My other news will be a shocker for you: I reconciled with the people who excommunicated me three years ago. I have removed all identifying names to maintain the privacy of the people involved, but I will post my account. Please be aware that this is an account of what happened from my perspective, and it was a very emotional meeting, probably the most emotional meeting of my entire life. If it was written from the other side, I assure you, it would look very different. That being what it is, it is still worth posting.
I reconciled with the Smiths on Wednesday. Previously, they would not even acknowledge or speak to me. I had tried to contact them a number of times. My current pastor told me to give up trying, and I did. There wasn't anything else to do anyway. However, I had a spooky kind of dream early Wednesday morning, and when I woke up, it was like the Holy Spirit wanted me to go to their house (my former pastors) and try to talk to them. I knew absolutely for sure that they would never apologize to me, but there were some things that I wanted to apologize for because, over time, I could see that I was wrong on some issues. (Some of those issues had nothing to do with the charges against me.) I still don't think that it merited being excommunicated, but, oh well. I was more than a little hesitant to go, so I went after my Bible study group, and showed up at their door unannounced. I honestly did not think I would even get in. I thought that the Lord just would give me brownie points or something for making the attempt, and I would be miserable if I did not try one more time. Mrs. Smith answered the door, and let me in. I was completely shocked. I only intended to apologize to her because Mr. Smith refused to even give me one and a half minutes when I asked before. I apologized to her. Then she said that I really needed to apologize to him, not to her, and she went and got him. He didn't come for about 20 minutes, and in the meantime, Mrs. Smith answered a phone call and talked for a long time. I had asked her point blank to forgive me twice, at this time, and she had not responded. Eventually, when she came back from her phone call, she forgave me. Mr. Smith came in later, and he looked very old and very tired, not at all like I remembered him. He did not act like a pastor or a friend, he sounded like a prosecuting attorney, even though I had come to apologize. He seemed so contrary that I started by asking him to list all of the things I had done which offended him, and I said that I would apologize to him for each one. I think that disarmed him. Then, he kind of changed and said it would be better for me to just apologize for what I thought the offenses were, so I did. They forgave me. This whole thing was an incredibly emotional time for me. I sobbed like I have never sobbed in my entire life. I felt like I was crying all the way down to my socks. I think it maybe shocked them as well. I have been in many counseling sessions with Mr. Smith, dealing with my past, and he has seen me cry more than most people, but he had never seen anything like that, because it had never happened before that day. Then I thanked them for the positive things that came from my time at their former church. (They are no longer in the ministry.) They very kindly wanted to know what the kids were doing and we talked for a short time, and then I left. It does not bother me that they did not reciprocate by asking about how they had offended me because I forgave them a long time ago, or I could not have survived the ordeal. I totally did not expect it, and I was not disappointed. They have very wounded hearts, and they have their own issues to deal with. It was a very healing thing for me to be able to unload all of that grief, and to do what I could do to put the relationship in a better place. As I was driving home, I started crying all over again. I simply could not believe that it happened. To me, it was like watching someone without an arm, miraculously grow an arm right in front of you, or the Red Sea opening up for Moses. Anyway, that's my big news.
It has now been almost three days, and I still cannot believe it. Something inside me was healed on Wednesday. The words that I have used to describe what happened do not really describe what happened at all. They just recount the event. It feels like I am walking around with a miracle in my heart. I guess that is what reconciliation is, and that is why it is so important to the Lord.