Tiptoeing On Fences
by Bruce W. Durbin
As a young boy, I would often accompany my parents to my grandparents' farm. My grandfather was a dairy farmer and subsequently he had several milk cows. My grandfather had constructed fences to keep the cows separated from the crops of alfalfa that he would grow, in order to feed the cows, rather than having the cows feed themselves. I would perch myself on the fence and watch the cows. Occasionally, a cow would decide that there was a clump of grass on the other side of the fence that needed tending and, the cow would stretch its neck through the fence and uproot the clump of grass. In all of my visits to my grandparents' farm, I never recall a single incident wherein a cow tiptoed on top of the fence. The cows were either on one side of the fence or in the pasture; they were never in the middle. My grandfather did not erect the fences as a means to torment the cows. No, he erected the fences to keep them safe. If the cows were allowed to roam freely into the fields of green alfalfa, then they would lose their sense of moderation and eat too much green alfalfa, with this causing the cows to become sick, even to the point of death. The fences also served to keep them safe from the traffic on the highway. If the cows ventured out onto the highway, unaware of the speeding vehicles, then they would most certainly have been injured. My grandfather erected the fences because he was concerned with the safety of the cows. Occasionally, a rebel cow would find a weak spot in the fence and make good their escape to the "greener" pastures. My grandfather would then fix the fence and herd the cow back into the corral.
Where is the fence that separates the righteous from the unrighteous? What was once immoral, now, becomes acceptable. What was once sin, now, becomes a person's expression of individuality. The clear and visible fence that once separated righteousness from unrighteousness has now become a matter of interpretation. As a physical fence is an easy thing to comprehend (i.e., You're either on one side or the other), the separation between good and evil is also an easy thing to comprehend.
As Luke 13:3 instructs: "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."
Like my grandfather's cows, some people discover holes in the fence. For some people, the "hole" becomes the rationale, "If God is a God of Love, then He certainly won't send anyone to Hell." These people make good their escape from the corral of righteousness and enter the seemingly green fields of sin.
Matthew 13:49-50 encourages us to be on the "right" side of the spiritual fence by stating:
"So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
The above scripture sounds as though there is a clear distinction between the righteous and the unrighteous. It also sounds as though the ones that believed they were escaping into the "greener" pastures, will find themselves in incomprehensible grief. While my grandfather's fences were designed to keep the cows separated from various hazards, the fences were never designed to keep my grandfather from the cows. He would either enter through the gate or simply pull the barbed wire strands apart and step into the corral. I can never remember an occasion, where my grandfather approached the fence and was suddenly dumbfounded about how to enter the corral.
When we become Christians, we become separated from the unrighteous. Where is the fence that separates us from God's love?
As Romans 8:35-39 encourages:
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God."
As my grandfather's cows were never able to tiptoe on the top of fences, likewise, a person will never be able to tiptoe on the top of the fence separating the righteous from the unrighteous.
Bruce W. Durbin is a freelance writer, whose articles have featured on many Christian online publications. He is also the author of Almost Heaven and Almost Hell (www.iuniverse.com and