Building bridges takes more than structurally-sound triangles and a solid blueprint. In this case, it demands intentionality, surrender, grace, deep love, and true [splagchnizomai] compassion. It requires stepping outside yourself and comfort zone. Meeting your neighbors. Living out the gospel. Loving
even, especially, when it’s hard.
Anne is sharing her family’s story over at Front Porch Inspired in her 31 Days: Bridge Building series. It’s day 23 and if you haven’t been following it, you should definitely start. She’s covered everything from being their own “island of misfit toys” and what it feels like to be on the fringes, to contextualizing relationships to meet people where they are at.
Here’s a little diddy from here post yesterday, Be a Neighbor:
I heard a story the other day about a man who had written off a church in his city.
“I live a few houses down from that pastor, and I can’t even get the guy to have a conversation with me,” he said as his explanation to why he wouldn’t attend the church.
His comment has rolled around in my head for some time because, in it, I heard his cry for arelationship. And, it intrigued me that when going to church was mentioned to this man, his first expectation was actually relationship; when basic elements of a relationship weren’t met, he lost trust in church in general and backed away.
And what do we make of that, fellow Christians?
Does it help to better our sound system or dig deeper theologically or pave the parking lot if none of that translates into a type of living that reflects Jesus to our neighbors?
I wonder if we Christians don’t miss the forest for the trees when we labor over certain passages, meet in small groups over them, research the words in their original languages – only to discover that when Jesus said love your neighbor, He meant love your neighbor.
Let’s not miss the obvious truth that we should be friendly, relational folks who, at the minimum, have conversations and friendships with our neighbors. Let’s not analyze the simplicity out of the call to love – to love neighbors and strangers and immigrants and refugees and children and families, as many and as much as we can.
Building relational bridges means being a good neighbor, one who chooses to engage and share life with a variety of people.
Because bridge-builders understand that community has been God’s idea from the beginning and when we seek to build it, we align ourselves with His divine work. Community allows people to experience being Loved, and community points people to Jesus.