Have you ever stumbled into a relationship that turned into one that you truly cherish? That is what happened with Shelly Hollis. She sent a mass mail-out to several women’s ministers in our area that landed on my desk. Usually, I would look at something like that and toss it but not this time. I felt that small nudge to contact this woman, so I did. I usually feel awkward doing something like that but in this instance, God showed out big! I’ve had the opportunity to learn and minister alongside Shelly. I’m so excited to have her share with you today on the blog. To read more from Shelly Hollis you can visit her blog here.
I am going to ask you a very personal question, friends. Is there someone in your life to whom you need to extend forgiveness?
When the “incident” first happened, you didn’t think too much of the first brick, or even the first row of bricks, that was laid down. As a matter of fact, you may have even supplied some of the mortar that is now keeping that wall in place. But ow – oh now – you have a massive brick wall blocking the view and separating you from someone you once loved.
You have prayed for peace in the matter, but it just has not come. You have pounded on the wall, but it has not fallen. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:14 that Jesus Himself is our peace and that He broke down “the barrier of the dividing wall.”
What wall was Paul referring to in these verses? The reference is to a very real wall in the temple that separated the Gentiles into the “outer” court. The Jews fully believed that Gentiles would defile the temple if they entered and they even posted a sign threatening death to any Gentile who was bold enough (or stupid enough) to enter. It was truly a dividing wall of hostility separating two nations of people.
But Christ made things up for us in His flesh by dying on the cross and brought forgiveness of our sins. The cross was not just a great equalizer of Jews and Gentiles, it also created a whole new breed of Christ followers. In one felled-swoop, Christ symbolically smashed that dividing wall to pieces, “thus establishing peace” (Ephesians 2:15).
Goodness, don’t you wish Jesus could knock down the dividing wall for you right now?
Newsflash – He can! The bitterness and hostility that built the dividing wall between you and a loved one was built brick by brick. But when you are submissive to Christ, He can knock it down immediately for both parties. What does it take? It takes a lot of humility – maybe even some facedown time before Christ.
The choice is yours…you can choose to continue holding a grudge or you can choose today to reach across that wall and extend forgiveness, with all humility, and then watch it crumble.
What if our default response to people was forgiveness instead of grudges? We can choose forgiveness instead of getting mad and slinging mortar down on bricks and building walls!
If Christ was able to reconcile two nations into one new man by way of the cross, surely He can reconcile your relationship with your spouse, a friend, or a family member. Choose forgiveness today and let Christ be your peace and your demolition crew.
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32
Question: Where have walls been built in your life that hinder your freedom?