-Rev Melissa Fain-
“But I say to you who are willing to hear: Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on the cheek, offer the other one as well. If someone takes your coat, don’t withhold your shirt either. Give to everyone who asks and don’t demand your things back from those who take them. Treat people in the same way that you want them to treat you.
Luke 6:27-31 CEB
There is something about being curled up into the fetal position of your bathroom floor that must be lived to be understood. From my late elementary school years, I felt called to some capacity to work in the church. It was my passion. Everything I did was towards that purpose. When I found my first full time call as a pastor of a church I was ready to get to it. I was so wide eyed and ready to take on the world, and I was going to start in this small rural church.
Then everything went wrong. To be fair, most of it was just life. Broken limbs, pregnancy; sickness. I like to joke that God purposefully made me less than 100% as part of some crazy master plan. Maybe it was that, maybe it was just the fact the church was rushing to fill the pulpit and we were a bad fit. Maybe it was political. No matter what it was, days after giving birth to my daughter the elders asked for my resignation.
Flash forward a year later and I found myself bawling on the bathroom floor, smelling like the Cajun food I served each night. I was a mess. I couldn’t even look in the direction of that church because I felt this smug satisfaction when things were going wrong, and a sort of dread when they were going right. It was a horrible place to be, and it is my hope you never have to be there. If you have been there dear brother or sister, we have a sad connection, the two of us.
In truth, there was absolutely nothing I could do to change the minds and hearts of the members of that church. I had absolutely no power over them. In the same way, they had and have no power over me. Well, they did have power if I couldn’t find the peace through forgiveness.
Yep, just a few days later, sitting in my bedroom something switched. While I mourned, I found the release of forgiveness. Not only did I say I wanted them to find healing, I actually meant it.
Some people will live their entire lives in relative peace. Everyone else will be distressed by something or someone in life. It will tear at their natural peaceful state. That key to returning to that peaceful state always starts with forgiveness. Bridges must be rebuilt, not burned to ashes. Connections must be rebuilt, not torn to pieces. You get the idea. Now, years later I’m grateful for that moment. I can move forward. If you are on your proverbial bathroom floor, I hope your key to peace comes too. It’s a nicer place to be. Join me.
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Help us find peace in crisis.
Help us find forgiveness for those who have hurt us.
Rev Melissa Fain is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ.) She currently serves as the Senior Minister at Fig Tree Christian. Her passion is new church planting and revitalization. Fig Tree is the second big church plant she has been part of. Melissa enjoys all forms of the arts, having a degree in vocal music from Kennesaw State University. She also graduated from Candler School of Theology in the Fall of 2010, and has worked in Christian settings since 1999. Melissa is a mother of two wonderful children, and the wife to a very talented illustrator.