Have you ever considered the value of a fence? I mean, why do people build fences? You never hear of animals building them; only people find it necessary to have a fence. Only people NEED a fence.
There are various kinds of fences: wooden, privacy, chain link, barbed wire, and split rail fences to name a few. And there’s one other kind of fence you probably haven’t heard of…
The Christmas Fence.
Before I describe the Christmas Fence, I’ll explain one reason why people need a fence.
People want and need to protect their personal belongings, including their spiritual, mental, and physical health. There are plenty of “wild animals” around that would just love to steal, kill, and destroy anyone and anything in their path. Hence, the need for a fence.
What happens to people who tear their fence down? How long can they stay safe from the beasts of prey? Beasts like the roaring lion, seeking whom it may devour? How long?
You may ask why would an intelligent person do such a nutty thing? Why indeed!
One of the biggest reasons is anger. People who don’t control their anger when someone treats them unkindly. They may not explode with words, but their anger eats away at their heart until they cannot control their actions; they remove their defenses, they take “a fence”.
Other people become wounded, hurt, through the words and actions of people they love. And like those who are angry, they take “a fence”.
Life, just plain living, gives every person plenty of opportunities to be hurt, or to hurt someone. It is a normal part of living. Jesus even said as much.
Please track with me as I play with the words: “A fence”
“It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come.” (Luke 17:1 NKJV)
The word “offenses” also means “trespasses“. Someone who trespasses is a person who oversteps their boundaries, or invades another’s property without permission from its owner.
Jesus said it’s impossible to live a trespass-free life. It’s going to happen. People are going to walk on us. There’re going to hurt us and invade our life with their poison. But don’t think it will happen without consequences.
In fact, it would be better for the “trespasser” if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea! And even though the unrepentant trespasser (which could include you and I, and our offenses toward Almighty God) has a hopeless future to look forward to, the offended one typically has a troublesome time, as well…
…when they “take a fence”.
People who became offended, and would not forgive the one who invaded their “space”, are like the person who became mad at a trespasser, and subsequently removed the fence from the property. What good did that do? None! What harm? It opened their own life for any beast of the field to come steal, kill, and destroy!
When someone “takes a fence” (takes offense, or stays offended to the point of having an unforgiving heart), they remove their protection.
“Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. “And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.” (Luke 17:3-4 NKJV)
So where does the Christmas Fence come in?
It is the fence God gave to the world. The fence that can protect and restore relationships between God and man, and the ones between people. It’s the Fence which gives mankind forgiveness from God, and the power to forgive others. It is strong enough, high enough and durable enough to withstand any attack, any trespass, for any length of time; forever if necessary!
It is the Fence that stands between God and man, and becomes a door for the repentant and believing ones.
It is the Cross of Christ. Foolishness to some, but salvation and protection to those who believe.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18 NKJV)
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” (Romans 1:16 NKJV)
God’s Fence surrounds us, shields us, and makes it possible to stand, pray, and forgive!
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25 NKJV)
Remember these words of Jesus?
“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:9-15 NKJV)
“Forgive us our debts…”, debts being synonymous with trespasses and offenses. Just think how we’ve treated God. He didn’t “take a fence”, but rather gave us His Christmas Fence.
That was THE purpose of Christmas; God prepared His Son to bear our offenses. To forgive and not take offense.
And He tells us to do the same!
So, the next time someone trespasses against you, what will you do?
Take a fence? Then watch out for the lion; you’re on your own!
Or will you trust in God’s sustaining strength, which He demonstrated with His Christmas Fence?