On a short hike through the hillsides of Pittsburgh the other day, I came across this 150-yard-long rock wall. The large structure has many boulders that must weigh several tons each. This barrier is in the middle of nowhere; at least, nothing surrounds it today. As I walked along the top and spied a snake or two, I wondered, who built this thing and why? I imagine it took a great deal of effort, sweat, and planning to create. I don’t know if someone built it to keep something in or out, or both. Regardless, here it sits, a remnant of days gone by, and no one cares if the wall is here or not. It may have done its job in the day, but it does nothing now, except provide a place for snakes to absorb the warmth of the sun, bees to make nests, and plants to hold on to for stability.
As I took some time out of my hike to sit and ponder the wall with my new snake friends, I compared the manmade walls of Christianity that we have built over the centuries. There are rules and regulations on church dockets from years past that are nothing short of ridiculous and humorous at best, and despite the committees it took to form them and the infighting parishioners went through to create them, few care that they are there today. They are useless old walls, which, unfortunately, have done their job. These manmade barriers to eternal life with Jesus Christ are desperately sad and disturbing, and Jesus spoke against them continually. As Alex Himaya wrote, “Jesus hates religion” or man-breathed rules. Many of these hurdles impeded those who were earnestly seeking answers.
Hunters of truth who were turned away because they did not fit into a human-made structure.
I wonder how many simply stopped trying.
How many people simply moved on, assuming they weren’t good enough for God because they weren’t good enough for humankind?
|The wall from space,|
Beyond those manmade ‘clay tablet’ rules that Jesus despises, how many parents, grandparents, and churchgoers have thrown up similar walls? The most perplexing to me are those who continue to trumpet their ignorance or fear of answers by saying, ‘it’s a sin’ or ‘it’s not right to ask questions about one’s faith’. If we don’t or can’t ask questions:
How do we learn? How do we grow? How do we know God better?
God told us to “test the spirits” 1 John 4:1
That means, ‘Ask questions’!
I wonder how many times a student, son or daughter, or those on the “outside” couldn’t see over the well-constructed rock wall of religion and missed the relationship. I know this; nature despises a vacuum and will always fill a void. If seekers of truth don’t or can’t ask us, they certainly will seek their answers elsewhere. The world happily gives them the answers they seek, and gladly fills the void.
I could recount many life stories that I have heard where the person at a young age sought truth, but ran into a self-righteous wall of fear or disinformation never to return. We need to stop building walls and start building relationships that bring people to dynamic life in Christ. Clothes, tattoos, cars, houses, jobs, education, looks, athleticism, smells, ignorance, actions, God haters, etc. We can’t let any of those offend us to the point of building a wall that Jesus is trying to tear down. I was a God hater until the age of twenty-seven. I am grateful someone did not build a wall that I could not get over, like so many in my life had already done. Lisa Shores saw me for what I was, despite my adamant belief to the contrary: a man in need of a Savior.
Be a wall destroyer, not a wall builder.
“Human pride will be humbled, and human arrogance will be brought down. Only the LORD will be exalted on that day of judgment.” Isa. 2:17
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