Category Archives: Relationships

Relationships – broken symbolized by a line

Two Natchez, Mississippi brothers lived in the same cotton-built mansion.  They had their share of disagreements, all of which seemed “small stuff.”  One day they had a terrific argument over something or other—“a howling difference of opinion.”  One brother became so incensed he used a chalk stick to draw a line throughout the house, down the back stairs and into the back yard.  He ordered his brother to stay on his side of the line, as he on his.  The slaves of both were likewise divided.  Any contact between them had to be surreptitious.

Two Natchez sisters finally came to the same decision—at their mother’s grave.  One took a stick and drew a line in the fresh dirt.  One side was hers, the other her sister’s.  They each thereafter covered their side of the grave with flowers.

The brothers eventually built separate homes.  The differences separating them vanished and they again had a convivial relationship.  (Don’t know about the ladies.)  Natchez, 149-150.

The sad monotony of broken relationships.  Disagreements have figuratively split apart parents, siblings and churches.  The arguments sometime get so violent the extreme literal line symbolizes the division.  It’s bad enough that arguments create hard feelings that only apologies cancel.  It’s worse when participants refuse to apologize, to forget, to re-build relationships that should be preserved at all costs.  My family in Illinois had a flair for fighting, especially after the older boys married.  They often lasted for weeks or months.  Then, someone would say something nice, or apologize, and the differences would be buried.  My older sister and a sister-in-law had been feuding when Mom died.  They reconciled while standing literally at her casket.

The Savior’s life led two previously-alienated men to reconcile.  Luke 23:5-12 has the account.  The Savior’s death made possible the reconciliation of all sinners to God and each to the other.  Ephesians 2:11-22 recounts his success.  Jesus always erased lines that divided, demolished walls that separated and threw a loop big enough to include all.

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