Friday, April 25, 2014

Bridging The Gaps

Thinking this morning about 'heart wedges'... gaps that form or are forced to form between people that were once close but cease to be at some point. How do these separations form? Can they be mended or prevented?

"Wealth makes many friends, But the poor is separated from his friend." - Proverbs 19:4 NKJV

Resources play a part in this process. Some people have vast relational resources and others have little. That is one factor. Separation happens when the resources run out.

There are also boundary issues which can be very complex and invisible. One party may not know the real consequences of passing into territory that the other party sees as unacceptable.

The garden of Eden is our original and most profound example of separation.

"And the woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'

But the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate...

He said, 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?'

The man said, 'The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.'

Then the LORD God said to the woman, 'What is this that you have done?'

The woman said, 'The serpent deceived me, and I ate.'...

Then the LORD God said, 'Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever -' therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life." - Genesis 3:2-6, 11-13, 22-24 ESV

Wow. there is so much here in just these few excerpts. God is a holy God and his boundaries are just. He was right and we were wrong. We still are much of the time... wrong with God and wrong with each other. We step over invisible lines and gaps begin to form.

The thing God used was a bit strange wasn't it? A tree. Where is the right and wrong in eating from a specific tree? In a way it is not so clear cut. It needs explanation.

Forgiveness has a big role in maintaining closeness and restoring it again. Like the tree it has elements that have no clear moral connection per se.

"Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called 'the uncircumcision' by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands - remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility." - Ephesians 2:11-16 ESV

The blood killed the hostility. The labels of 'us' and 'them' are taken away. Christ's blood purely represents forgiveness. Life that is rightfully hidden and inside a person is exposed to the open air and poured out on purpose.

A part of us recoils at that exposure.

A holy God cut us off and with good reason. But, That same holy God reconciled us in a way that separation is not possible anymore. Once reconciled to God by the blood of His Son we are brought permanently near... near as far as He is concerned anyway.

"As it is written, 'For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8:36-39 ESV

God's methods give us great insight into our relationships. We are made in His image after all.

God revealed grace and truth in His Son. Jesus proved to us by example that even dead relationships can rise again if there is a place for the forgiveness He provides.

I want God to teach me and open my eyes so that gaps can be filled between relationships. The separations no longer have to form in my mind if I see the blood of Christ as my resource and not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

We are made ministers of reconciliation. All of us are... if we have the spiritual resources to be.


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