Build A Bridge
Sin divides. The sin of racism divides people of different ethnicities. The sin of selfishness divides spouses, sometimes even leading to divorce. The sin of resentment can separate a grown child from his parents. The sin of pride can separate someone from every relationship in his life. Often we can overcome these divisions by building a relational bridge. Christians are called to be Christ’s ambassadors. That means we offer peace and love whenever possible. The question is how do we build bridges relationally even with those with whom we disagree?
One, practice humility. Where there is a division, do not assume it is the other person’s fault. Pray a dangerous prayer and ask God to reveal to you, your part of the division. The Scripture tells us to “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2). Despite our pride’s horror at such an idea, humility really is the way forward.
Two, believe the truth. I am thinking of two Biblical truths in particular. First, every person is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). This means no matter how much someone frustrates or aggravates us, they are valuable. Second, the Scripture tells us that God so loved the world that He gave his one and only son (John 3:16a) for us, to save us! No matter who stands in front of you; they are so precious that Jesus offered Himself for them. That person is worth the effort to overcome whatever division has occurred.
Three, listen. We learn nothing when we are talking. We learn much when we listen; particularly if someone has had a very different set of life experiences. Read widely; I make a point to read books by authors I disagree with or even make me mad occasionally. They may not change my mind but they make me think; isn’t that valuable? Step out of whatever echo chamber of media you are currently in. Listen to the actual person that you disagree with, not some caricature of that group or individual.
Four, pray. Honestly, with many people unity seems impossible. I am a Christian; it never ceases to shock me that we are broken into thousands of denominations. Thousands, really? Jesus Himself prayed that we “may be one” and that we be “brought to complete unity” (John 17:20-23). When it seems hopeless I know of no better strategy than to pray. We serve a miracle working God, a holy Trinity who lives in perfect unity. Maybe someday, we will look more like our Father.
For now, I encourage you to build a bridge to someone. Someone different. Someone you consider difficult. Like many of you I waited for the University Avenue bridge to be complete. That bridge, like all bridges, is costly and time consuming. Yet, we still build bridges because where we are going is worth the effort. I assure you that Jesus would tell you that whoever you are divided from, is worth it. Whenever possible, build a bridge.
Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church