WATCH: Powerful Moment from When a Pastor Forgave His Son’s Killer

“God forgave me. Who am I not to forgive?”

From Nephtali Matta, ministry coordinator at Koinonia House® National Ministries:

Pastoral ministry is full of moments for which you were never trained. As ministry coordinator for Koinonia House® National Ministries, I’m often surprised by the situations I encounter. I oversee Radical Time Out ™ (RTO), a weekly gathering of individuals facing incarceration, those who have been incarcerated, their families, and those in the church who want to serve them. [Harold Smith recently wrote in Christianity Today about RTO and the joys and challenges of post-prison ministry.]

Carlos, a Christian for 10 years, began attending RTO after serving 20 years in prison for murder. Some months later, on a night when Carlos was unable to attend, Nelson Vargas came to RTO for the first time to share his testimony. God redeemed him from a life of gangs and called him to pastor in Chicago. Carlos heard about Pastor Nelson’s testimony and called me the next day to reveal new information and ask a question. He said the man he had murdered was Nelson’s son, and he asked if I would be willing to act as intermediary so he could tell Nelson how sorry he was for what he had done.

I did not know how to respond. There’s no ministry playbook for this. I asked God, How should I approach Nelson and plan their reconciliation meeting? Then I sought wisdom from and prayed with fellow pastors and ministry leaders. God reminded me that I had the Holy Spirit to guide me. I learned that I did not have to be prepared for every possibility to be effective. The video below shows what happened when Carlos and Nelson finally met face to face.

SOURCE: Christianity Today, CT Pastors
Nelson Vargas