What is the Sacrifice of Forgiveness

What is sacrifice?

I-will-die-for-you by Artist Leonie.e.Brown

An act of offering to a deity something precious especially : the killing of a victim on an altar. 2 : something offered in sacrifice. 3a : destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else. b : something given up or lost the sacrifices made by parents.

A sacrifice is something important or precious that is given up for the sake of gaining something or allowing something to happen that is considered more important.

An act of slaughtering an animal or person or surrendering a possession as an offering to a deity.
 
Christ’s offering of himself in the Crucifixion.
 
Give up (something valued) for the sake of other considerations.

All great art is vulnerable.

Everything we do begins in the mind with a thought. If we want to change anything in our lives we first have to change and heal our minds and thinking.

Dr. Caroline Leaf

In most cases, someone experiences PSTD symptoms because their brain and body are trying to process what happened and cope with extremely adverse experience(s). This is not a sign that something is wrong with the person, nor is it a disease. PTSD is a sign that the mind, brain, and body are trying to deal with something horrible. 

Some of you have read some of my past blogs. Just to recap, I grew up with an intellectual alcoholic father and a very emotionally unstable and overtly strict mother. Each one of these things has its own emotional results on the development of a child.

At 14 going on 15, I met an older man. He was only 20 or 21 at that stage, but he was big and strong and I was looking for love and protection. A 5-year difference at that age is huge. He was also an abuser and a rapist.

I am not saying that I was not also to blame. I rebelled against my parents and started a relationship with this man without knowing what I was getting into.

This effected my belief in God. How can a good God allow something so bad to happen to a child?

For many years I hated God and despised any form of authority. I hated men, I hated the Church, I hated God.

I tried to find my solace in other things. I started drinking, and isolated myself. I had moments of crazy, and being the life of the party. I loved and craved attention, but did not believe that I was worth being loved.

I turned to Art to show my anger and disgust. Painting my anger did not heal my heart.

WHEN FAITH HURTS

A number of studies suggest that spirituality is an intrinsic part of human development and may be particularly important to vulnerable children. In a study of 149 youth in an institutional care setting, 86% of these children considered themselves spiritual or somewhat spiritual (McLaughlin 1994).

Some researchers have found that a victim’s “spiritual coping behavior” may play either a positive or negative role in the survivor’s ability to cope with the abuse and with life in general (Gall 2006). Victims of severe abuse may remain “stuck” in their spiritual development such as remaining angry with God. Children abused at younger ages are “less likely to turn to God and others for spiritual support.” (Gall 2006). Nonetheless, even victims describing a difficult relationship with God “still rely on their spirituality for healing.” Victims who experience “greater resolution” of their childhood abuse are able to “actively turn to their spirituality to cope…rather than attempt to cope on their own.” (Gall 2006).

A number of studies document religiousness can moderate posttraumatic symptoms (Bryant-Davis 2012). For example, a study of 2,964 professional women sexually abused as children noted the survivors with no religious practices had significantly more post traumatic symptoms (Elliott 1994).

How people handle stressors is significant. What people turn to in times of trouble is relevant. Similar to procrastination, some people strive under pressure and some cannot handle the heat. Likewise, with life’s difficulties, some people turn to methods of coping like smoking or drinking. Others seem to strive in the midst of trouble. Something seems to separate the two responses. In orthodox Christianity, one’s faith can help them through the stressors of life. It allows them to see a different perspective and continue to have faith in something greater than they are. Still others, including those who claim a strong religious orientation, choose other ways of coping.

Art cannot Heal without the Sacrifice of Fragility

No wound ever speaks for itself. The only thing that you will find emerging spontaneously from a wound is blood. If you’re interested in the deeper significance, then wounds have to be read. They have to be interpreted and deciphered. Vulnerology, or the science of wounds, is the activity of this interpretation.

—Display Wounds, Ruminations of a Vulnerologist, Gregory Whitehead

There is a difference between being fragile and being vulnerable. Being fragile is being insubstantial, easily damaged, or completely broken, sometimes permanently. Vulnerability consists of a critical self-knowledge, which acts as the solid ground for generous listening toward a compassionate creativity. Vulnerability is part of true intelligence.

Critical self-knowledge is the basis for vulnerability. However, we live in a society of increasingly false multiple selves, so self-knowledge is harder to achieve than ever. Yet, we cannot be vulnerable unless we truly know ourselves. Otherwise, we are simply fragile.

In the arts, an artist who works with “radical vulnerability”can bring true healing to self and others.

As a human being I had to look at myself and also recognize my responsibility in the actions I chose. Yes, others did to me what should not have been done. But out of those actions I chose to make certain decisions. It was my decision to close off. It was mu decision to distrust, it was my decision to hate.

The Destructive Power of Hate

Hate is a mighty strong emotion. This mental venom can pollute your spirit, poison your soul and seep into all of the relationships that surround you. Anyone who has found themselves wrapped up in the arms of hate knows how damaging and mind-consuming it can become. Generally speaking, there are two kinds of hate: the kind that’s turned outward (explosion), and the kind that’s turned inward (implosion). Both of these will eat you up inside.

I lived with both. Massive anger to others and inward anger to myself manifesting in destructive behavior and anorexia

Only Sacrifice bring Atonement

In a similar way, hatred produces energy for destructive power. And the fission – what actually ignites the explosion – is driven by the intense hostility, fear, anger or sense of injury one feels. When you’re confronted by this kind of extreme dislike, you basically have two choices regarding your response: You can either sink to the hater’s level and toss a few H-Bombs of your own, or you can recognize this behavior as a character flaw and not respond in kind.

Hatred of Others becomes Self-Hatred

Too often, we turn our feelings of dislike on ourselves, which is equally damaging. Hate turned inward can crush your spirit and impact your health. Take overeating, for example, which many say is a symptom of self-hate. By compulsively not eating, cutting, bad-mouthing and overeating, you’re actually making yourself sick, physically and spiritually.

The road to Healing

There are two sides to forgiveness: decisional and emotional. Decisional forgiveness involves a conscious choice to replace ill will with good will. “You no longer wish bad things to happen to that individual,” says Dr. VanderWeele. “This is often quicker and easier to accomplish.”

I had to choose to forgive, so that I could be set free form theses chains that kept me and influenced every decision I make. Hating someone or something is like looking through binoculars with tinted lenses. Everything you see looks screwed.

Forgiveness does not erase the past, but looks upon it with compassion.

Forgiveness is a staple of the Christian faith. We know that Christ died as a sacrifice so we can receive forgiveness, and we know we’re called to forgive others.

THE  POWER OF FORGIVENESS

Forgiveness means giving up the suffering of the past and being willing to forge ahead with far greater potential for inner freedom. Besides the reward of letting go of a painful past, there are powerful health benefits that go hand-in-hand with the practice of forgiveness.

What is Forgiveness

4 Steps to Forgiveness and Freedom

These are the steps I also had to take to get to my Freedom. I am now a whole and forgiven person. I am forgiven because I have forgiven. My heart is healed and my mind is whole.

Uncover your anger

It takes courage to get honest about anger. It’s scary. If you express anger, will it be uncontrollable? Will other people tolerate it? Will you be a bad person?

Buy a notebook and designate it your “Anger Journal.” Write down what you know you are angry about, with whom you are angry, and how that anger has impacted you.

Decide to forgive.

Forgiveness is always a choice. I make those choices every day. The become easier.

If someone hurt you deeply, you probably aren’t ready to just let it go. In fact, you may be holding on to your anger pretty tightly. That’s human nature.

Make one small choice every day.

Work on it

It could be that the injury done you was itself an unforgivable act. Perhaps you were seriously physically abused, and sexually molested, like I was.

Adults are always responsible for their own behavior. But it might help to consider the possibility your offender was him or herself a victim at some time. Molesters were often molested. Violent criminals were often subject to violence in their own lives. That does not make what was done to you right. Never! And it does not mean making excuses for what  others did to you.

But in re-framing it means that I choose to forgive knowing what was done to me. Because I also do not know what was done to them.

Release the person

That means, to let them go. It often helps to speak to the person as if they are standing in front of you. And…that might go with a lot of tears and anguish.

The ground of the heart can only be soft when wet with tears – Leonie.e.Brown

The Meaning of the Painting

I (and you) am the young girl. The girl is placed on the right side of the canvass because she is moving out of the frame into the future.

She looks back over her shoulder to the past. It has no hold on her. The bleeding swan faces to the left towards the past, standing between her and what happened. The swan is bleeding. he has been wounded in his heart and he is looking at the blood dripping down his breast to the bottom of the canvass.

The swan is symbolic of eternity hope, purity, and a future. He has given all of that up so that she can walk on and He will face and keep the past in His heart. Her hurt has become His hurt.

She has been painted on silver foil. Silver gets purified through extreme heat (circumstances). She has been forgiven and purified. She is free of any uncleanliness.

The overall colour used is Blue. It spiritually signifies the healing power of God.

For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matt 6:14-15

And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25

Poem by Kim Brown

‘Intrinsic humanity burns my skin. Brandishing hot desire over my cool innocence. Ineffaceable blemish scars my conscience. My Sacred substance – now virtue lost. Wholly abandoned, my life blood crusts over my youthful innocence. Caution hurdles as it chases one soft word, it finds jagged taunts. Rancid words my food, none satisfy. Impiety has ravished the fathers. Reticence has muzzled the mother’s. Race me to my death. Save me from my life. Dark water stirs. You see me hide near your tranquil mirror where I find solace. Your eyes don’t judge my matted extrinsic shell. The allure of your purity, like silk and blazing white. My feral eyes have seen so much life. Yet you come close unafraid. Eased by Your warmth and grace, I lift my head to see your face. I can’t, it hurts to feel – I run. Back to My cerebral fairytale castle, no walls to protect no human divine. My pain pierces Your centre. My blood is on your bosom. You know me full well. You find me. Silhouette of existence is given Light eternal. My sadness is releases like shadows. Your breath ransomed my inhale. My barrenness for Your flight. My guilt for Your virtue. My fear takes wings on pronoia.’

My aim to make art that not only tells my story but all our stories. To speak to the abused, the down-trodden, the hopeless, the lost, the lonely, the shamed, the orphan, the abandoned.

We are the sum total of our past…but we don’t have to stay there.

From the age of four up until my late twenties, I suffered abuse in my closest relationships. At eighteen, I went to varsity in Potchefstroom to study my life’s passion – art. As I tried to find my feet as a student/artist/young woman, themes of angst, despair, anger, and abuse filled my paintings. I won prizes this way. I won respect and admiration for my talent. But I was also reliving the suffering and continually victimizing myself, which ultimately dug the pit of hopelessness deeper.

At the age of 29 life came to a turning point, as I had come to the end of myself – I gave up on trying to build life my way. I turned to my faith (which I had rejected along the way) for help and became part of a faith-filled family which is where I met and married my wonderful and loving husband, Rob. I never looked back.

In the past, I had used my story and negative feelings as the source of my artistic inspiration.

You see, everyone can resonate with negative visual language – we all drift towards it because it is a reflection of our imperfect selves. The Bible speaks of it in this way: “Sin gives birth to sin, but Spirit gives birth to Spirit”. I became a victor instead of a victim. I saw light and wanted to speak light in my visual language.

The more I began to see what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable through my walk of faith, the more I put it into practice – both in my personal life and in my artistic practice. I realized that the dark paintings I had painted before were not inspiring the viewers to a higher calling or glorifying the Creator, nor even showing what is good and lovely.

Painting is a strange business.

J. M. W. Turner

I now see my work as contemporary Romanticism rendered in an Impressionistic style, sometimes to the point of complete Abstraction. I enjoy applying bright colors in thick, multiple layers of paint to bring out messages of hope on canvas.

Currently Reading: Traditional Oil Painting by Virgil Elliott

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