Bridges and Walls: 5 Ways to Get and Keep Things Right with OthersApril 2, 2014
One small brick between two people rarely causes issues, but when a multitude of those bricks are gathered there is potential to build a great wall. In many relationships that is what happens–we use our differences to build walls. Brick by brick we become isolated and separated from one another. Each brick may be different in its makeup- (you may have bricks of jealousy, anger, bitterness, insecurity, etc.), but the outcome is the same. Before you know it years have passed, and one day you are staring at a cold, flat wall wondering what happened.
God does not want us to build walls in our relationships; He wants us to build bridges. Walls separate us; bridges connect us. Walls prevent us from moving forward; bridges afford us the opportunity to move ahead. Walls are difficult to climb; bridges help us get over troubled waters.
Let’s face it; bricks are a part of life. We will have stumbling blocks no matter who we are; but what we do with those bricks will determine the outcome of our relationships. Instead of building walls that keep us apart, we should find a way to use those differences to bring us closer together. Here are a few ways to build bridges instead of walls.
1. Realize That You Deal with Sinners (Yourself Included).
Walls are built in our lives because we hold others to an expectation that we, ourselves, cannot keep. We deal with people, who, everyday fall short of the glory of God. When we factor into our relational equations the reality that we all have a sin nature, we are more prone to have a spirit of forgiveness.
2. Understand that Your Way is not Always the Right Way.
That may be hard for many of us to swallow, but the older I get, the more I realize that I am not always right; I try to be (I actually try very hard to be, but I am not always on the money. Here’s a newsflash for humanity: there is only One God and you’re not Him.) Sometimes I make decisions on personal, selfish, and even trivial preferences. When it comes to our relationships we must realize that sometimes the other person may have a better way.
3. Be Willing to Teach Others with a Spirit of Humility.
Truth is truth and should not be compromised. Doctrinal principles and biblical precepts CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT be amended to gain the respect and applause of others. On these issues we must stand. But the reality is, sometimes we build walls unnecessarily because we are unable, or perhaps unwilling, to teach others with a spirit of grace and humility. This is true for family and ministry: love covers a multitude of sins.
4. Live in the Shadow of the Cross.
It’s hard to throw stones at others when our hands are occupied with the cross. The Gospel fixes everything. Bad relationships, prideful spirits, bitter feelings, and hostile attitudes fade away in the shadow of the cross-centered life. When you realize the bridge God built to find you, you will not be too quick to build walls to isolate others.
5. Keep Death in View.
I cannot tell you how many people I have seen over the years weep tears of regret and sorrow. They wanted to get things right, they wanted to extend forgiveness, they wanted to knock down the fortified wall of resentment, but it was too late. Don’t stand over a casket holding a brick. Get out the proverbial sledgehammer and start swinging. Take the pieces that remain and build bridges by the grace of God.