This is a great illustration of the dangers of division from Joel Gregory, which he delivered in 1988 at the Southern Baptist Convention. It has been helpfully paraphrased by Micky Anders over on Semon Writer.
He told how there was a castle on the English coast owned by an landlord, but no one currently was living there. Vandals were coming in and destroying the place. So he hired a contractor to build a nice rock wall around the castle. The fee was agreed upon and the contractor began his work.
But after a short time the contractor began having trouble finding rocks for the wall. So he called the owner to complain about the situation. The owner sharply replied, “I don’t care where you get the rocks, I want you to build that wall!”
Some time later the owner came to see the progress of the work, and found a beautiful high wall. He was so impressed with the fine work the contractor had done. It was a perfect wall for his castle. But then he went through the wall, and was stunned to find that there was no castle! The contractor explained, “There were all these wonderful rocks in that run-down old castle, so I used them.”
That is the folly of anyone who is so prejudiced that they do not open themselves up to the grace of God that can come through another human being. We think we are protecting ourselves, we are protecting something of cherished value, so we build a wall. But when the wall is built, we find that we have torn down everything of value within ourselves
It was the ancient home of the Castlereagh family, one of the most princely residences of the Emerald Isle. But the ancient home fell into decay and was no longer inhabited.
The usual happened. When peasants wanted to repair a road, build a chimney or pig-sty, they would scavenge stone from the fine old castle. The stones were already craftily cut, finished and fit. Best of all, they were available without digging and carrying for miles.
One day Lord Londonderry visited his castle. He was the surviving descendant and heir. When he saw the state of his ancestral home, he determined to end immediately the robbery of the building for its stones.
The ruin itself reflected the earlier glories of his family and was one of the treasures of Ireland. He sent for his agent and gave orders for the castle to be enclosed with a wall six feet tall and well-coped. This would keep out the trespassers. He went on his way.
Three or four years later he returned. To his astonishment, the castle was gone, completely disappeared, vanished into the air. In its place there was a huge wall enclosing nothing.
He sent for his agent and demanded to know why his orders had not been carried out. The agent insisted they had been. ‘But where is the castle?’ asked the Lord. ‘The castle, is it? I built the wall with it, my Lord! Is it for me to be going miles for materials with the finest stones in Ireland beside me?’
When we let our divisions guide us and when we think the grace of God cannot work in another person this is what happens. We think we are protecting ourselves, but when that wall is built we find there is nothing left of value inside.