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Freed to Love

I know a young woman who got married but found she could not relate to her husband. As a child, her step-father sexually molested her for a number of years. That experience had made it difficult to have any kind of physical love. A molested child may not like to be touched, even though the thing that they need the most is to be touched and to be hugged.

But this young woman was transferring all of the revulsion and the hatred for her step-father toward her husband because of the depths of her shame and bitterness.

She came to a pastor, and he pointed her to (Luke 6). He said, "What does the Bible say that you should do to your enemies?"

She looked at verse 27 and said, "Love them, do good, bless them, and pray for them."

The pastor said, "That's what you have to do about your stepfather. Until you release all of the feelings of bitterness and you are free in your relationship with him, you will never be free to love your husband."

Every fiber of her being revolted against such advice. She thought to herself, Why should I forgive him? Why should I love him when all of those awful things were done to me?

Yet this young woman decided to apply this text of Scripture. She decided to bake her step-father a birthday cake. Rather than speaking evil of him, she decided to speak well of him. Upon further reflection, she realized that there were many good things she could say about him. In spite of this horrible sin against her, the fact was that in many other ways he was a good father. She began to think about those ways and speak well of him rather than evil. She decided that she would pray for him three times a day, that God would bless him, and that's what she did.

Several weeks went by as she continued to obey the Scriptures and to forgive the man who had so severely wronged her. She told the pastor later that she saw her step-father leave a supermarket and walk across the parking lot with a bag of groceries in his arms. For the first time in all those years, there were actually feelings of love toward him rather than revulsion. She said that except for their previous relationship, she could have gone and put her arms around him.

Then she made the crucial statement that was very important to the survival of her marriage: "Now I'm free to love my husband."

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