Monday, May 20, 2013

The Hatfield's and The McCoy's

      A few years ago I began mulling the idea about writing a book regarding the infamous feud between the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s in the 1800’s.  After mentioning this to my parents, they told me that a new miniseries had been filmed about the feud and suggested I watch it.  Truthfully I’d forgotten about the whole thing.  Other projects have come and gone, and the verdict is still out if I’ll ever write a book on the subject.  However when I saw that Netflix had the miniseries starring Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton the historian-junkie-curiosity in me was piqued.  I again will add here how much I love what I do.  Part historian, part writer, part minister, yes, God knew what he was doing when he called me to this field.

     As I took the last few days to watch this miniseries, that is very violent and has some language in it, I was so saddened at this story.  I will confess to yelling at the TV a few times.  Culturally while I always joke that my ethnicity is Ohio Redneck, really my lineage was Irish/Scottish settlers to the Appalachian Mountains.  My ethnicity is Appalachian, and it was only a few generations ago that my family isn’t what you would call mountain people.  So I understood a lot of the cultural side to this drama.  While I wasn’t raised in Appalachia, I understood the “who’s the king of the mountain, and if you cross me you’re forever off my list of people” mentality.  This film and the true historical account, centers around two families who essentially go to war with each other.  It is a prime example of where vengeance, revenge, and jealousy will lead.  One murder, one questionable stealing of a pig and a Romeo and Juliet esk story continues to snow ball and both families end up trying to one up each other.  The outcome just continued to get worse and worse.

     I read a quote once that choosing not to forgive someone is like the person handing you a cup of poison and you drinking it.  That is so true, and this story is prime example of that.  As the atrocities done kept getting worse and worse the families grew more and more bitter. You can choose not to drink the poison.  It’s your choice.

Romans 12:19(ESV) Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[a] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”


      While the people in this historical account had every reason to become angry, but holding onto it just made it escalate.  They needed to have trusted that God would handle the situations.  They needed to move forward with their lives, instead of seeking revenge.  While some people in today’s society might call it karma the concept of reaping the things you’ve sown is a Biblical and started there.  I’ve seen play out time and time again.  When people sow evil, in some way shape or form they will reap evil.  However it isn’t to you to make that happen.  When someone sows evil to you it’s up to you to forgive them, let it go, and trust God knows what happened.  Let Him deal with the situation.  While it might be easy to want to seek revenge, it won’t solve the problem.  Two wrongs don’t make a right.  It just makes things worse. 

      There have been times in my life that I didn’t know how to forgive someone.  Just the mere look of them made me want to go smack them.  In those times I have cried out to God saying “I don’t want to hold onto this.  I give it to you.  Help me to forgive them.”  When trying to forgive time has a way with putting things in perspective. 

       God has so many plans for your life.  But holding on to anger, bitterness, and jealousy is like allowing you to be tied to rubber bands.  Every time you try to move past a situation you get snapped back to the evil that’s been done.  You have to choose to cut those bands.  You have to choose to be free from the wrongs you’ve done.  Even Jesus hung on the cross saying, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”  (Luke 23:34)

       Remember, God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

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