There was once a church in rural America some hundred years ago that was divided. It was the Christian version of the Hatfields and McCoys. One half of the church sided with the family of Bill Jones* whose great-great-grandfather had had a feud with the great-great-grandfather of Stanley Roberts*. On Sunday mornings, there was the Jones side and the Roberts side. No one dared to cross the line and sit on the opposing side of the church. The feud didn't end with the adults either. The children took sides with their parents and refused to associate with the children of the other side. Just as the preacher was the mediator between the adults, his son became the mediator between the children. One day, he gathered the children to play church. Like miniatures of their parents, the children sat on the grass on two sides of an invisible aisle. But as the young minister got up to preach his sermon, he spoke on Christ's command to love one another. He pleaded with his friends to forget about the feud and learn to like the children of the other side. Touched by his words, the children made a pact to eradicate the line and become friends with each other. On Sunday morning, several of the children swapped parents, sitting on the opposite side of the church. Through their influence, the hearts of the members were melted and the church was once again united in love for each other and their community.

It's been said that, as Christians, we are looking forward to heaven, where we will spend eternity with the people who we can't get along with here on earth. Jesus' command to love isn't just for those who are lost, but for each other! In the Upper Room on that last night before His crucifixion, Jesus turned to His disciples and said, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:34, 35). The world won't recognize us as disciples of Christ until we eradicate the line that separates us and become friends with each other. Let's love as Christ loved and watch our influence with the world grow.

Eradicating the line,

Pastor Sutherland

*Not their real names

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