinner, when I received a telephone call letting me
know that my niece had been molested by her stepfather,
repeatedly. My niece was only seven years old when the abuse was
A young friend of our niece’s had told her
mother after a sleepover that the stepfather had tried to involve
her as well in his actions. The mother reported the incident to
the police, and the stepfather was in custody when I got the
I had never been overly fond of this man. I had
tried to see his good qualities, but it was difficult, because he
didn’t exhibit many. Whenever he came to our home, he was
uncomfortable. His behavior was strange, but we tried to be kind
and include him.
I’ve learned the importance of loving
the truth of each individual and to understand that the evil they
express is not actually part of them but something they’re
being manipulated by. Forgiveness isn’t ignoring the evil but
separating it from the individual. There would be no one left on
earth if all of the evil that people exhibited were destroyed
along with the people expressing it.
I considered myself
a forgiving person until this heinous crime aroused such anger
and hatred in me. I felt that I had a right to hate this man. My
strong desire to protect my niece seemed justified. Revenge was
my first reaction.
When I hung up the phone and let the
power of these feelings swell, I inadvertently put my hand on the
hot stove and badly burned it. The correlation to the “burned
up” attitude and my throbbing hand was immediately clear as a
bell. Now what? I really didn’t want to forgive this man; I
hated him. But the pain in my hand was telling me that hatred is
an inflamed state of thought that does no one any good, least of
all me, at that point.
With an open mind and a willing
heart and my hand in a towel, I turned to God for direction. As I
listened, my thoughts became more peaceful. The pain began to
subside. An image of this man as a little child came to me. I was
aware that he had also been a victim of abuse as a young child.
Hatred and ignorance were now victimizing him. He was acting out
a pattern of actions he had been mistakenly taught. The
impersonal nature of sexual abuse became clearer. I didn’t have
to be a victim of abuse by believing that it was part of either
this man or my niece. God didn’t create a twisted mind or a
victim. His intelligence maintains His spiritual creation in
perfect love and harmony at all times. I could be lifted by God’s
grace to see the truth of the situation. I could see more of what
God has created.
I know that my niece is more than a body
with a mind inside. She is a beautiful individual expression of
innocence and joy. My love for her made it easy to see that her
Godlike nature was intact. The Godlike qualities she possesses
can’t be touched by a twisted or perverse concept of love.
Hatred and anger began to fade and give way to compassion and
love. I became part of the solution instead of the problem.
tenderness instead of hatred in my thought, I could help bring to
light comfort and practical steps for my niece and her family.
Within a few days, my hand healed without scarring. The
stepfather was sent to prison and was permanently removed from
our lives. Needed healing and perspective appeared in loving an
natural ways. My niece is a balanced adult with children of her
Victims of abuse can best extinguish the flames of
hatred and manipulation, expressed in acts of violence and other
forms of aggression, through acknowledging the invisible
spiritual reality of clear and pure spiritual innocence. We can
do this right in our own thought.
The place to begin is
with simple everyday experiences, such as having more patience
with the driver who cuts us off, the angry customer, or our
neighbor’s barking dog.
Instead of indulging anger and
righteous indignation - fighting fire with fire - we can make our
mental home a place where the fire has nothing to burn. Both
victim and aggressor are being used by unintelligent evil, which
can be dissolved through intelligent, all-powerful Love, the Love
that is God. With one thought at a time, our world can become a
better place to live.