Walls that divide
Walls are built to separate and divide room from room, kingdom from kingdom, people from people. Most walls are beneficial and serve us well. Personally, I’m thankful for the blessing of privacy our bathroom walls and bedroom walls provide. I can’t imagine our home with no walls to protect us from the elements and the critters. Walls can separate us from discomfort and danger.
But what about the walls that separate souls, the walls of division between friends and family, neighbors and nations? I have stood alone, heart aching, staring at a wall of pain and hurt while someone I loved sat on the other side. Anger and tears streaming on both sides, but the wall remained.
Brick by brick, word by word, selfish choice upon selfish choice. Walls are erected out of our brokenness, our depravity. Our anger and hurt, our inability to reconcile differences, and our injured egos.
With each argument or careless word, the walls grow taller. When I hurt you, I add a brick, and out of your pain, you smear the mortar and carefully place your own, protecting your heart. Friendship is divided, relationship cut off, and peace evaporates from our souls as we live behind our lonely walls.
The key to reconciling
Someone must build a bridge instead. A bridge crosses over a gap, closes in a chasm, connection two separated bodies.
Bridges are not as easily built as walls. I’m no engineer, but I know it takes one to design and construct a bridge that is strong and safe. Imagine a world without bridges; the separation and isolation that would exist without them.
You and I will continue to live in the tension of love and pain this side of heaven. We will hurt one another despite our best intentions, but perhaps the greatest threat to our fellowship and mended relationships is our pride. Our pride wants the other person to do the work of building the bridge. Our pride convinces us to stand behind the wall, refusing to move and waiting for the other person to give in first.
How many times have you sat, arms crossed, brow furrowed, unwilling to take the first step toward reconciliation? I know how miserable that can be. Bridge building takes work, but living behind walls of anger and resentment is not really living. When we choose to loosen our grip on our pride, our need for justice and our obsession with being “right”, we find freedom and peace.
Recently, my son and I have been butting heads. It has been conflict at every turn, and I honestly found myself just avoiding him. Of course, he is not mature enough to assess the situation and decide how to close the gap between us, but I was being prideful and obstinate, refusing to do the hard work of fellowship. With this sweet boy, one smile or hug from me can be all that’s needed, but I felt myself keeping him at arm’s length.
Walls of Pride
It was my pride. I finally let go, and took a step toward him and he met me with open arms. Some relationships are not so easily reconciled, I know. Sometimes being the one to make the first move toward healing can seem like the hardest thing you’ve ever done. But it’s always worth it.
God’s word says,
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18 The Message puts it this way, “Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”
Build a Bridge
In other words, do the work. Do all that you can to restore broken relationships. Take the first step by letting go of your pride. Bring healing to what’s broken with loving words and forgiveness. Let go of selfish ambition, the need to be right, and pursue fellowship so that God can give his grace freely through you to those you love. We can not love a broken world from behind walls of disunity, anger, and resentment.
Jesus was our ultimate example of reconciliation, our bridge to the Father. He stands in the gap of our depravity inviting us into fellowship with him and then with one another.
Is there a broken relationship in your life today?
Will you take the first step?
Build bridges today.