Family Feuds

  • Jeff Crotts
Boxing gloves

When you think of the most famous feud in history what two names come to mind?  How about the Hatfields and McCoys? 

These families became legendary in American culture and not for good reason.  During the late 1800’s with our country in Civil War, these families (both Confederates) were having their own personal war.  The Hatfields from West Virginia, the McCoys from Kentucky, conspired and attacked in ways that meant bloodshed. 

Apparently, this all began over who really was the owner of a single hog.  The dispute came down to whether this hog had notches on its ear or not.  Notches meant the hog was a McCoy and no notches a Hatfield.  This discrepancy went to the Justice of the Peace where the honorable Judge Anderson (also known as “Preacher Anse” Hatfield) …ruled for the Hatfields. 

This court ruling was based on the testimony of Bill Stanton who by the way was a relative to both families.  He was shortly after killed by two McCoy brothers.  Later ruled as self-defense. 

This is almost humorous and/or unbelievable.  Still, apart from morbid outcomes, by inserting other names into a like scenario, you quickly realize that most conflicts play out just like this one.  Perhaps not as tragic, but personal experience confirms that conflicts are always laced with fallout and pain. 

God’s Word leaves no room for long-term feuds in the body of Christ.  Instead of feuding the call is for forgiveness.  It is never acceptable to remain entrenched in conflict.  To remain at odds with other believers. 

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift (Matthew 5:23-24).

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matthew 6:14-15).

And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments (Luke 23:34).

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all (Romans 12:18).

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).

It is no stretch to assume, you have been hurt deeply by unresolved conflict.  This is the fallen world where we live.  A world filled with people who wound other people, which make forgiving extremely hard to do.  To let go of the sin debt owed for wrongs committed against you may seem emotionally impossible.  Hard fought battles must be waged inside the heart to get there.

God’s Word leaves no room for Christians not to forgive.  Reconciliation may or may not come, but this requirement, no matter how foreboding, ominous, and menacing cannot be left alone.  You flesh will say, “I cannot get there from here.”  And this is where Christ steps in.  What is impossible humanly speaking, God makes possible.  We all know Christianity itself rests on forgiveness.  We forgive because we have been forgiven.  The difference between the enslavement from not forgiving compared to the release of forgiving is life changing.  Feuds mean damage and grace means healing.  You are never more like God than when you forgive, so do not deny yourself the grace of forgiveness.