BUILDING NOT WALLS, BUT BRIDGES
by CHARLES ROBEY
(MOODY AL USA)
The young newcomer pastor was visiting his parishioner. Hoping to make a good first impression, he asked if he could read to her. Agreeing, she ask her son to go fetch the book, she loved to read so well. He went quickly, bringing back the Sears and Roebuck catalog.
How may we vesper? Some may religiously hug a tree or shuffle the cards. Others actually go straight to God’s holy Word for profitability, for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. (II Timothy 3:16-17)
Why the Scriptures, one may ask? Simply explained, all Scripture was divinely inspired. The Bible came from God through the men who wrote it. (II Peter 1:20-21) According to Dr. Charles Ryrie’s Scripture Notes, "God superintended these human authors so that using their individual personalities, they composed and recorded without error God’s Word to man. This inspiration, however, does not extend beyond the original manuscripts, though the text we possess today has been transmitted with high accuracy.”
BUILDING NOT WALLS, BUT BRIDGES
Retirement surely has its advantages. I’m usually up in the morning rather early. And the steps creak, as I retrieve the morning news. In the distance, the day continues from dark to light, as the porch light flickers on, at my command. The quiet of the morning silence is broken only by the sounds of my wife’s early morning cooking.
For me, this time is set aside to sit down, in the quiet of the early morning, just to spend a little time with Him before the day starts. God honors these minutes alone with Him on the back deck. Sedentary moments with Him, jointly laying out the agenda of the day, one small obedient step at a time. He doesn’t ask that we be perfect, only that we spend some time with Him. God’s heart must surely be moved when we make an effort to seek him. Kind of like a mom hopes for her teenager to cuddle up and talk like the olden days of toddler life. Yes, God’s heart is moved when we make an effort to seek Him with all of ours.
One of my pastimes now is taking advantage of the upcoming fall weather. I quietly sit on my back screened deck, relaxed and thinking. Oftentimes I'm in deep thought, other times I'm just sitting. You see, giving up on the television's recounting the cares of this old world have made a new man out of me, with the help of Alexa’s soft music, along with my readings of God’s Holy Word.
There goes the old Doris Day classic,” Que Sera Sera , Whatever Will Be, Will Be.” Why Alexa? Now, that’s not right, according to God’s holy Word, but its melody does make for a good relaxing tune anyway.
Oops, I feel another mystic dream or vision adventure coming on. I've been having a lot of those lately.
It was the most unusual experience of my long-lived life. Was it a dream, was it a vision, or something in between? I don’t know. I do know, however, I thought I’d never get there.
I found myself on an out-of-the-way lonely country road, attempting to move ahead. At every twist or turn of the road, there they were Walls, big walls blocking my pathway. I couldn’t go around on either side for the extreme undergrowth. 'What should I do?' I asked myself.
Out of nowhere, a man appeared, standing ever so harmlessly by my side. Our eyes met, but it seemed an eternity with us standing there, gazing at each other. “Who will speak first?’ I wondered.
Not saying a word, he reached over and removed what looked like a magic wand from his belt. That’s when it all mysteriously happened for me. Silently, he quickly moved over to the big wall.
'What on God's good green earth, does he plan to do? He surely can’t knock down this great wall?' I thought to myself.
That’s when it happened. Again, without saying a word, with one swift wave of his wand, the big wall instantly morphed into a big bridge.
Still in silence we serenely walked across the bridge and out the other side. The bridge traffic was heavy. There were many people, from all walks of life. Evolute people of prestige, prominence and character. Others seeming not as conformed to society. All grouped together carefully crossing the bridge.
'Just where did they come from, where are they going', I wondered out loud. Causing my mysterious guide to take notice, but again not saying a word.
We continued our journey together for what seemed like an eternity, him still refraining from conversation. As we strolled along the way, we continued to encounter a number of unpassable walls. Each time he mysteriously turned them into bridges by a sweep of his most powerful wand.
Suddenly, we came to the end of this most unusual journey, he and I. The road had ended, back where I first started. We were back to the beginning of the old country road. Still not saying a word, he returned his magic wand to his belt. By doing so, this gesture must have marked the final signal of our trip. Like his arrival, he suddenly disappeared.
Nonetheless, my wonderment had renewed my faith, for sure. Was it a dream, a vision, or something in between? It was a good “GOK” question, for God only knows!
” For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, while they slumber on their beds, then He opens the ears of men and terrifies them with warnings, that He may turn man aside from his deed and conceal pride from a man; He keeps back his soul from the pit, his life from perishing by the sword.” (Job 33:14-18)
Often in my adult years, I’ve felt on the outside looking in, due to some shifting choices I made regarding many perceived obstacles. Do I build a wall, do I build a bridge with respect to this and that?
Yes, changing a particular life situation or status can be very taxing at times. The question of building that wall, or bridge occupies my mind. Do I shut out this particular situation or do I allow it to enter my life, and possibly the lives of others? What will be the short term and the eternal results of my decision? Will it be criticism, and worse yet, the deafening silent treatment, the cold shoulder treatment?
What may bring it all about? What may this choice look like in the eyes of fellow Christians? You see, we don’t all think and act alike in any given situation, so then let us go directly to His Word.
“And we have this command from Him: The one who loves God must also love his brother and sister” (I John 4:21).
Now I ask you, what does it look like to love a fellow Christian who makes a life choice (that isn’t a sin issue) that’s different from yours? Well, I know what it doesn’t look like. It doesn’t look like a caustic or critical comment or behind-the-back gossip, even though it may appear to be building that proverbial wall, rather than a bridge. And it certainly doesn’t include that of a social media comment in anonymity designed to make someone else see that wall, rather than the bridge.
Pick up the phone. Reach out. Build loving bridges, not prickly walls. You’ll obey God’s command — and reflect His love — when you do.
It’s time for reconciliation not accusation. It’s time for reconciliation through love not justification of hate. It’s time to build bridges and not walls. Please read (II Corinthians 5:16-20)
Father, teach me to genuinely love and practically support others whose lives do not look exactly like mine. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR