NOTE: This is a reprint of a previous blog in my archives-I just felt it so important to think about again this year..TJ
Breaking Down the Walls
Ephesians 2:14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. 15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.
The aforementioned scripture is mainly written about the relationship between the Jews and the Gentiles.
They were so different in their traditions and their upbringing. Now the situation is that both groups were turning to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins but their differences from their past was causing a wall of separation to be set up between them.
God went to great lengths to see that people get along. He will do the same for us because loving relationships are important.
Here is a story I shared with the United congregation on Sunday:
Sometime back we are told the American Red Cross was gathering supplies medicine, clothing, food, and the like for the suffering people of an African drought and civil war. Inside one of the boxes that showed up at the collection depot one day was a letter. It said, “We have recently been converted and because of our conversion we want to try to help. We won’t ever need these again. Can you use them for something?” Inside the box were several Ku Klux Klan sheets.
This particular group had come to know the love of Christ and had disbanded, and they sent their robes, their white sheets, to the Red Cross. Quite significantly, the Red Cross cut the white sheets into strips and eventually used them to bandage wounds of suffering black people in Africa. (5) Now that is a conversion that would thrill the heart of God.
So my question today is: Who is it that you are at odds with? Why does this kind of relationship exist? God can give you the strength and power to forgive someone or a group of people. God will help you knock down walls.
In closing, here is a fabulous story of how one man made friends with his enemies:
Wallace Hamilton once told the story of a Christian farmer who raised sheep. But he had a serious problem. His neighbor’s dogs would, from time to time, get into his sheep pen and injure or even kill one of the sheep. The farmer went to talk with his neighbor but his neighbor didn’t do anything about it. So the farmer thought, the next dog that attacks my sheep will be a dead dog. But he knew that was wrong. His next thought was to sue the man. But Paul makes it clear in the 6th chapter of 1st Corinthians that Christians don’t sue Christians. “I’ll build a wall,” he thought, but that would have been expensive. He didn’t have that kind of money. And besides, walls are such ugly things.
Finally he prayed, “Lord, what should I do about my neighbor’s dogs?” Then that night the answer came to him. The next morning he went out to his sheep. He selected two baby lambs and he took those lambs to his neighbor’s house and gave them to his neighbor’s daughters as pets. The girls were thrilled (there is nothing cuter than a little lamb). His neighbor was thrilled because his daughters were happy, and since he now had sheep of his own to protect, he started controlling his dogs.