I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again … I love history, folklore, and true stories. In my infrequent spare time, I enjoy films based on true stories, then love doing some research to find out the facts. This week I watched The Hatfields and McCoys series. I grew up hearing about “The Hatfields and McCoys”. It’s a famous family feud that lasted more than a century.
Having its roots in the Civil War, the feud between the Hatfield and McCoy families took place in the Appalachian Mountains along the West Virginia–Kentucky border between 1863 and 1891. The feud attracted nationwide attention, ignited generations of bitter grudges and resentment, deaths in both families and included not only police intervention but also that of governors and the Supreme Court.
The Hatfields of West Virginia were led by William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield, who lived on the West Virginia side of Mingo County. The Hatfields were more affluent than the McCoys and well-connected. Devil Anse Hatfield’s timbering operation was the source of wealth for his family, and he employed dozens, including some of the McCoys.
Between 1880 and 1888, more than a dozen people from the two families died, and at least ten were wounded. At one point, it got so bad that the governors of West Virginia and Kentucky even threatened to have their militias invade each other’s states. Trials continued for years until the 1901 trial of Johnse Hatfield, the last of the feud trials.
Randolph McCoy, deeply religious, later became a ferry operator and died in 1914 from burns suffered in an accidental fire. Devil Anse Hatfield, who had long proclaimed his skepticism about religion, was “born again” and baptized for the first time at age 73. He went on to found a Church of Christ congregation in West Virginia. He died of pneumonia in 1921 The story of the Hatfields and McCoys entered American folklore and continues to fascinate people today.
As I watched the show and did my research, I was drawn to this story because of its relevance to us today. We are still feuding — in our families – in our relationships — and in our country. It’s almost as if our old human nature demands us to want to “be right” instead of “doing what’s right.” I see nothing right about holding a grudge, not forgiving, and not showing someone grace and mercy.
Jesus Christ took our old nature to the grave when He was crucified. The new nature He gave us in its place is intended to fully displace our old nature. The Apostle Paul says, “Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus”. Our job is to be aggressive in making that happen.
In Galatians 5:16–17, we are challenged to live by the new nature. “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” That means you allow the Holy Spirit, now living in you, to shape your thoughts, guide your steps, govern your reactions and correct you when you stray. The old nature is real. But God enables and empowers each of us to walk in victory.
Oh, how glorious this world would be if we all put on our new nature of a Christ-centered life. What do you think?
Debby Efurd is co-founder of Cary John Efurd Ministries. Learn more about the ministry by liking our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CJEMinistries) and downloading our FREE mobile app (get.theapp.co) from App Store or Google Play. Once downloaded, allow notifications to keep you up to date on what’s happening in Cary John Efurd Ministries. Debby can be contacted at email@example.com. Feel free to comment at debbyefurd.com.