the Hope of Survivors

I Forgive You by Abigail Smith

For lying to my face, and about me behind my back—I forgive you.
For questioning my marriage, and assuming we had problems—I forgive you.
For taking my heart, my sincere desire to follow God, and smearing it with mud—I forgive you.

For toying with me and flirting with me and crossing a million boundaries—I forgive you.
For crossing the line as my boss, as my pastor, as a “grandpa”—I forgive you.
For flippant words and angry words and sexual words—I forgive you.

For telling me I needed it, I liked it, I wanted it—I forgive you.
For saying all I wanted was attention—I forgive you.
For blaming it on how I dress—I forgive you.

For asking me to keep secrets for you, to tell nobody, to hide what you’ve done and said—I forgive you.
For yelling at me and belittling me and making fun of me—I forgive you.
For following your anger with sweet words and sticky promises—I forgive you.
For the pain you’ve brought and the hurt you’ve caused and the blame you’ve heaped—I forgive you.
For the sleepless nights, the tear-filled nights, the endless nights—I forgive you.
For the shame I’ve felt and the hurt, the raw pain and agony of soul—I forgive you.

For making me question myself, my motives, my own heart—I forgive you.
For the disconnection from others, the difficulty in trusting people, in feeling safe again—I forgive you.
For making me question my worth as a daughter of God—I forgive you.

For putting me in difficult situations and making me apologize for your behavior—I forgive you.
For making me afraid…afraid of speaking up, of saying what I think, of saying no—I forgive you.
For telling stories about me, as a loose, immoral woman, when you knew it wasn’t true—I forgive you.
For accusing me of relationships with other men when there were none—I forgive you.

For forcing me to my knees, as I cried out to God in prayer—I’m thankful.
For the lessons learned and the victories won and the absolute trust in my Father—I’m thankful.
For the naivety shattered and the discernment developed—I’m thankful.
For my walk with Jesus and such closeness with my husband—I’m thankful.

Because it’s made me trust God more and look to Him above all else—I’m so very grateful.


If you are a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, we would love to hear your story and possibly make it available on this web site for others to read and renew their hope. You can use a pseudonym if you choose and rest assured that all personal information will be kept private and strictly confidential. Please contact us.

Please note: We do not necessarily agree with or endorse all the information contained in the survivor’s stories. We do, however, feel they have some valuable information that could be useful to you in your recovery. It helps to know you’re not alone, that others have shared your pain and have healed, by the grace of God, in their own time and way.

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart...Psalms 34:18