Friday, October 30, 2009
When I left the Stapleton Charge, I moved from Jefferson County to Washington County. While I served the Stapleton Charge one year after completing seminary, Tennille would be my first appointment at which I would not be known first as a student pastor. While I went to my second appointment full of optimism and hope, things did not go well and at the end of two years, I was on my way to another place. An issue arose, conflict followed, and being a young inexperienced preacher, I was ill prepared to handle those days. I was young, full of idealism, and saw myself as one armed with what was right. There was within me no spirit of compromise.
It was the formula for disaster which was what ensued. It took me a long time, much longer than it should have to accept my share of the responsibility for what happened. It took me longer to realize when I left Tennille that I carried an unforgivng heart to the next place. I still remember the day I heard about the misfortune of one of my antagonists from the past. I thought, "Good, he got what he deserved." It was then that I knew there was some spiritual work needed in my heart.
Forgiving is never an easy thing. If it was easy, it might not be the valuable thing that it is. Many years later God would provide an opportunity to go back to Tennille and it became a wonderful day of reconciliation. Of all the trips back to a former pastorate, I am most thankful for the trip back that day some years later when handshakes were shared, words of regret and sorrow were spoken, and memories of brokenness were replaced with a memory of reconciliation.