Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tearing Down the Barriers by Martin Wiles

On February 8, 1968, a barrier led to the deaths of 3 young men on the campus of a local university and to the injury of 28 others. Deaths and injuries that could easily have been prevented.

The above incident happened in my hometown of Orangeburg, South Carolina, and is now referred to as the “Orangeburg Massacre.” The melee began when the owner of All Star Bowling Lane decided to turn away nonwhites. Riots and demonstrations resulted, and this single racial barrier resulted in unnecessary deaths and injuries.

Though Paul claims Christ has removed the barriers that separate us, many still stand. For Christ himself has…united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us (Ephesians 2:14 NLT). Neither was the early church immune to them. Devout full-blooded Jews reacted against Gentiles and mixed-race Samaritans being accepted into the church. And Philip could have turned his back on the Ethiopian eunuch—a Gentile and possibly a black man.

Prejudice comes in various forms: racial, political, economic, gender, and regional. But when I realize all people are created equally and in God’s image, I can tear down these self-imposed barriers separating me from others. For whatever reason, God has created the differences that exist among individuals, and I must respect his decision. God’s love extends to everyone, and he sent his Son to die for all people. That in itself makes others worthy of my love.

Additionally, I, along with all of God’s children, will one day share eternity with all types of people. And there won’t be different sections to house the various races, nationalities, genders, or social tiers. We will all be one.

What barriers does God need to help you tear down that separate you from others?

Prayer: Dear Father, bind us together in a spirit of love and unity so we can unilaterally saturate this world with Your love.

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