The quote above is most famously given credit to Robert Frost, but it actually comes from an old 17th century proverb. And what is the purpose of a proverb, to teach wisdom!
This weekend I watched my human daddy go it alone wrestling with my new kennel and trying to get it finished. The weekend before he got frustrated, angry, hurried and started pulling and tugging to unroll the chain link fence to my kennel and ended up damaging it and needed to repair it to keep it functioning it properly. Fences have many functions and purposes; some are low, and some are high, some are metal and some are wood, some are decorative and some keep things in or out. And when I think about fences in the Christian life, two things come to mind.
1) Those who are Christs’, He is their protection, their fence if you will, we are His sheep and He is our great shepherd. However, there is also a great enemy lurking about, looking to snatch away the weak sheep from the flock that they may be devoured, and unfortunately it happens from time to time. It is not because the shepherd did not protect the sheep, but the sheep did not eat or like to eat sheep food. Instead it settled for the things of the world which made the weak sheep lazy and lethargic, thereby making them easy pray.
2) These fences remind me of times when neighbors although separated for whatever reason, maybe like back in the days of the Old Testament, kept the property properly divided and the animals separate one flock from another, they served a purpose. Unfortunately, over time, these fences became too divisive, and the enemy has used them to make man greedy or even more secluded from his other neighbors, so again, they are easy pickings for the enemy. This is why fences need mending.
So why is this important, and how does it pertain to the Christians life? Well, first we need to define the word mend.
To mend something, means to be free from faults or defects, such as to improve in manners or morals, to be reformed. To be corrected or set right, to be put into good shape or working order, to improve or strengthened, to restore health, to be atoned for. Do these words not describe exactly the reason why Christ came to earth, to be an atonement for man, to make right and mend the broken relationship that sin caused between God the Father and Man. That Christ came to heal and cure the sickness and sin in those who repent of their sins and put their faith and trust in him.
This is the point of what James is trying to say in his epistle. Confess your sins one to another, pray for one another that you may be healed (mended). Like we discussed yesterday, when prayer is fervent, it is effectual, when prayer is meaningful, sincere, in love for God and for His truth, done in obedience and in the Holy Spirit, it avails much, and more than we know.
For to be truly healed, truly reconciled, man does not have the power to do so for himself and needs God.
We needed God to send His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to do His Father’s will, and that was to reconcile sinful man to His His Holiness and Righteousness. Christ blood shed atoned for the sinners sins, in that He was the propitiation, the perfect sacrifice acceptable by God for man to be not only reconciled, but Christs’ Righteousness imputed to us through being adopted into the Kingdom. Let us not also forget the Holy Spirit, the one who renewed us by removing the hardness and hatred towards God, the vile enmity the separated us. He who removed the heart of stone and gave us a heart of flesh, being renewed, invigorated, new eyes to see and ears to hear, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that call that tells all who are weary, to come, and He will give us rest. That reconciliation, that mending, is the best thing that could ever happen to a sinner, and that is why we too need to be fence menders. To show grace, mercy, and love to those who we have wronged and sinned against. To forgive and learn how to forgive, and in doing so, we will love our neighbors as ourselves.
So you have some fences that need mending? Do you harbor hate towards another, a grudge you have been holding on to for far too long. Is pride keeping you from being mended by God and mended to your neighbor? If so, confess these things, let them go, give them to God, for life is too short to continue heavily in these sins. Let us truly be reconciled one to another, for if we truly are is, we will be spending an eternity together in His glory, so we might was well get used to enjoying the blessing now.