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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: September 25, 2014.

Jack Watts’ weekly column is aimed at helping those who have been wounded, including those who have been abused by the church. If you are in pain—or if someone you know is in pain—you will find real comfort, wisdom, and many answers right here. Based on his book, Recovering from Religious Abuse, published by Simon & Schuster, Jack will teach you the value of working the “11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom.” Remember, recovery is a process—not a destination. The answers are simple but not always easy. Look to the Lord and allow His Spirit to heal you.

There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness—Josh Billings


Part of spiritual abuse is being falsely accused. As you can imagine, it’s one of the worst feelings in the world. Everything in you screams out for vindication and revenge. You want to let the entire world know that you have done nothing wrong. In spite of your embarrassment, everything inside of you insists on setting the record straight—immediately, not later.

The normal, healthy, appropriate thing to do is to fight back, and that’s exactly what you intend to do. Now, let me ask you:

  • Does this sound familiar?
  • Is this exactly how you felt?
  • Turning your other cheek isn’t something you would ever consider, right?

You want retribution—not forgiveness. But that’s not how the Lord behaved, is it? He was so focused upon doing the will of the Father; He never defended Himself, when He was falsely accused. He never lifted a finger, and He certainly could have.

Could you do the same thing? Could you be this selfless? Would it even occur to you this might be what the Lord wants from you?

In recovery, choosing to forgive is as difficult as it gets, and it’s hard to think about the future when everything inside of you wants to fight. Vindication can be obtained, but it’s best left in the Lord’s hands. Let Him be your advocate.

Reflect back and think about what would have happened in your own situation, if you had not focused on vindication. I know this is difficult, but just imagine—what if! What did acting out your anger accomplish—other than making you feel good for a very short period of time? Long-term, it probably did more harm than good.

If you reflect upon the alternative outcome, it may help you in the future. To help you let go of self-vindication and forgive your abuser, join me in this prayer:


Now that I’ve revealed myself completely,

Being as honest and forthright

As I know how to be,

Having also admitted my faults to another,

Please You to heal my pain completely,

And change anything in me You desire.

You are Almighty God; and I am not.

I’m weary of trying to walk a path

That has not been directed by You.

To complete the process of purging

All that remains toxic in my soul,

I know there is one final step I need to travel,

Which I want to do right now, Lord.

I release those who have been abusive to me,

Forgiving them totally and completely.

I have clutched my anger and bitterness

For far too long, and I have paid

A heavy price within my soul for doing so.

Believing I was punishing them by withholding forgiveness,

I have only punished myself instead,

Which I now realize and no longer desire to do.

I forgive them—just as You have forgiven me.

I release them completely—just as You have released me.

Give me the strength to put my pain and anger in the past,

And allow me to walk into the future unencumbered,

Free from the debilitating shackles that have enslaved me

To become the person You created me to be.

I ask this in the power of the Holy Spirit,

And in Christ’s Name, amen.


Refer to Step 9:I humbly ask God to change anything He wishes, and I ask Him to heal my pain. Because God forgives us as we forgive others, I forgive my abusers.


For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously. (I Peter 2:21-23)



To see more on recovery, check out  The 11 Steps to Recover from Religious Abuse.




Jack Watts won the award for the “Most Inspirational Memoir” in 2011 for Hi, My Name Is Jack, published by Simon & Schuster. They also published Recovering from Religious Abuse: 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom.His daily blog, Pushing Jesus, is read in more than 140 countries. Jack lives in Atlanta, where he broadcasts two weekly Blog Talk Radio shows—Jack Watts Live and Jack Watts on Recovery. Single, he has five children and nine grandchildren.


To see more from Jack Watts please visit


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