Christian author and speaker Joyce Meyer has opened up about the day her father admitted that he sexually abused her for years when she was young, and asked for forgiveness and accepted Jesus Christ.
"If we love the way God loves, that means that we're going to love when there's nothing in it for us. When it's just giving out. I know it will win people to Christ, including some of the hardest people you can imagine," Meyer said in a sermon posted on her Facebook page on Monday.
"My dad sexually abused me for many years. My mother knew what was happening, she just was a very fearful woman who didn't know [how] to deal with him, and so just let it happen," she told the audience, recounting her story of abuse that she frequently shares.
"Later on, many years later, after I thought I had totally forgiven [them], God put it in my heart that I needed to buy them a better house to live in, and take really good care of them until they died," she continued.
The evangelist explained that was the "last thing" she wanted to do, and wrestled with God, asking Him what her parents had ever done for her, given the history of sexual abuse.
Eventually she realized that "God wants us to be good to people who haven't done anything for us, because that is the best way in the world that you can do spiritual warfare and keep the devil under your feet."
She warned that focusing one's life on revenge only brings about "poison."
Meyer explained that it took three years of taking her parents to the doctors, paying their bills, taking care of them in a variety of different ways, plus buying them a good house, before one day her mother told her that her father had been crying and asking her to come over.
The evangelist noted that throughout all those years, he had not only never apologized, but "never admitted what he did." But it was in that meeting where, with tears in his eyes, he said, "I'm so sorry for what I did to you when you were a kid."
After that, he asked Meyer to pray with him, he asked to receive Christ, and was baptized 10 days later.
"One of the main reasons people don't walk in love is because love is an effort. Real love is going to cause some time, some effort, some pride — you're going to have to be willing to swallow your pride," she reflected.
"When somebody has hurt us, one of the hardest things in the world is to wait and let God bring our vindication," she pointed out.
Meyer said back in April 2016 that her father raped her at least 200 times when she was growing up.
"He didn't force me physically, but through lies, and manipulation, and fears, and threats, I was still forced," she said in an interview.
"My father did rape me, numerous times, at least 200 times."
The author noted that the shame was very hard to deal with, especially as her father also sexually abused their neighbor's daughter.
"Sexual abuse is so shaming that nobody talks about it. Nobody knows how to talk about it," she said at the time.
Meyer said that she is sharing her story with the world to inspire those struggling to find hope, telling them that recovery is always possible.
Watch a clip of Meyer's sermon here: