For 40 years, two brothers had lived on adjoining farms, They watched their families grow and enjoy life. They shared machinery, trading labor and goods as needed, and all this was without conflict.
However, one day a small misunderstanding between them, turned into a major difference
and after exploding into an exchange of bitter words, weeks of silence followed. The families no longer lived peaceably among one another.
One morning the older brother woke up to a knock at the door. There was a man with a carpenter's tool box. "I'm looking for a couple of days of work." he said. "Perhaps you have a few small jobs here that I could help with?"
The elder brother thought for a moment, then he said, "Yes, I do have a job for you! Look across the stream at that farm. That's my neighbor; in fact, it's my younger brother's farm. Last week he took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a river between us. He may have done this to spite me, but I'll do him one better! I want you to build me a fence, an 8 foot fence, so I won't ever have to look at his farm or his face anymore!"
The carpenter answered, "I think I can do that, show me where the post hole digger is and I'll start immediately!" The brother first took the carpenter to town with him first to get the materials needed for the job and then he and his family went off for the day.
The carpenter worked hard all day digging, measuring, sawing and nailing. As evening drew near he had almost completed his work.
The farmer returned home to late to see the carpenter's work, but was up early the next morning to see what he had accomplished. At first glance, his eyes opened wide and his jaw dropped, there was no fence at all!
He was looking at a bridge, a beautiful bridge stretching from one side of the river to the other. It was a fine piece of work, handrails and all. He called for the carpenter to come by, he wanted to ask about what he had done.
Soon he noticed his younger brother was coming towards him on the bridge, his arms outstretched, "You are quite the brother to build this bridge after all I've said and done!" The older brother ran to meet his younger brother on the walkway, grabbing and hugging him when as they met near the middle.
As they turned to see and thank the carpenter, he was hoisting his old toolbox on to his shoulder. "No, Wait! Stay a few days. We are sure, we have more projects for you!" said the brothers. "I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but there are so many more bridges for me to build!"
The wisdom of this carpenter had brought the brothers back together and peace was restored after they both dismissed their differences. One has to wonder, how long the brother's argument would have continued, had the carpenter built the 8 foot fence!
When the younger brother came over the bridge, he didn't know that the carpenter built the bridge instead of the 8 foot fence. He and his older brother's actions were quick and they forgave each other, realizing their love was greater than their anger.
This kind of forgiveness is lacking in today's world. Instead of reaching out in love, men kill in a rage. People have forgotten how to keep their emotions in check, to break the cycle of anger before it turns into rage and bitterness.
The first 'anger management class' was taught by Jesus in the Matthew 6:12, where Jesus basically says, "Forgive us what we have done wrong, as we too have forgiven those who have wronged us." The Lord knew that if we were to continue in anger, it would become distorted and develop into rage and bitterness.
You will never know real joy or peace when you hold on to anger, rage and bitterness. Your life will stagnate and decay, wasting away without any kind of hope.
When we choose to live for God and walk in His Spirit, we are then called to walk in love for one another. Our new garments should be, compassion, kindness, humility, discipline and quiet strength. We must seek to be even tempered, content and quick to forgive the offenses of our brothers and sisters.
Forgive quickly, dress in the wardrobe that God has for you and regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment and we should never be without it.