What I Learned About Forgiveness When Religious People Rejected Me
How did we get here? I thought I had found the perfect man —that I was marrying my best friend and that we would grow old together. Looking back, I see all the red flags I ignored: our toxic codependency. The bullying. The neglect. I felt unheard and undesired. Who I was as a person was never enough.
I should have just sat him down and told him the truth: This isn’t working. We’re hurting each other. But I was too wrapped up in other people’s opinions. So, I kept acting like we were the perfect church-going couple, all the while secretly looking for affirmation in an emotional affair. I knew it was wrong and that none of my husband’s mistakes justified being unfaithful. But I did it anyway. Things went downhill fast after my husband found the texts, and the following year I finally had to accept that my marriage couldn’t be fixed. We decided together to get a divorce.
It felt like the end of everything. Could there possibly be a way through the nightmare? With peace so far out of reach, it felt like condemnation, shame, and bitterness would finally break me.
1. People don't get to decide what is unforgivable.
I was picking up the pieces from my failed marriage, trying to find my footing in a whole new world as a divorcee, when the second bomb dropped. My pastor called me while I was working at a photoshoot. I’ll never forget his words, “Because you refuse to reconcile with your husband, your church membership has been revoked.”
My jaw dropped. There, in the middle of the set, I sobbed in anger and disbelief. I thought I was at rock bottom before, but this was a new low. These were the people who were supposed to love me through my hardest times. How could they disown me right when I needed them most? And if God’s people had rejected me, didn’t that mean that God had rejected me, too?