By Dr. J. Wayne Kilpatrick
Heritage Place Church of Christ
I consider it a great honor to be asked to submit an article to The Trussville Tribune each month. I have given much thought to the things I want to share with you, and I hope you will like the format I’ve chosen. Each month, I want to share stories that teach great lessons. I can’t think of a better place to begin than with the following:
Dr. A. J. Cronin relates this incident: “My first assignment, after I had finished medical school, was in a Welch town and my first operation was a tracheotomy. There was a little girl whose throat was filled with membrane. It was a severe case of diphtheria; so I took my sharp scalpel, and made an incision into the windpipe and put in a tube. I watched life come back into her face, and I thanked God for my training and for his guiding of my hand in that minute.
Along about midnight I decided to sleep an hour; so I asked the nurse, who was a nineteen-year old country girl who had just graduated from her training course, ‘Do you think you can watch over her and let me get some sleep?'”
She said, “Yes, doctor.”
“I said, ‘Now you know the tube might get stopped up and you might have to take it out and clean it, then put it back right quickly. You’ll have plenty of time to do it and then come and call me.”
“The tube did get stopped up and she lost her nerve and came running after me instead of taking it out as I had directed. When I got there the child was dead. I was so furiously angry that I talked to her for twenty minutes and the next morning I wrote a long report about why she should have her nurse’s license taken away and never be allowed to nurse again. I called her in and read it to her. I was planning to send it to the Board.”
He said, “I looked at her as she sat there with her face down, her chin against her chest, and a little pity stirred in my heart as she raised her face and looked at me pathetically and pleaded, ‘Doctor, give me one more chance.’ The tears were awfully close to running down her cheeks; her eyes were full. I turned away and laid the letter down. ‘I’ll think about it,’ I told her. All night long in my dreams there came that same quiet pleading little voice, ‘Give me one more chance,’ and I woke up and prayed, “O Jesus, that’s what I had to ask you to do one day, Give me one more chance. O God, forgive me for what I nearly did.'”
J. Cronin later wrote, “She is today the superintendent of the biggest children’s hospital in the British Empire.”
Friends, that’s the message of Christianity, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Mercy, forgiveness, another chance, lighting the lives of other people — that’s Christianity. Isn’t that what you want?