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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Good fences make good neighbors

Do You Resent The Fence?


   Depends on which side you're on.  Are you being protected… or excluded?

   In a long-time-ago conversation with an acquaintance in China who was trying to convince me of the superiority of his form of government, I delivered what proved to be the coup de grace by saying, "I noticed when I came into your country from Hong Kong, that there was a really large fence with manned guard towers every couple of hundred yards.  Was that to keep people in or to keep people out?  I read of several dozens of people who are killed every year in New Territories (area- at that time- between Hong Kong and mainland China).  I've never heard of one who was traveling north!"   

   If you are a smart sheep [actually that is a contradiction of terms], and you know there are wolves out there, you really do appreciate the value of a good fence.  It protects you.   But if you're a wolf, you hate that thing!  You resent it.  Or if you're a dumb sheep [that's more in tune with reality], and you don't recognize the dangers that lurk out there, you also resent the fence.   It cramps your style.  It limits your freedom.

   How do you view God's fences?  Do you try to find the hole in the fence?  Paul boasts that Christ's love [lit.] "holds us together; restrains; restricts" us."  He felt that was a good thing.  There are some things that we don't do… won't say… some places we won't go… because we love Jesus. 

   How can I like something that "restricts" me?  Only if I believe that it truly benefits my life. 

   David said that he loved God's law because it was a lamp and a light that showed him the path.  But what if I like the darkness?  Then you won't like God's laws. 

   God put up some fences.  He put them in exactly the right place.  There is a roaring lion on the other side.  He will tear your life to shreds… before he eats you.  You will wish you had stayed inside the safety of His love.

 Ken Stegall
Woodland Oaks Church of Christ
The Woodlands, TX


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