Twenty Years Without an Apology


I heard from a friend this week (after she had made an apology to a pastor and asked his forgiveness) that the pastor was gracious, forgiving, and VERY surprised/grateful.

Why surprised? Why grateful? Because, you see, as he explained:

He had served in ministry for over twenty years and she was the FIRST PERSON to ever apologize to him.

I believe her–but it breaks my heart.

How can it be?
Surely this man had been sinned against at some point.
Hurt relationships; conflict; offenses …
Surely at some point, he was misunderstood, misjudged, treated uncharitably.

How could it be that NO Christian had ever apologized to him?

Oh, friends! It is SO sweet to experience the JOY of genuine, Christ-centered, Christ-exalting reconciliation.

My friend and her pastor experienced it this week.
I have experienced it time and time again when people have lavishly forgiven me.

How I pray that we would ALL begin to confess and forgive to one another—that the world might see that the Father sent the Son and the Father loves them (John 17:20-23!).


About Tara Barthel

Tara Barthel has served as a Christian mediator for over twenty years. She also maintains her license to practice law in the state of Illinois, formerly focused on high net worth (charitable) estate planning. Tara teaches conflict engagement at the college level and speaks internationally on the topics of redeeming conflict, trauma, mental illness, and addiction. Tara continues to write for publication and occasionally accepts Christian mediation, arbitration, and conflicted organization cases. In addition, she is healing from her recent sexual assault (in 2014) and her trauma-filled childhood (9/10 ACES). Tara is the author of the peacemaking women’s video series "Living the Gospel in Relationships,” the ASL-translated women’s video series "Becoming Who You Already Are," and the co-author of the books "Peacemaking Women" and "Redeeming Church Conflicts.” Tara also enjoys teaching young adults Philosophy of Theology and Rhetoric. Tara earned her law degree, with honors, and her M.B.A. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She also holds a B.A. in Psychology, summa cum laude, from Augustana College (Illinois). Currently working towards her second Master’s degree, Tara has been married to her husband, Fred, for over twenty-five years and they have two daughters and a very friendly Golden Retriever. To learn more about Tara Klena Barthel, please visit her website: or her public facebook page @tarabarthel.
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