My closest friend in my former church was a member of the abusive pastor’s family. I’ve texted her off and on since we moved, but for obvious reasons everything that happened took a toll on our relationship.
Today my phone rang when I was sitting in the school line. I looked down to see her name. Emotions overwhelmed me as I heard the voice of the friend I had missed so much. Relief flooded my soul as we talked about normal things and it seemed for a little while that things were normal.
But the conversation went where we both knew it would. There’s been so much pain, so many things that have happened since we moved away, and so many obstacles for us both to overcome. We’ve both been going through the stages of grief. She told me she hadn’t called because she had been too emotional which I understood only too well. As we hung up the phone, I had to wonder how long it’d be before we talked again. The wonderful feeling of getting to hear her voice was replaced with loneliness and sadness and questions of whether I said the right things or not.
Thinking of our conversation, it is glaringly clear that I am far from the only victim. She talked about how church was difficult for her. She mentioned how other members of her family didn’t go to my former church at all. Her husband who had been in leadership in the church at the time the deception was revealed had gotten caught in the middle of the church and family. It grieved my heart to hear about all the pain they had and were continuing to deal with. It caused me to hate the sin and deception even more.
This morning my husband and I were taking our regular walk. The past few days he’s been really depressed. The former abusive pastor’s name came up and the angry bitterness erupted like a volcano spilling over on to me. He apologized for his angry words, but the damage was already done.
Today it seems I’ve been trapped in the sins and mistakes of yesterday that I am powerless to change. It’s very frustrating, because there’s no escaping the pain that others or myself are continuing to feel.
It’s at times like this when I realize how important forgiveness is. Jesus knew if He didn’t die on the cross we’d be trapped in the consequences of our sins for an eternity. Thank God for His love, mercy, and compassion for us. For His the final words in His dying breath, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”
I pray He’ll give all of us that are suffering that same compassion for one another. I pray that He’ll pour His grace and love into our hearts so that we can heal and forgive like He did.
If you are reading, please pray the same for us. God bless you and thank you for your continued support and love.