Every pastor experiences at least one member who makes his ministry and life difficult. Some endure people who make it a living hell. Robert Nichols, unfortunately, had to have the latter. Having worked through many of my own traumatic issues over the years with some incredibly challenging parishoners, I do have to say that Nichols tops it all. You simply have to read the book from cover to cover to really appreciate what this man went through. However, it's easy to get caught up in the horror of it all and miss the real point of the author: forgiveness.
To tell the story in full here would be to spoil the ending if you don't already know it. So I won't share too much, except to encourage you to read the book. The book's author, Rebecca Nichols Alonzo, shares an incredible tale of survival on a physical, mental and spiritual level. You find yourself wondering if you could have survived all that she endured. Yet it also reminds you that no matter how bad your situation is, there are those who have suffered much worse, especially in terms of congregational dysfunction. Still, the real healing is not survival, but reconciliation, a most helpful story for this time of year.