[x_custom_headline type=”left” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″]By the time the Hatfield and McCoy feud finally ended, twelve people were dead. And for more than twenty-five years people were injured and lives were altered because of that feud, and now the story of their dispute lives on in history.[/x_custom_headline]

I once pastored Brother Hatfield and Brother McCoy, although that wasn’t their real names, nor were they decedents of either family. However, they were both supposed to be members of the family of God and washed in the Blood of the Lamb, but both parties yielded themselves to the same spirit that was behind the original Hatfield and McCoy feud.

I guess to tell this story I should give these two men fictitious first names too, so I’ll go with Buck and Roy. The story begins when one day Buck Hatfield and his wife Bev, made an appointment with me to discuss some financial matters. Buck and Bev were in their very late sixties or early seventies, and they had been retired for a number of years. Buck was an extremely sensitive man, which made him easy prey for offense. He couldn’t stand to be teased for example, and he was the type of man that didn’t joke around with others, ever, and certainly didn’t want anyone joking around with him.

Roy McCoy, on the other hand, was a big kidder. Roy was about the same age as Buck, and he absolutely loved to joke around, and in many cases he was a complete smart aleck who just loved to hear himself talk. For example, in a men’s meeting one time he jokingly blurted out, “I want to put something into the offering this morning, does anyone have change for a dollar?” Sure he meant it as a joke, but as with most of Roy’s jokes, it was at the most inappropriate timing ever.

This was just the type of person Roy was. He seemed to have a knack for knowing exactly how to push somebody’s buttons to irritate them with his “humor.” Unfortunately, Roy just didn’t seem to know when to quit and back off. And his wife was certainly of no help.

Roy’s wife, Rhoda, was also the brunt of many of his jokes. But, she just thought it was “cute.” So, because of this, he wanted to keep on being cute even at other people’s expense. It seems as if one person’s “cute,” is another person’s kick in the head.

As it turned out, as Buck and Bev were leaving my office following my appointment with them, Roy and Rhoda were walking through the front door of the church. And since Roy was always in a joking mood, and because he had known Buck for many years and knew how sensitive he was, he didn’t hesitate to exploit it as often as he could.

As the two couples greeted one another in the foyer of the church, Roy made some wise crack about Buck and Bev coming to see me about marriage counseling. He jokingly said something to the effect that it was about time that the two of them got some help and did something about their marriage.

[highlight]Roy, of course, thought that it was hilarious. Buck exploded![/highlight] Right there in the foyer of the church these two men began to argue. The argument almost led to blows! It appeared at first that these two men were going to have a fist fight right there in the lobby of my church. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and seeing.

Both couples stormed out of the church, got into their cars and sped away. And they never returned to church again. Ever. I’m not making this up. These two men were so mad at each other that they had no intention of ever attending church together again. And they never did.

What an absolute mess. I went to the Hatfield’s home and made contact with them numerous times, attempting to get this thing reconciled, but to no avail. I also went to the McCoy’s home and contacted them over and over again for the same purpose, but also to no avail. And oddly enough, because I was the man trying to reconcile these two, both couples now saw me as their enemy, and were bitter against me to the end.

And just like with the real Hatfield and McCoy feud, death and injury were the result. Bev went first. She died of cancer less than two years after the feud began. You see, strong faith for healing doesn’t function from bitter hearts in bitter homes. And both couples crashed and burned spiritually. In fact, the last knowledge I had of these people they had stopped attending church and serving the Lord altogether.

[x_blockquote cite=”James 3:16 KJV” type=”left”]“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”[/x_blockquote]

Envy and strife are a deadly duo. They split churches, wreck marriages, tear apart families and wipe out businesses. They kill any spirit of teamwork and cooperation between believers so that almost nothing can be accomplished for the Kingdom of God when these two are allowed to operate.

Buck Hatfield and Roy McCoy were both among the largest contributors to our church. So their feud was very costly to our ministry financially for sure. But that isn’t all it cost us. You see within the congregation there were those who were close to the McCoys, and others who were close to the Hatfields.  And of course I was somehow the cause of this feud in the mind of some people, while others thought I hadn’t done enough to resolve it. This stupid, childish, knuckleheaded feud may have even cost the lives of people our ministry was assigned to reach but we never could.

[x_blockquote cite=”Ephesians 5:1-2a NASU” type=”left”]“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you….”[/x_blockquote]

Before you become involved in some silly Hatfield and McCoy feud in your life, please be smart enough to think about the consequences, and the lives that will be damaged or destroyed over it. And instead, choose to walk in love. Be an imitator of God the Father, and not the devil himself.