Monday, May 14, 2012

Gangrene: A Lesson on Friendship and Forgiveness

By Christy Fitzwater*
It was after 11:00 on a warm summer evening, and I had laid in bed for over an hour. Seething. Rehearsing over and over in my mind the things I would like to say to her. 

For several years the infection had spread. We were doing ministry together, this other woman and I, and the way she was doing things was making me nuts. She likes things nice and predictable. I like to mix it up. Week after week my discontentment grew, until it became anger and filled my thoughts every day. 

There were other things. How she did this started to bother me. How she did that got under my skin. What had been an intimate, sweet friendship and ministry partnership became a splinter in deep tissue that slowly festered. 
It was infected by Gangrene.

Then came talks. Me saying too many words unseasoned by tact and thoughtfulness. Her feelings hurt and each one feeling like the other didn’t understand. This followed by distance. Cold bitterness.

That’s where I found myself on that summer evening. That’s where the Holy Spirit said enough. He said the words grace, forgiveness and love. No matter which way I tossed in the bed those words wouldn’t go away. Then He said get up. 

So I did. I got up, got dressed, and shocked my husband as I came downstairs, grabbed the car keys, and left.   

I knew she was a night owl, and sure enough, through the screen door I saw her sitting at her kitchen bar. I quietly spoke her name. Then I entered and literally got down on my knees in front of her and apologized for everything – the words, the bitterness, the hard heart. 

I confessed my love. I remembered out loud all the things I had always enjoyed about her. In her kitchen she spoke forgiveness. It would take a while before it got to her heart, but she spoke the words to me - the first drip of a potent antibiotic to the veins. After that night I packed the bitterness and anger away, and every time I saw her I would confess love through my body language and my words.   

Being a pastor’s wife doesn’t make us immune to all the nastiness we women seem to inflict on each other. But we CANNOT indulge our feelings worn way out there on the tip of the sleeve. Colossians 3:13 says “Forgive whatever grievances you may have…”   

I don’t know what kind of deadly infection you have spreading with some other woman at church, but gangrene has to go. As pastor's wives we have a responsibility to paint a picture of health for our church families to see.

In the power of Christ, even a nasty, oozing wound can be healed and made new. It starts with you. You have to be the mature one.  Do something about it today. 


* To read Christy's bio and her previous blog, "A Scandalous Blog Post About Marriage and Ministry", click here

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful story of repentance and reconciliation. Thank you for sharing your journey and the lessons learned along the way.


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