Do you build bridges instead of fences?
A story is told about two brothers who lived on adjoining farms they inherited from their parents. They lived in harmony for over 40 years sharing equipment and trading labor and goods as needed without any problems.
But one day, they got into a small misunderstanding which grew into something bigger and resulted in the two of them not talking to each other.
One morning, a carpenter came to the older brother’s place looking for work. “Perhaps you would have a few small jobs I could do for you?”
“Well, yes I do,” said the older brother. “See that creek down there? It’s the border between my brother’s farm and mine. My brother keeps it deep to stop me from getting to his beloved farm. I want you to build me a tall fence so I won’t have to see my brother’s face and his farm anymore.”
The carpenter said, “I understand the situation. Just point me to your post-hole digger and I’ll be able to do a job that pleases you.”
So the carpenter set about working that day. Meanwhile the older brother drove into town to do some business. When he returned at sunset he was shocked to see what the carpenter had done.
There was no fence at all. Instead, the carpenter had built a bridge that stretched from the older brother’s side of the creek to his younger brother’s side.
And then he saw his younger brother coming towards him through the bridge saying, “After all I’ve done to you these past few weeks I can’t believe you’d still reach out to me.”
The two brothers met at the middle of the bridge and embraced. They turned to see the carpenter about to leave. “Wait! Please stay a few more days. I’ve a lot of other projects for you,” said the older brother. “I’d love to stay on,” the carpenter said, “but I have more bridges to build.”
Do you see yourself as the carpenter in the story, building bridges instead of fences?
Or do you make matters worse by taking sides in your family or friends’ quarrels?
Do you see the waste of a prolonged conflict and do something to end it?
Be the bridge between your feuding family members, friends or colleagues if you can do it. That could be serving your purpose.
Don’t help build fences around someone by feeding his anger towards somebody.
Remember our Lord Jesus who sacrificed Himself to be the bridge between God and us. God, in his infinite mercy, is always ready to reach out to us despite our sinfulness.
Build bridges instead of fences and be richly blessed as a peacemaker!
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