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 Klena Barthel formerly served as the Director of the Institute for Christian Conciliation. As such, she oversaw hundreds of conciliation cases (including conflicted church interventions) through the international network of trained conciliators. Tara also provided oversight and leadership for all advanced conciliator training. Currently, she serves her family as a homemaker while occasionally accepting cases as a mediator, arbitrator, and conflicted church intervention team member. Currently enrolled at Reformed Theological Seminary and pursuing her Master's Degree in Religion, Tara consults with businesses and ministries on the legal risk management issues attendant to conflict; designs and presents custom training on biblical conflict resolution for churches, missions agencies, and parachurch organizations; speaks frequently at women’s conferences and retreats; and is currently working on many new writing projects. Tara is the author of the Living the Gospel in Relationships video series and co-author of Peacemaking Women—Biblical Hope for Resolving Conflict (Baker Books, 2005), and Redeeming Church Conflicts--Turning Crisis into Compassion and Care (Baker Books, 2012; second imprint Hendrickson Publishers 2016). Prior to moving to Billings, Montana to join the staff of Peacemaker Ministries, Tara worked as an attorney and business consultant in Chicago. Tara earned her law degree and M.B.A. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and her B.A. in psychology from Augustana College (Illinois).
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