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True forgiveness is more than saying you are sorry

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 25: Actress Mo'Nique attends the 83rd Academy Awards Nominations Announcement held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on January 25, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California.
Photo by Kevin Winter _ Getty Images _

Two years ago I seethed in anger as I watched Oprah's interview with Gerald Immes, the older brother of Oscar-winner Mo'Nique. This monster, as his little sister Mo'Nique refers to him, began molesting her when she was just 7 years old. While Immes was only 14 years old when he began to victimize his little sister, he was old enough to know that what he was doing to her was wrong. His televised apology did nothing to bring healing or closure to his little sister. He never owned his sin and even lied about the details. Immes did the interview with Oprah because as he claims, he wanted to apologize to Mo'Nique and to restore their brother and sister relationship. Well, according to Mo'Nique it ain't happening.

Now before you condemn Mo'Nique and accuse her of being unforgiving, please pray for her. Pray that she might receive the Lord’s healing touch to counteract and even wash away the vile touch of her big brother. My heart ached for Mo'Nique as she must have relived her abuse while her brother sought compassion from the world - compassion that he never demonstrated to his baby sister.

To pour salt into an already festering wound, Mo’Nique’s parents seemed to be clueless to the damage their son had done to their daughter. This remains a source of pain for the star, even as an adult. “I was molested by my older brother…and even when I confronted him and told my parents, he said I was lying, and nothing was really done.”

If the OFFENDER cannot state specifically what he did or said that was wrong, his confession is incomplete...and a sign of rejecting the Word of God and the Work of the HOLY SPIRIT… Bill Fields

I wish I could tell Mo’Nique that her brother’s action or inaction does not determine her healing and deliverance. I wish I could tell her that her brother's apologies are empty because he has not owned what he did to her. That is why his apology makes her so angry. You cannot molest your little sister and just say, “I’m sorry”. Gerald Immes may never admit to what he did to Mo’Nique, but Mo’Nique must forgive him if she has not already.

Forgiveness does not remove the hurt and the anger, especially if your offender(s) plays the victim, but forgiveness allows the Lord to step in and heal. It will take time, so do not force yourself to prove that you have forgiven your offenders. And another thing, do not let self-righteous religious people put you in more bondage by condemning you because you still hurt and still do not trust your offenders to be in relationship with them. Just stay on the road of forgiveness and healing and make no stops until you are totaling delivered.

True forgiveness does not mean that you trust your offender or want a relationship with them. What it does mean is that you will let God deal with your offenders while you leave the door open for possible restoration.

True forgiveness is not for cowards. True forgiveness says that I am strong enough not to seek revenge, but humble enough to let the Lord restore if possible. In any event, I must always operate in wisdom. I forgive my offenders for lying on me, but if they are still lying God does not require that I fellowship with them or be in relationship with them to prove that I have forgiven them. Other offenders and even Christians will challenge me to prove my Christian faith by allowing them back into my life as proof of that I have forgiven them. Well, it ain't happening.

There are many people both in the Church and in the world, who offer apologies when they should be asking for forgiveness. Their weak apologies without repentance serve only to pour salt in already gangrenous heart wounds. True forgiveness takes courage, humility and faith. True forgiveness is more than just saying you are sorry.

Monica C. Holland
Author, Editor, Teacher, Talk Show Host
Woman of Destiny Magazine Online
Charlotte Christianity Examiner
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