Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A religious rant.

I read a quote in a magazine this week saying that we need to work on our forgiveness. That true love means forgiving and forgetting. I can go with the forgiving part, but the forgetting is not required, if you ask me.
I was raised in a strict, religious, SDA home. I learned all the verses about forgiveness. I learned all the other verses, too. I was supposed to be a minister's wife when I grew up. I had piano lessons, I helped out at Vacation Bible School, I worked at Bible camp, and I became a teacher. Instead of becoming a preachers wife, I left the church.
I didn't leave the church when one of the leaders sexually abused me. I didn't leave when other leaders had a meeting and told me "We want to send him overseas for a mission crusade, but you understand it would very...awkward...if you decided to tell people this story while he is being touted as "our number one evangelist" so perhaps you could keep quiet." I didn't even leave when I was told I would never get a job teaching in a church school, because I was obviously a trouble maker. Then the interviewer prayed with me, asking God to forgive those who had perpetuated this "terrible rumour" about one of His chosen shepherds.
I still went to church occasionally, and I forgave my abuser. I sincerely, in my heart, forgave. It was in the past, and I refused to let it destroy my future. I didn't stick close to the church, but I hadn't cut it off yet.
Then one week, in the discussion group, the woman next to me said that to forgive is to forget. I disagreed, and said in my opinion, you can forgive, and not hold the sins against a person, but memory being what it is, sometimes forgetting is not possible. And maybe, even, it would be wise to remember, and not let such mistakes happen again. Learn from the past. She disagreed with me. Strongly. She ranted and raved, saying that true forgiveness will bring forgetfulness, and if you still remember, you haven't forgotten. I saw red. In one big rush, I told her what had happened to me, and said that I do forgive him, I've told him I forgive him, the burden has been lifted from my heart, but to forget? Never. I don't dwell on what happened, but the memory is still there. And this lovely Christian lady informed me that I obviously had not forgiven. I was fooling myself, and lying to myself, and as long as I held onto the memory, I would not be getting into heaven. Not. No way would I be saved.
That's when I left and never went back. Because I can't forget, no matter how hard I forgive.


Raehan said...

It is obvious that you were one smart young lady. Good for you, Tammy. And think of all the young ones that weren't that smart.

Michelle said...

how terrible that must have been to be asked to keep quiet about what had happened to you. you're very brave to have held your ground in the face of so much opposition.

and I agree with you completely, you don't need to forget to forgive. not that I'm an expert at forgiving or anything. I admire you for being able to forgive the person who did this to you. I don't think I'm there yet. I'm not sure if I ever will be.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

That lady is a sack of shit, excuse my French. You did exactly right, Mom.

Sleeping Mommy said...

This is powerful.

I can't blame you. It's people like that who have driven me away from organized religion time and again.

Mamacita said...

They were wrong, wrong, WRONG.

And you were right, and you are still right.

I am struggling with forgiveness issues and I thank you for this post.

peebugg said...

She must of been one of those "deer in the headlights" women.

Forgiving isn't forgetting, forgiving is a difficult thing but it helps you get over the situation. Forgetting is showing the world how stupid you really are.

Everything happens for a reason, and although, at the moment, we don't know or understand the reason--it is there.

It's bad luck to look back and dwell, but remembering your lessons learned is the key to survival.

And I will now step off of my soap box and let you return to your regularly scheduled blogging....:)