In the movie “Fences,” Troy Maxson, played by Denzel Washington, lives in a house with a fence. He lives there with his wife Rose and his younger son Cory. A lot of the action takes place behind that fence, which he always seems to be working on and which features prominently on the screen. As I watched the film, I understood why.
Troy portrays a man frustrated by his lot in life – his job, past failures and disappointments, his dysfunctional relationship with his son and his superficial relationship with Rose. Troy goes to work everyday and comes home to drink and spin tall tales to his good friend Bono and Rose, while the camera focuses on the fence that is hiding Troy’s frustration and bitterness. We know that one day everything is going to explode. And it does.
Walls are meant for security, but as we could see in the movie, Troy was a very insecure man. I can’t help comparing his fence to the fences or walls so many of us build around ourselves. We smile and give the expected response when someone asks, “How are you doing?” “Great,” or, “Fine” rolls off our tongue without a thought but inside we are being torn apart. When we build walls around ourselves, are we trying to hide our insecurity? Our pain? Are we saying to the world, “Don’t come any closer because you’ll see all the filth in that corner back there? You’ll discover that my manicured nails, shining hair and designer clothes are just a veneer for the disfigurement that is inside of me.”
Troy was so bitter at everyone, he said to his son, “Who says I gotta like you?” If you are like Troy, It’s time to break down that wall, that fence, that barrier you hide behind. Allow Jesus to come in and touch your hurt, melt away the hardness you have built up over the years and expose the true gem that is the real you. The Bible says, “I will take the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Do you know what that is? It’s a heart that can live, receive love, give love and experience joy and contentment. You deserve nothing less.