I recently came across an anonymous quote which says, “People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.” There may be numerous other reasons as to why people are lonely but the importance of this quote is that as we interact with others it is important to build bridges as opposed to walls.
When we build walls in relationships, we do so in order to keep certain people out of our lives. When we build walls, we do so in order to keep a certain distance between us and others. When we build walls, we try to protect our vulnerabilities rather than risk the opportunities that we are missing.
Globally we have experienced the building and dismantling of walls that have separated societies or groups. The Berlin Wall was built in the early 1960s to separate the western world from the eastern world. In 1989, the Berlin Wall came down which led to the reunification of Germany and more interaction between the western and eastern worlds.
Recently, a symbolic wall was dismantled in Egypt as protestors demanded the resignation of their leader. There is no way to predict what will happen in the next six months in Egypt before scheduled elections, but it is apparent that the protestors were addressing the walls of corruption, low wages, unemployment, and poverty as they made their voices heard.
Although the church can be a place where walls are built to alienate some people and to protect the interests of others, our mission as followers of Christ is to build bridges not walls. If we can build and maintain bridges within the church we will develop and maintain healthy relationships. And if we can build and maintain bridges between those inside the church and those in the surrounding community, then we will develop a healthy sense of evangelism and outreach that is consistent with the kingdom.
People are lonely . . . people are alienated . . . people are oppressed because we build walls instead of bridges. As we continue the work of Jesus. Peacefully. Simply. Together, let us remember that such work involves building bridges and tearing down the walls that separate us.