When you recall the principal individuals involved in your downsizing or ministry loss, how do you feel? For several years after my teaching ministry ended, my operative feeling was ‘anger’. I began to heal when I looked at those individuals through Jesus’ eyes rather than my own.
Ann Spangler titled Chapter 4 of The Peace God Promises “Reimagining Your Enemies”. She asserts that in painfully difficult relationships we need to at least “imagine the possibility of forgiveness and reconciliation”. She explains that this doesn’t require that we drop our demand for justice, but rather that we emphatically reject any longing for vengeance.
Ann goes on to cite an example of this perspective in the story of Wes Stafford, head of Compassion International. As the 6 year old son of missionary parents, he was sent to a remote mission school. There he and the other children were subjected to harsh and abusive punishments for minor infractions. Wes recalls his move from pain to deliverance: “At age 17, I realized that those who hurt me would never apologize. They weren’t even sorry. But I could no longer bear carrying the pain of my past, so I chose to forgive them anyway.”