Over the last several months I have talked to many ministers who have been treated horribly by the congregations that called them. The things church members said and did were calloused and mean. In each case the minister was wounded deeply, and it showed on their face and in their words. My fear is if they don’t start working toward forgiveness soon they will become bitter. And that is never good.
Pastors and ministers need to forgive people no matter what they’ve done or said. Church people learn to forgive by watching their pastor/ministers forgive. They must model grace, mercy, compassion, love, and forgiveness if God’s people are to know what those things look like!
The people who lied about you… forgive them. Those who defamed your character… forgive them. Those who destroyed your reputation… forgive them. Those who ran you off… forgive them. Those who betrayed you… forgive them.
Why forgive? It is the most God-like thing you can do. Consider Eph 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Why forgive? Because not to forgive disqualifies you from worship. Jesus said, “If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matt 5:23-24).
Why forgive? Because God forgave you. Minister, your sin against God is much greater than anything anyone can ever do to you. If/since God has forgiven you, then you will… get that… WILL forgive them. Of all people who should never ever carry a grudge it is the minister.
Why forgive? Because if a minister (Or anyone else for that matter) won’t forgive, it is highly likely he has not been forgiven! Those who’ve been forgiven can’t help but do anything but forgive others.