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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Authority Figures: Pastors, Reflections Concluded

    Off and on, I had been suffering from a bad headache while working on a temporary assignment to help folks with a counseling ministry. They were interested in starting some training programs in Africa so we had agreed to spend some time with them during the planning process. I joined the prayer circle one morning, in spite of my headache, and the teddy bear of a pastor asked if they could pray for me. I stood and he latched onto my hands, shooting them straight up into the air. He was a tall man, compared to my short stature. The resultant pain was a burning dagger in my head and I tried to remove my hands from his clutches. Continuing his loud and earnest pleading with the Lord, he tightened his grip and, in that instant, the pain of my head was replaced with a monumental fear of the pastor. There was nothing at all sexual in what this precious man had done but the image that flashed across my field of vision was of the other pastor molesting me. The fear that I could not get away from him.

    It was then that I realized two things: 1. It was the fear of the pastor that had taken root in my heart, not the memory of the physical event of what he did; and, 2. I had never forgiven the pastor. When I later learned about our need to forgive those who have hurt us, neither the pastor’s name nor the frightening scene ever came to mind.

     I suspect that the praying pastor may just have thought my hands were slipping out of his, causing him to increase his hold. I am certain he had no idea that his actions had scared me to death. The issue was put to rest that day so many years after the event. Forgiveness produced the miracle I had not known I needed. Since another 23 years have now passed, I am confident that the issue has been put to rest for good!

     If this story has brought back any such memories for you, dear Reader, but you cannot recall a time when you forgave the individual who hurt you, take just a minute to address that unforgiveness. The Lord is always there, waiting to hear our hearts. God had intended that the leaders of His church would care tenderly for His young flock; He had never wanted you to get hurt. Forgiveness begins the healing process.

****Authority Figures: Pastors, A Biblical View… Coming Tomorrow

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