This metaphoric expression is used to refer to
rectifying damaged relationships with others. Too often in our hurried lives
feelings are hurt, even though unintentionally. Obviously it derived from repairing literal fences
which have been torn down or damaged by weather or decay. According to a major
online dictionary, the term originated in the United States in the late 19th
century in reference to a member of Congress returning to his home town to stay
in touch with his constituents and look out after their interests. This was
likely a reference to Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas, who felt compelled to
do just that, according to page 2 of Abraham
Lincoln: Personal Reminisces of the Martyr Emancipator as he Appeared in
Memorable Campaign of 1854 and His Subsequent Career by James Minor,
published in 1912, where ‘mend his fences’ is in quotation marks.
Repairing and maintaining our relationships within
both our natural family and spiritual family is imperative.