The Forgiveness Series Article 15 of 71
This continuation of the case study of The Grunge Kid further explores the biblical principal of forgiveness that we do not have the right to hold our offenders accountable. This counselee was sexually molested as a child. She is told that she must forgive her molester to recover herself. She believes her molester has gotten away with his crime. When Dr. Dunlap presents to her the biblical principle that we do not have the right to hold our offenders accountable, he can almost hear her screaming on the inside.
In this case study, a teenage girl that I counseled was sexually molested as a child for seven years by her paternal grandfather. When she finally worked up the courage to tell her parents, her father exploded in angry disbelief. He told her that his father would never do anything so horrible as that, and he believed that she was making the story up in order to get attention. Often when family members are the perpetrators of sexual abuse, the entire situation, tragically, is swept under the rug.
Her parents told her she could never again bring up the topic of her sexual abuse.
Later that evening the mother went to this girl and said, Were never going to talk about this again. They dropped her accusation like a hot potato. During the next two years, this teenager began to develop rebellious attitudes, and she began to migrate to other kids who shared her negative outlook because she felt accepted by them. When she was 13 years old, school officials told her parents, We dont know what your daughters problem is, but shes on the fast track to becoming a drop-out. They informed the parents that the school would not allow her to re-enroll for the next school term unless she received professional counseling.
She told her story to four professional counselors in two years.
In an effort to be good, conscientious Christian parents, they took her to see a psychologist.
For two years, she saw four different mentwo psychologists and two psychiatrists.
Then when she was 15, her parents heard her throwing up in the bathroom. They suspected that she had an eating disorder. They brought her to the physician I worked with at the time for a physical examination. After examining her, he immediately referred the entire family to me.
Soon the two of us were sitting face to face in my office. The first thing I told her was that if she had any hope whatsoever of leading a normal life she was going to have to be willing to forgive her grandfather. I told her she was also going to have to be willing to forgive her parents. She wouldnt talk to me. I couldnt blame her. I think that if I had been required to repeat this sordid tale again and again to four different counselors, I wouldnt have been in much of a talkative mood either. Therefore, I didnt try to get her to talk. Instead, I began to set before her the biblical principles of forgiveness.
She believed that her grandfather had gotten away with his wicked behavior.
When I presented the principle that we do not have the right to hold our offenders accountable for their wrongdoing, I could almost hear her screaming on the inside. As far as she was concerned, her grandfather had gotten away with his evil deeds. Six months earlier one of the psychiatrists she was seeing had telephoned her grandfather and confronted him with her accusation. She was sitting there in his office when this call took place. The grandfather vehemently denied ever having touched her and then asked the psychiatrist sarcastically, Have you taken one good look at my granddaughter? He was right. If he and his granddaughter had ever ended up in court, it would have been very hard to convict him based on her testimony. She was angry, rebellious and hostile. She didnt appear to be a very credible witness. The grandfather ended the conversation by telling the psychiatrist, If you ever call me again be prepared to talk to my attorney.
When the psychiatrist told her what her grandfather had said, her feelings of hatred and despair were driven deeper into her heart. She gave up any hope that there could ever be justice in this matter, and she made up her mind to live behind her shell of bitterness and rebellion.