When he was 3, my son told me when he grew up he was going to be a bridge. I thought he was talking jibberish until he explained that he wanted to have strong legs to hold up people who couldn’t stand up for themselves.
I believe with everything within me that my son will indeed be the legs for those whose own legs are weak. If he does, I will be the proudest Mamma on earth.
Recently I have been challenged myself to be a bridge. Not one of strength but one of reconciliation – a bridge between islands.
I have realised that the Christian church can be an island that has burnt its bridges with others over the years, for a host of reasons. Sadly, there has been much damage done in the name of religion, much hurt and heartbreak has been caused by those who go by the name of Christ follower. And that breaks my heart.
You see the more I read the bible, the more my faith becomes woven into every cell in my body – the harder I find it for anyone who believes to vomit out hatred or judgement or condemnation. The more I learn of the Jesus I follow, the more I see that he was opitimised by grace and love and acceptance. The man who reached out to islands of society that the religious people had shunned and shamed.
He never judged or condemned, but held and encouraged and engaged-with and loved.
I can’t see anywhere in the bible that it tells me that I am responsible for shaming anyone whatever their life choices, their habits, their lifestyle. Who am I???? Seriously, with all my faults to tell anyone how they should live?
And so I have decided that I will be a bridge… I don’t need a ministry or a group, all I’ll need is grace and acceptance. If you have been hurt because your island looked different to someone else’s – I’m sorry that happened to you. I’m sorry you were not met with love, as you would be if you met with the God who is love, and so pours out love. I’m sorry if you were bashed by bible verses rather than being swaddled in grace.
I know it sounds a little presumptuous of me to apologise of behalf of thousands of years of established church… I don’t mean it to be so… I just want someone somewhere to know that someone somewhere is sad that you were hurt along the way. Without agenda. I have no plan or ploy for you. I just wish the church was known for building bridges a little more than it often is.
Maybe you too would like to join me, whatever your faith, in making sure that we are careful with the people who grace our path.
That we are known for what unites us rather than what divides us… that we can celebrate each other rather than tearing down.