Forgiving the Unforgivable


forgiving-othersMy Dear Readers,

No, its not about erasing what happened. There is much more. I cannot give you details about what is on my heart today because what troubles me is the accusation against a man that I know who is accused of raping his 14 year old daughter. I cannot tell you more than this because, to do so would easily allow the curious to find out who he is and possibly cause him greater shame, pain and fear.

The accusation puts me in a strange position. I was a victim of incestuous rape when I was 12 years old. Nobody believed me and my father never went to jail or was ever held accountable for his actions. I believe that after he raped me he harmed other members of my family.  My father is not  here to defend himself and he leaves behind a wife  and other children who are remain conflicted about my story and whether to believe me.  Now, I have come face to face with a man accused of the same crime that occurred to me decades ago. What I find ironic is that many years after my rape occurred, I have stood in the shoes of a man afraid that he will go to jail for a crime he says he did not commit and I  believe him.

Besides trying to help him obtain better legal representation my advice to this man is to find a place in his heart to forgive his daughter. Whether she is lying or telling the truth, this young woman has been traumatized and needs healing.

My friend says that he does not feel animosity towards his daughter or the child’s mother. My friend says that he has put them out of his mind, that he does not think of them- that they are dead to him.

I tell him that he must find a place to forgive her, she is after all his own flesh and blood. He says he cannot find a path to forgiveness when  “the gun” is still pointed to his head- meaning his up coming trial.

I know that forgiveness is very hard, but it is something that the forgiver does for himself.  In trying to convince my friend to forgive his daughter, I believe it will help if I list some basic misconceptions about forgiveness:

  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean you are pardoning or excusing the other person’s actions.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean you need to tell the person that he or she is forgiven.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any more feelings about the situation.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean there is nothing further to work out in the relationship or that everything is okay now.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean you should forget the incident ever happened.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to continue to include the person in your life.
  • … and forgiveness isn’t something you do for the other person.

The other thing that I need to tell him is that forgiving someone is a decision that he will have to affirmatively make each time his thoughts or emotions reflect on what is happening or has happened. It is a choice that he must make over and over.  Also, I must tell him that he cannot forgive his daughter until he has expressed all of his hurt, pain and anger.

I have told my friend that when  his daughter decided to lie about what happened to her that she was seeking something from him. The question is what was this flawed child seeking when she chose to accuse her father of this terrible crime? It will be part of his process to answer this question.  I do not know the answer.

Medical professionals tell us that bottled up anger and emotions can  cause physical damage to the body and the mind. Not expressing or trying to subdue one’s feelings could lead to depression and anxiety or to stomach aches, headaches, and a myriad of physical ailments.

I know that forgiving his hard to do. It has taken me years to forgive my father and my complacent mother who did nothing to investigate my claims.  At no-time in my life has either parent said they were sorry for their actions or lack there of.  Yet, each time that I have found it in myself to forgive them there is a sense of peace and serenity and a place of calm beauty that is in opposite to hatred and anger.

Unlike me, my friend does not have decades which he can work on his forgiveness. He has  five months before he must face a jury a take a chance they will believe him and not her.

In my world of forgiveness, I would ask that my friend simply say the words “I forgive you.” whenever his mind lands upon his daughter and the lie he says that she has told.  This lie is such a terrible lie  or this accusation is such a terrible one, that even the hardest of the hardest  can not easily digest that one can rape one’s own child.  After all raping your own child is a horrible action- yet it happens everyday  all over the world.  I know that his words of forgiveness will be empty, but somehow I feel that he should recall the love of his daughter and from this place forgive her.

I fear, that if my friend does not work out the tormented emotions that plague him and which he fights on a daily basis, those emotions will not be able to be hidden- and who knows how a jury might look at a man whose face seems filled with fear. I do not think this is what he wants to feel on the day that he must face his daughter and that she must face him.

Perhaps, my scenario of forgiveness works only in the movies.  Perhaps, it is not easy to be brave and open when one has been accused of  such a crime as he has been- but I know this- he must come to a place of peace about everything before he enters a court of law to be judged by his peers.

I have no easy solution. Forgiveness takes time- or a miracle. My friend does not have time. I am hoping for a miracle that will ease his heart and give him peace. I will say a prayer for both the daughter and the father. Tonight neither of them will likely sleep and dream peaceful thoughts.  Both are hurt and the legal system will not  bring closure or heal the pain for either of them. The only path that I know for him is to forgive her.  That is all I can say to him. I hope, he will find away to forgive her so that he can return to a place of love for her- regardless of  her actions.

I believe in  a world of forgiveness. I believe it is the greatest gift to bestow upon another and simaltaneously one’s self.

In Light and Love,


Brianna S. Clark,

Your Fellow Journeyer






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