Reading time: two minutes. I’ve watched a lot of cowboy movies. Most of the riding around the range and roping cattle looked like fun. The barbed wire jobs didn’t look that enjoyable. There was usually a grizzled, sun-beaten old veteran like the Jack Palance character “Curly” in City Slickers mending the fence. You’d see thick leather gloves, callouses, and a little bit of blood and sweat. Maybe tears, too. Mending fences is really hard. Emotional wellbeing is tending to the mood of our relationships. Some of my summer refresher suggestions have been on the fun side. This one is tough, but worth the effort. For most of my ministry, I met with an accountability group, two men from the church, for encouragement, transparency and support. Maybe the best advice they ever gave me was the hardest I heard from them. “Pastor, did you know that Forrest is upset with you?” I was flabbergasted, not so much that someone was upset with me, but that this gentleman’s hurt feelings were rumbling around the congregation, that a good number of people were aware of it, and that I was so clueless. I asked, “What should I do?” as if I didn’t already know. I had to go have a chat with him. My guys said, “We’ll be anxious to hear how that goes. When we meet in two weeks.” That second part was the key. Mend this fence. Now. They were right, of course. Bad relationships in the faith community can bring the mission of God to a halt. It’s the place where the devil gets a foothold. The solution is confession and forgiveness. When I approached my friend, Forrest, I was so glad that he was bold enough to speak the truth to me in love. I had made some off-handed comments in a public gathering about some poor decisions made way back decades ago by a previous generation of church leaders. I was wrong to disparage them and he was rightly offended. I swallowed hard. It was like hearing Nathan say to David, “You are the man.” Years later, it still makes me feel guilty, awkward, embarrassed inside. I asked for his forgiveness. He was quick to forgive. The atmosphere was transformed by the grace of Jesus who made His presence very clearly known between us that day. It was a mended fence. No blood was spilled. Just a few painful barbs. And a lesson in healing grace. And the departure of our enemy, the devil. Is there a relationship that needs the healing touch of Jesus? The hard work of mending fences is what the gospel of forgiveness is for. Thanks for reading. Subscribe to Blog Do you serve on a professional church worker conference planning committee? Our staff has vast experience leading groups of all sizes from every church work background through innovative wellness programs custom designed to meet your needs. Contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman today to begin exploring the possibilities or visit our website to see some of our ideas for your conference!