Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

July 10, 2012

My Lack of Forgiveness

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

Of all the books in my word series, Forgiveness has been reprinted more than any other. It has been a book helpful to individuals and churches.  In the book I recount my pilgrimage in learning to forgive.  I introduced it with a confession of my failing to express forgiveness.

I was a pastor in a changing community.  There was  a social issue that confronted our congregation.  My position on the matter reflected the strong feelings of the  majority.  I met with public representatives who expressed respect for such a position, and recanted their intentions. Certain people felt that I exerted unusual pressure to get a result that I wanted.

From the anger of these citizens, a credible death threat against me was made.  Law enforcement could not respond to the threat without evidence  of the threat by particular people.  Several of us knew from whom the threat came, but we could not offer any substantial proof.

Our children were sent to relatives in Atlanta.  The deacons in our church began to stay at our home as if there was a wake.  Judy and I became virtual prisoners in our home.  Law enforcement would constantly patrol the street, and these fine men from our church gave themselves attentively to our protection.

After about a week, I simply grew weary.  Anger overtook my patience.  I  refused to allow these disgruntled men to control our lives and disrupt our ministry.  Without any discussion with the men in the home, I simply walked out of the house.  I got in the car and drove to the workplace of one of the men that I knew was involved.

As I arrived at his workplace, men from the church and the sheriff’s office drove up behind me.  Without being stopped, I walked into the workplace, past the secretary, and directly into the man’s office.  I confronted him, and almost in a shout, I told him the damage he was doing to my reputation, the work of our church, the instability of our family, and that enough was enough.  “Take your best shot,” I shouted!

I confess to you how wrong I was.  It did not matter what was being done to me.  I responded in anger.  I did not do the Scriptural thing.  I had no spirit of forgiveness.  I was certainly no model pastor on how people should respond to such an attack.  And do you know what?  I was the loser in the situation.  Yes, my lack of forgiveness toward those men provided an environment for anger.

I learned from that experience.  It started me on a pilgrimage.  My growth in the ability to forgive has been a vital part of my growth in faith.  Perhaps in some coming blogs I will share about my journey.  What a freedom we have when we can exercise forgiveness as God desires.

“For if you  forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  (Matthew 6:14,15)


1 Comment »

  1. I read your book on forgiveness and it got me through a very rough time in my life this past year. I was able to forgive and move on with my life. Thanks to your book.

    Comment by Dudley Henry — July 10, 2012 @ 8:00 am | Reply

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