Help for Sex Offenders: How To Forgive Your Own Offences

When I am talking to sex offenders about their past offences, they tend to respond in one of two ways. The first group feels so horrible about what they’ve done that they can barely talk about it, let alone fathom how they could ever feel anything other than disgust and hatred for themselves. The second group is so afraid of how horrible they will feel if they actually allow themselves to face what they’ve done that they are trying very hard not to face it by downplaying what actually happened. A lie that is desperately clung to here is that their victims either didn’t notice or understand what was being done to them, therefore no real damage could have been done to them. Another defence used by this second group is to try to deny what their own motivations were at the time. “I wasn’t trying to abuse him or her. I didn’t know what I was doing.”

Denial is one of the main defences used by every human on the planet. Both our souls and our subconsciouses use denial as a shield when they are trying to protect themselves from being overwhelmed by stress and pain. As a counsellor, I understand how critical denial can be to keeping a system tacked together in a crisis moment, so I don’t think less of people who are steeped in it. But a post like this won’t help those of you who are still neck deep in denial over your past offences. Sexually assaulting others in any way results in immense psychological trauma down the line, and the brutal reality is that many victims will never recover from the fallout. Even victims who pretend that they are unaffected by what you did to them are massively affected, and over time, their ability to hide those effects will erode. As for the argument that “my victim didn’t understand what I was doing,” the chances of that being true are slim to none. Even infants who can neither walk nor talk have the ability to recognize when they are being physically mistreated and sexually violated. The subconscious is fully active at birth; it does not need the physical body and brain to develop to a certain point before it can begin to operate as the system’s protector. Given how zealous the subconscious is to protect its system, and given the fact that it’s impossible to sexually violate someone without accessing zones on their bodies that are being hyper-guarded by their subconscious, you can’t sexually violate someone “on the sly.” Even if you resort to using drugs to try to shut the conscious down and force the body into a state of sleep, the subconscious never sleeps, and it is far too intelligent not to suss out when something fishy is going on. The human subconscious is an incredible creation and it picks up on far more than you’d ever expect it to. When your goal is to recover from being a sex offender and heal from the issues that are causing you to want to offend, you need to stop with useless denial games. It’s only by facing reality that we can have any hope of finding a way to live with that reality without it driving us towards self-destruction.

Now I have yet to meet a sex offender who can properly explain to me why he (or she) violated their past victims. There is always a why, and understanding what the why was in your own case is a vital part of learning to forgive yourself. This is because forgiveness is fuelled by compassion and compassion is built on understanding. Without self-understanding, you can’t develop self-compassion, and without self-compassion, you are going to find it impossible to properly forgive yourself. I say “properly” because there are right and wrong reasons to attempt forgiveness. When we build forgiveness on the wrong foundation, it either crumbles on us, or it morphs into a negative, harmful thing over time. The goal of this post is to steer you towards the right motivations so that you can develop a healthy form of forgiveness–the kind that will aid your recovery process, not hamper it.

Understanding the Problem

Anytime you’re trying to get unstuck in life, it’s helpful to first pinpoint the source of the problem. Forgiveness is a soul issue, not a subconscious one. Your subconscious was the part of you that pushed you to violate others in the past, and it did so for reasons that it considered to be quite valid and logical at the time. While your subconscious might regret some of the consequences of its actions (such as you being arrested or having your family disown you), your subconscious is not going to care about the morality of what it did. Subconsciouses are designed by God to care about different issues than souls do, so it’s not a flaw that your subconscious isn’t plagued with guilt and shame over its past crimes. No one’s subconscious gets hung up like this. But when it comes to your soul, we’re dealing with an entirely different kind of creature–one who cares immensely about the issue of you being a morally decent person. Since sexual assault is a morally despicable thing, your soul finds it horrifying that you’ve committed such a heinous sin, and this is where we find you today: reeling from the horror of it all, and stalled in an endless cycle of “I’m such a monster” and other very unhelpful thoughts.

So how do you get unstuck once you reach this point? Well, it was soul logic that created this problem. Your soul has looked over your past offences, formed its own logical assessment of your actions, and reached a logical conclusion that you are impossible to forgive. But what exactly does it mean to be “impossible to forgive”? It means that right now, your soul can’t come up with logical justification for forgiving you. This is a major problem, because your soul is an extremely logical little thing and it won’t accept a bunch of nonsense. Any theory or belief has to make some degree of logical sense to your soul before it will be willing to fully embrace it.

Don’t be misled by the way religious folks try to separate the concepts of “faith” and “reason” and talk as if their own spiritual beliefs aren’t steeped in logic. In real life, all spiritual beliefs are built on a set of very logical assumptions. What makes some spiritual beliefs seem illogical at first glance is the fact that souls and subconsciouses have different ideas about what counts as “reasonable evidence.” Your subconscious relies heavily on your physical body to help it define reality, and that means it is very resistant to acknowledge the reality of things that your body can’t physically detect. For example, since your body normally can’t detect the presence of supernatural beings (God, demons, angels), your subconscious logically concludes such beings aren’t real unless some “solid evidence” comes in. But your soul views things very differently. It is much more interested in philosophical arguments like “This universe is far too ordered to have formed by accident.” Your soul still needs things to make sense, but it doesn’t require as much physical evidence as your subconscious does, and this results in your soul finding it much easier to believe in concepts that your subconscious feels are ridiculous or irrelevant.

Understanding some basic principles about how your soul thinks is very useful when you’re trying to help it out of a logical quandary. Our challenge now is to help your own soul see why it is not only logically valid for you to forgive yourself, but why it is also necessary for you to forgive yourself for the past if your soul wants to achieve its own goals for your life. To do this, I’m now going to offer logical rebuttals for the most common arguments souls use to justify saying “I can never forgive myself.”

A Lack of Just Cause

“There is no justification for what I’ve done, therefore there can be no compassion.”

Souls who get stuck here are dealing with a lack of education about why their partner subconsciouses behave the way that they do. Most humans have a pretty low level of self-understanding, and they can’t distinguish between their souls and subconsciouses, let alone identify significant differences between those two elements. Since you can’t develop forgiveness without compassion, when a lack of understanding is blocking your ability to develop compassion for yourself, gaining a better understanding of yourself needs to become a top priority.

Helping souls learn some essential facts about how their partner elements work was one of the main reasons I wrote my book Recovering from Pedophilia. Education is vital whenever we find ourselves grappling with the “unforgivable” label, so if you have pedophilia and you haven’t read my book, you need to. If you don’t have pedophilia, but instead find yourself feeling compelled to assault older human victims or non-human victims through rape or torture, this site contains a lot of material that will help your soul gain critical insights into why your subconscious feels so drawn to these kinds of activities. If you can’t find information on your particular issue, or if you’d like more information about some aspect of your own situation, then send in an anonymous request. Education is a vital step in learning to forgive, and since education is available, there is no excuse for you to sit there not asking the questions that your soul is currently feeling tormented by.

Sex offenders who are stalled in this first logical dilemma are often afraid to ask their questions because they believe the answers they receive will cause them even more pain. If you ask people who don’t know what they’re talking about, then yes, your chance of being told a bunch of crushing lies is rather high. But if you’re reading this post, then you have not-so-accidentally stumbled upon a site in which real answers are available, and real answers do not crush the soul. Instead, such answers help the soul enormously.

Among those who read my book on pedophilia and then took steps to track down my site so they could contact me directly, every single one has reported that the book greatly helped them on a soul level. They say things like “I feel better about myself” and “I now feel like I understand myself better.” This is the effect of real answers, even on a topic as grim as sexual assault: they help the soul feel less crushed, and they cause a ray of hope to appear on what was previously an utterly dark horizon. Your soul must have hope in life, and education plays a vital role in gaining hope.

So what’s wrong with this first soul argument for why you’re unforgivable? It’s based on ignorance. Humans always have logical reasons for doing what they do, so it simply doesn’t work to say “there’s no justification for what I did.” Of course there’s justification. Your subconscious could provide you with a very detailed explanation of why you did what you did, and how the whole grim affair was actually a very sincere effort on the part of your mind to help you by freeing you up from a specific internal crisis. But once your soul starts ranting on and on about what a scumbag you are, your subconscious is very likely to shutdown and refuse to explain itself. This is quite a reasonable response on its part. After all, are you going to open up about your most sensitive fears and wounds to someone who is glaring at you and talking down to you like you’re some despicable worm?

If you want your own mind to dialogue with you about the past, you need to start treating it with a lot more respect. Your subconscious is an extremely intelligent, hardworking, very creative problem solver who is utterly devoted to your well-being even when your soul is being a total jerk to it. Your soul has no basis for randomly declaring that your mind has no reasons for doing what it did when it hasn’t bothered to really listen to your mind’s view of things. Any good judge makes a serious attempt to gather as many facts about the situation as he can before passing a verdict. Souls who use this first excuse for why they won’t forgive aren’t making any attempts to gather the facts. Once your soul recognizes what a rotten judge it’s being, it can understand why it needs to change its approach if it’s going to live up to its own definition of fair. It’s never fair to pass judgment without listening first, so the solution to getting unstuck from this first position is to listen and learn about why your own mind behaves the way that it does.

Time Order & A Lack of Worth

“After the terrible things I’ve done, I don’t deserve forgiveness.”

To be deserving of something means to be worthy of it. We would all agree that personal suffering makes people worthy of all kinds of good things: charity, medications, friendship, kindness, material gifts, emotional support, patience. Once we recognize that someone is currently in a state of suffering, we will often readily agree that they need and deserve help. The more intense the suffering is, the more generous we tend to be with our offerings. But there’s a catch, isn’t there? We want to help those who are suffering until we discover that they have caused certain kinds of suffering. In real life, suffering people aren’t very pleasant company, and they all inflict a certain degree of misery onto others simply by being so upset themselves. But we can be quite generous about this, can’t we? So long as certain kinds of suffering aren’t being caused.

So what’s our excuse for treating sex offenders like subhuman trash? It’s the type of suffering their actions inflict on others. As soon as a man rapes a child, the desire to offer such a man mercy and compassion instantly vanishes. We use the fact that he has caused a certain kind of suffering as an excuse for attacking him ourselves. People will line up in droves to assault a sex offender and feel entirely justified in doing so simply because the man has assaulted someone else. First he does something “unforgivable,” then we use that as an excuse to do the same thing to him, only when we do it, we say it’s utterly righteous and justifiable. When we use this kind of argument, what we’re really saying is that time order is of vital importance. If a man rapes first, his offence can’t be forgiven, but if we all torture him (or applaud him being tortured) afterwards, then our offence doesn’t need forgiveness because there’s nothing wrong with it. The importance of time order is the foundation on which this entire argument stands.

So just how firm is this foundation? It’s not firm at all. In fact, it’s utterly absurd to try to use the “he did it first” excuse to justify withholding forgiveness from others. This is because humans always have logical reasons for what they do. Sex offenders don’t just randomly get out of bed one morning and say, “Hey, I think I feel like destroying someone’s life today.” The compulsion to sexually assault is fuelled by immense internal pain and distress. Where did all of that pain and distress come from? Traumatic life experiences that the offender went through before he ever thought about assaulting anyone. Here is where the real weakness of this theory is revealed, because if we’re going to pretend that time order is so important, what about what happened to you? You can’t just fluff off the fact that you went though your own trauma before you ever offended, nor can you ignore the fact that it was fallout from that original trauma that caused you to want to offend in the first place.

If you’re not going to be a raging hypocrite while using the principle of time order, then you can’t just choose some random point in history that personally suits you and say, “This is what we will all pretend is the very first offence, therefore only this offence is unforgivable, but any nasty thing done in response to this offence is justified.” To apply time order correctly, you must keep tracing back further and further until the entire chain of events is revealed. This means you have to acknowledge that your own offences were motivated by pain which was caused by your own traumatic experiences.

In real life, many sex offenders were sexually assaulted themselves when they were children. If a boy is raped by his father, then that boy grows up into a man who rapes his own daughter, what is the correct way to assess this situation? If you’re going to use time order logic, then you must acknowledge that the first rape played a huge role in causing the second one to happen. If you’re going to give a bunch of sympathy to the daughter, you must give the same amount of sympathy to the son, because both children were treated horrifically and both deserve compassion for the pain that was forced upon them. It is completely unjustified to say to the son, “We don’t have to care about what happened to you because you grew up into a man who raped his daughter.” You have no idea what kinds of terrible things the daughter might do when she grows up due to being abused so young. The kind of compassion we’re talking about here begins by focusing on the initial source of pain. It sees the boy being raped and says, “That is a terrible thing, and it is completely understandable if you become warped because of this experience.” After all, this is what we say to the victims of sexual offenders, isn’t it? “It’s perfectly okay that you’re a vicious little hater today after the terrible things that happened to you.” When people make death threats against sex offenders, how many people are inwardly thinking, “Good! I hope one of them follows through”? Once a sexual offence has occurred, we’re perfectly comfortable signing off on murder, sexual assault, torture, and an endless list of other heinous crimes because “He acted first.” Yet the utter irony is that, no, he really wasn’t the first. Someone else came along and trashed him before he trashed anyone else, so if you want to be logically correct, it’s that someone else who you should be hating, while you give the sex offender a free pass to trash whoever he wants all in the name of “Someone else mistreated me in the past.” Oh, but wait–before you redirect your hate onto whoever originally trashed the sex offender, it turns out that that person only assaulted our sex offender because another someone else hurt them first. See how it works? Hurting people hurt other people. All pain has an origin, and all behaviour is logical. This is the problem with you using time order as an excuse to write yourself off as “unforgivable.” You weren’t the first. You weren’t the origin of evil. Someone else trashed you first (because someone else trashed them), and you assaulted others in a misguided yet logical effort to fix what someone else had broken inside of you.

Humans are self-focused little things and we each consider our own pain to be more important than anyone else’s. Most victims of sexual assault do not want to hear or even think about the fact that their attacker was in his own personal crisis at the time. Instead, the natural instinct is to say, “You hurt me, and that is all that matters. I can now use the fact that you hurt me to justify hurting you as much as I want.” When your soul sides with your victim (or with general society) on this matter, you end up turning against yourself and saying, “Only other people’s pain counts, but mine doesn’t matter at all.”

Well, that is not your call to make.

In addition to the raging hypocrisy involved in time order games, spiritual arrogance plays a major role in getting you stalled in this second logical dilemma. The definition of arrogant is “having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities.” Telling yourself that you have the authority to decide whose pain does and doesn’t matter is more than a little arrogant. The reality is that you do not have any such authority. Only the God who made us all and is currently sustaining our existences has the authority to assign a level of value to human suffering. So how does God rank your pain against the pain you’ve inflicted on others? He considers them all to be worthy of compassion.

What makes God the only truly fair Judge in existence is that He is the only One with all of the information. While the souls of most sex offenders are sincerely baffled by the way their partner minds and bodies are behaving, God understands you inside and out. Unlike you, He can clearly see all of the complex factors that are at play whenever you find yourself grappling with a compulsion to assault. Unlike you, God considers the context of your actions to be very important. Unlike you, God does not find it difficult to sympathize with both you and your victims at the same time. You struggle to do this, which is why you end up deciding that you have to choose one over the other. But no, you really don’t have to choose sides here. Having compassion for yourself does not mean you must withhold compassion from your victim. Having compassion for your victim doesn’t mean you must withhold compassion from yourself. In cases of sexual assault, everyone involved in the assault is in some form of internal pain, and God has compassion for the entire mess.

To get unstuck from this second stalling point, you need to realise that you are utterly incapable of ever shrinking the gap between your own abilities and the abilities of your Creator. You are simply too limited in your design to ever access or process as much information as He can. When you get more honest about how little you understand yourself (let alone anyone else), you can see why you’re being quite absurd to elevate yourself as the supreme judge. Only God has the authority to judge, and as far as He is concerned, there are no “unforgivable sins.” Forgiveness flows from understanding, and since God understands everything, forgiving comes very easily to Him. God also has the added benefit of knowing you far too well to ever be shocked by anything you do, so while you might find it extremely difficult to think about what you’ve done, God doesn’t find it at all difficult to discuss the past with you in a calm and compassionate manner.

Getting unstuck from this second soul dilemma requires a focus on the soul attitude of submission to God. You need to submit to Him as the Supreme Judge, and that means tossing your own gavel into the rubbish bin and owning up to the fact that you simply aren’t qualified to judge yourself or anyone else.  As the Creator and Sustainer of all life, God is the only One who is authorised to decide who should be given new chances and who should be forgiven.  God is a big Fan of helping you learn useful lessons from your past, then helping you move on.  God never encourages us to define ourselves by our past behaviours, either good or bad.  This is because God designed us to be creatures who are ever growing and changing into better and better versions of ourselves.  No matter how great or terrible you’ve been in the past, your focus needs to be on making wise choices in the present so that you can thrive in the future.  Submitting to God’s judgment is always a wise choice, and since He says sexual offences are quite forgivable, who are you to say they’re not?

Grudge Holding Victims

“I can’t forgive myself until my victim forgives me.”

The key issue here is misplaced submission.  Your soul is essentially bowing to the wrong judge: a human being instead of God.  The truth is that it doesn’t matter one hill of beans whether your victim thinks you’re worthy of forgiveness or not because they have no more authority on the matter than you do.  It is only God who has the authority to pass judgment, and while your victim might decide to make the very foolish yet popular choice to defy God in this area, you certainly don’t want to follow their bad example. 

The long-term consequences of defying God are far more horrifying than any kind of suffering you can experience in this world, so the sooner your soul starts respecting God as the Supreme Authority that He is, the better off you’ll be.  In life you’ll find that there are always a bunch of conflicting opinions being tossed around about who you are and what you’ve done.  Even your own mind and soul will strongly disagree with each other on countless matters, but happily God does not require you to fill yourself with inner harmony before He will approve of you.  With God, your actions towards other humans are irrelevant compared to your soul’s response to Him. It is your personal degree of submission to and respect for God which will have the greatest impact on how He deals with you in the long-term.  Once you understand this, you can understand why you shouldn’t be wasting time worrying about what your victim is or isn’t thinking about you. 

If you look hard enough, you can always find some people who will applaud you and others who will condemn you for doing the same action.  Human opinion is fickle and easy to manipulate.  In real life, hating is a form of pain, and focusing our pain at others can often feel like a useful way to avoid having to do the hard work of recovery and maturing.  In cases where victims are holding hateful grudges, those grudges are primarily self-serving.  Their purpose for focusing on you and perhaps even planning endless ways to persecute you is to avoid having to deal with their own baggage.  It has nothing to do with trying to form a fair or accurate assessment of what you did to them.  As we discussed earlier, any honest effort to form a fair assessment would have to involve both recognizing and having compassion for your own woundedness and the role that that played in motivating you to assault others.  Victims who are clinging to hate are not interested in being good judges.  Instead, focusing on their hatred for you often feels to them like the life raft that a man clings to in order to avoid drowning at sea. 

Sexual trauma often feels like it hits us with the force of a freight train and we feel so shattered and precarious afterwards that we will cling to any thread of strength we can find.  The reason the mind expresses pain as hate in the first place is to try to hide a painful weakness under an illusion of strength.  Hatred feels like a “strong” emotion, whereas crying feels “weak.”  In times of crisis, the mind will often convert “weak” emotions into stronger forms as much as it can because there is an underlying belief that if it allows itself to feel too weak, it will collapse beyond recovery.  This fear has some validity to it due to the mind’s limitations, but I won’t get into those complicated mechanics here.  The important principle for you to understand is that your victim might currently feel that hating you is critical to maintaining their own ability to function.  While they are going to do whatever seems best for them in the moment, you can’t use their personal defence tactics as an excuse to put your own recovery on hold.  For you, forward motion is vital.  You need to recover from your own core wounds and fears so that you can reach a point where your mind no longer feels a need to resort to sexual assault as a survival tactic. Forgiving yourself for the past is a critical step in enabling yourself to complete the recovery process.

Doing Penance

“Forgiveness would be a relief, and I don’t deserve any relief or happiness after what I’ve done.”

Here the underlying goal is usually to try to appease an angry judge who you feel has significant power over you.  For sex offenders who have personally met God (or at least strongly suspect that He exists), their souls are often in a desperate scramble to try to appease that God before He unleashes some form of hideous Divine punishment. For example, your soul might reason that if you inflict enough suffering on yourself for the rest of this earthly life, God might change His mind about chucking you into some kind of horrible hell when you die. 

When your soul doesn’t know God yet, another human is often the one your soul is secretly hoping to appease by keeping you in abject misery.  The other human might be your victim, but it is more likely that it will be someone else whose approval is very important to you, such as a spouse or parent or best friend. Usually this human authority will be someone who was extremely important to you before they found out about your offence, then they kicked you to the curb after they discovered “what you really are”, and now you are desperately hoping to re-earn their favour if you pay your dues in pain. 

Self-harming often creeps into play in these situations, because your soul feels that by increasing your pain load, you can gain more points with the angry authority figure who you are trying to reconcile with.  Self-harming comes in many forms.  The more obvious ones are directly injuring your own body through violent means, such as cutting, burning, and hitting.  But there are a billion ways to torture yourself covertly, such as undereating, systematically destroying your health with excessive alcohol consumption, and refusing to allow yourself to do anything that you consider to be “fun” while forcing yourself to do activities you dislike.

So what’s the problem with the logic your soul is using here?  Well, everything. 

Let’s start by discussing what’s wrong with this theory that God works on a “tit for tat” basis. Humans generally have a very poor understanding of how Divine judgment works, and when it comes to penance, well, that’s never how it works. The basic theory of penance is that God expects you to pay for your mistakes in life. Well, no, He really doesn’t. God is the only Being in existence who never overestimates your abilities and He knows quite well that you are utterly incapable of righting any wrongs that you do. This is because by “righting wrongs,” humans mean “fixing things so that it will seem like that bad thing never happened.” That would be quite tricky to pull off even if you had the ability to time travel, but since you don’t, it’s utterly impossible.

Here’s how it works in real life: when you do something that makes a mess, there’s a mess. As a human, you are powerless to do anything that will make it seem as though that mess never happened. Once the mess happens, there’s no going back, there’s only the option of moving forward and trying to deal with the fallout in positive ways. The problem with penance is that we get focused on the idea of “balancing the scales of justice” by first trying to estimate how much misery we’ve caused another person, then trying to inflict the same amount of misery onto ourselves so that those non-existent scales which no one is using will somehow even out. Well, what an epic waste of time. For starters, there are no scales. Secondly, both you and your victim are incapable of accurately measuring how much damage your actions have caused. But most importantly, God doesn’t want the past to be undone.

From God’s point of view, all of the crummy things that happen to us in life are like little seeds that He gently pushes into the fertile soil of our lives with His big God finger. Every one of those seeds has been carefully chosen by Him to plant at a very specific time in a very specific life. Each one of those seeds is filled with the potential to grow and bloom and produce some very lovely fruits which would never have existed in that life at all if God hadn’t planted them. But then you come along with your focus on penance and your goal deep down is to rip up the seed that you feel responsible for planting into another person’s life. Well, here we bump into another case of spiritual arrogance, because you see, you’re not God Almighty, you’re just an impotent little dot of a creature who is full of ideas that you can’t possibly carry out unless God allows you to do so. In life there are all kinds of things that you think about doing and plan to do, yet the only things you actually end up doing are the things that God has decided will work well for His purposes both for you and for all of the people your actions effect. So while you sit there taking all the blame for planting a seed in another life, God is saying “As if, little dot. I just used you to plant that seed because I decided the timing was right and I have plans for how I want to use this experience to help both you and your victims become who I designed you to be.” As you can see, God and you have very different assessments of your actions, and while you’re spending countless hours wishing you could go back and rip up that seed, He is focused on helping that little seed thrive so that everyone can reap the benefits from what it produces.

Okay, so you can’t rip out the seeds, and it turns out that God actually planted them on purpose with a plan in mind–a plan that will help both you and your victim if you cooperate with Him. When you sexually assault someone, both of you end up getting a seed planted into your little life fields. Your seed is specifically chosen for you, and your victim has a different seed that is specifically chosen for him. The question now is how well the two of you are going to cooperate with God’s efforts to help you each benefit from the mess that has occurred–the mess that He sees as a seed that is packed with potential. Enter you with your obsession with penance, in which your goal is to keep yourself perpetually miserable. The problem here is that increasing your pain load only decreases your ability to focus on learning the positive lessons God wants to teach you. It turns out that penance only hampers things, it doesn’t help at all.

Now for those of you who are still struggling to see why penance is an epic waste of time, here’s another important point for you to consider. The compulsion to sexually assault someone else is caused by excessive amounts of psychological stress. Sex offenders offend in an effort to reduce their own internal stress load. Once you go down the road of penance, you start intentionally heaping more stress upon yourself. You were already excessively stressed before you started abusing yourself. Now you’re dragging yourself down even further. What’s going to happen when you push your mind too close to its breaking point? It’s going to force you to sexually assault again. So you see, this penance garbage is actually increasing your chances of repeating offences that you are already struggling to deal with. Does this sound like a smart plan?

If you slam your head into a wall in a desperate attempt to stop your head from pounding, does it work? No, you only end up with a head that is even more sore than it was before, and now you’re even more likely to repeat your very unhelpful behaviour and hit your head again unless you give yourself a chance to come up with a better plan. The logic that drives sexual assault is a desperate “I’m going to do this because I don’t have any better ideas and I’ve got to do something” kind of logic. Sexually assaulting other people always ends up making you feel worse than you did before because it aggravates the very issue that your mind is trying to fix by having you assault in the first place. To prevent yourself from endlessly cycling between feeling internally miserable and assaulting others, you need to focus your efforts on reducing your internal stress load. You do this by getting educated about why your mind is so stressed in the first place, and identifying positive steps you can take to actually deal with the root causes of its stress. You don’t sit around thinking up new ways to torment yourself, because adding pain on top of pain will only drive you back towards assaulting again.

Once you understand that overwhelming stress caused you to offend in the first place, you can understand why it is actually vital that you forgive yourself and stop obsessing over what you did because forgiveness will reduce your stress, and reducing internal stress is critical for all sex offenders who want to stop offending. The happy truth is that you can stop offending if you treat yourself properly, and that means taking steps to help yourself heal from your own pain instead of taking steps to punish yourself for your past wrongs.

Now as far as appeasing judges goes, your Creator is the only Judge worth going to great lengths to please, because He is the One who controls your quality of existence both now and in the future. Other humans are a very different deal. Other humans tend to be misers of mercy, and they are very good at whitewashing their own flaws and failings while they endlessly harp on yours. You really shouldn’t be going to great lengths to try to win back the approval of a human who has decided to use your past actions as an excuse to write you off or abuse you. Contrary to what our egos want to believe, none of us are irreplaceable, and that means there is no such thing as a human who you “just can’t live without.” Whether someone storms out of your life in an angry huff or a righteous rage, if they keep shooting you down when you try to reconnect with them, it’s best to stop trying. Give them space and time to calm down and see things from a different perspective.

Once you become a threat to someone, one of the worst things you can do is keep chasing them. By constantly stressing them with your proximity, you prevent them from having time to think and reassess their view of you. When what you really want is for someone to forgive you and decide to give you another chance at a relationship with them, you must give them enough space and time to think without any interference from you. Maybe they’ll come around, maybe they won’t, but you increase the chances of a happy outcome if you back off and let them breathe. If they decide not to let you back in, then you need to stop chasing and refocus your energy into accepting their decision. No one owes you a relationship. We all have the option to choose who we do and don’t want to relate to in life, and that needs to be respected. Meanwhile, from God’s perspective, He is the only One who will remain permanently associated with you. Everyone else will come and go because that’s how He wants it to be. When we think of things this way, it becomes obvious which relationship we should invest in the most.

Now as I said before, God doesn’t judge you by your interactions with other people, He judges you primarily by your soul’s response to Him. Since God is the Supreme Judge, respecting His Authority means letting Him decide what you’re “punishment” should be. While God certainly has a wrathful side that you really don’t want to meet, He isn’t as obsessed with punishing as people think He is. God is a very purposeful Being, and He reserves punishments for souls who are intentionally giving Him a bunch of snark. Towards souls that sincerely want to please Him, God is very kind, merciful, and compassionate, even when those souls have been involved in a long string of bad behaviours towards other humans. The point is that simply being a sex offender doesn’t instantly qualify you for a Divine spanking. Instead, God wants to use the mess you are in to help you mature. To God, there are many valuable lessons He can help you glean from the things you’ve done in the past. There are important insights that He wants to teach you, and there are positive changes that He wants to make to your very core by discussing your current struggles with you. As a Teacher, God is very easy to follow, because He breaks the lessons down into sections that He knows you can absorb. As far as God is concerned, learning should be your focus right now, not punishing. God primarily uses punishments to get your soul back to a point where it is willing to start learning again, so if you’re already there, no punishment is needed.

God doesn’t want the past undone, because to Him, the past laid important groundwork for new, positive growth to happen. God doesn’t want you trying to fix your victim, because you have no idea what specific lessons He wants to teach them, and you’ll only end up getting in His way. You now need to leave your victim to God, accept that the past is unchangeable, and turn your focus onto learning every positive lesson that God wants to teach you from the whole ugly mess. God is a Master at bringing good out of bad, whereas we humans are much more prone to making bad things even worse when we charge ahead without asking God for guidance.

Conclusion

While you might start out honestly not feeling authorised or capable of forgiving yourself, you can start sliding towards a more negative position where you could forgive yourself, yet you are refusing to do so. In life your soul will reach many critical decision points: forks in the road where it must decide between maturing or regressing. Simply staying exactly where you are for the rest of your life is not an option. God designed us to be creatures who are in a constant state of change, so if we’re not moving forward, we begin sliding backwards and losing some of the progress we made in the past.

Unfortunately, many souls who are in your predicament end up choosing the wrong path. They decide to cling to self-loathing because it feels like the easier, less demanding option. Over time, souls who go down this road often become quite pompous over how “righteous” they are for refusing to let go of what happened in the past. Yet in real life, there is no value whatsoever in “refusing to forget.” Humans were designed to forget. People, places, experiences–our recollection of all these things will begin to fade over time no matter what we do. While “being forgotten” is often viewed as a terrible thing, it’s actually very beneficial to us that we are incapable of keeping past memories perfectly in tact for all time. As the past fades from view, our attention is freed up to focus on the present and future instead. We were designed to be creatures who are continuously changing and growing, and forcing our memories to fade is just one of the many ways God encourages us to keep moving forward instead of getting stuck in the past.

For you, the challenge is to choose wisely about this forgiveness issue. While other people might be defining you by a few of your past actions, you need to refuse to imitate their bad example. No human is defined by their past, good or bad. We all do epic damage to other people during our lives, most of which goes entirely unnoticed by us. We say and do things with innocent motivations, not realising that our actions are having a devastating effect on someone else. But while we all hurt each other more than we realise, we help each other as well. Humans are a mix of bad and good, but they are all brimming with the potential to mature into much better versions of themselves. If you’re going to make the most of your own potential, you can’t afford to sit around holding pointless grudges against yourself. With God’s help, your past offences can be turned into fantastic growth opportunities. The goal is to learn from the past, embrace the good that can be gleaned from the bad, and then move forward with your focus on the future. To God, no offence is unforgivable. If you choose to listen to Him, you will eventually find yourself agreeing with Him, because with enough understanding, nothing is impossible to forgive.

This post was written in response to Ed.