Monday, March 14, 2011
The Slow Redemptive Process
I don't know why, but I've been dreaming about my mother a lot lately. That, and she's been on my mind. She died in an accident a few months before my fall. She wrote a few books. It might be because I'm writing a lot lately.
It might be because I'm slipping into depression. It may just be because I miss her. Maybe it's all of those things.
God has a way of bringing hope to us when we're at our worst.
This weekend, Cynthia's daughter had a birthday.
Last year at this time, the kids we usually would have invited didn't get invited because their families were very upset with us because of my fall at Angel Falls Baptist. I can't say I blame them.
Barry, her father, who had twice committed adultery and been arrested, had a birthday party elsewhere for her. The church people had no problem attending that party. Again, I can see where they were coming from.
A year removed, things are slightly better. When I talk about those families, they are all people that Cynthia's daughter is related to by blood. When we've seen them at the grocery store, most of them ignore us, and a couple have spoken to us.
That's progress as far as I'm concerned.
Especially when I've heard fallen pastors tell me to never expect any type of reconciliation. Ever. I just don't buy it. I'm sure there will be a great number who will never want to see me or Cynthia again. But as long as I live, I simply cannot believe that it is God's will to give up on the process of reconciliation.
The week before her birthday, we got a text from one of the women who hasn't spoken to us asking what Cynthia's daughter might want for her birthday. We quickly invited them to the party. We also invited Marlee and Rich whom we had seen recently. We were hopeful and cautiously optimistic.
The day came and guess what? Everyone came. Our family and the former church members we invited. The best part? We all acted like normal human beings.
I asked all these people, by letter, twice for forgiveness. I would love to hear from each of them, "Bro. Arthur, I forgive you."
But it's not going to happen.
But you know what can happen and what is almost just as good?
To be treated like a human and not a fallen pastor. To be looked in the eye again (which most of them did). To be talked to like I'm just another sinner trying to make it in the world.
To have what happened Saturday. To talk about sports, kids, the weather, family, and nothing in particular.
For them to just take a few minutes to see that a pastor who commits adultery doesn't turn into the Antichrist. If anything, it's possible he becomes more human and more humble than he was before.
To me, that will pave the road to a new relationship. That will be just as good as, "I forgive you."
I hate it when I'm crying after I write a post.