This video interview about reconciliation and forgiveness was posted on the “A Cry for Justice” web site. Here are some of the main points:
Forgiveness is between the victim and God. Reconciliation is between the victim and the abuser, and is not a requirement. It depends on four actions by the abuser:
- He/She must be convicted by God. (Not by the offender, or the police, but by God)
- He/She must have a Godly repentance.
- He/She must offer a true confession. The victim will know if the confession is true.
- He/She must ask for forgiveness. (By the way, the Director of a mission asking a blanket forgiveness for all offenders is not the same as an offender himself asking for forgiveness.)
True contrition for an offender equals “I have no rights.” It results in changed behaviour, and this is how the victim knows there has been a change.
The victim might be slow to believe a confession, if they have a long history of being harmed many times. This is part of the price the offender must pay.
God must be the one to convict an offender, and as we let God do this, we set boundaries, putting the offender out of our lives if necessary. If you are at an impasse with an offender, find your safe boundaries.
Christians are often under incredible pressure and guilt to reconcile with an offender. This is wrong. It is harmful to a victim to reconcile before the offender has met the four steps above, and note that the process begins with a true conviction by God.
This video is targeted more toward relationships, especially marriage, than sexual abuse against children. However, the nature of forgiveness and reconciliation is the same, and many who suffered abuse as a child have ongoing problems with abusive relationships throughout their lives.