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Breaking Down Fences

Breaking Down Fences

Blessed are the peacemakers
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What a heart knows by heart—is what a heart knows.

And one night in the dark, my heart kept pounding out the memory of the Sermon on the Mount: "Blessed are the peacemakers—for they will be called children of God."

If I didn't live peace—then whose child was I?

I had to get out of bed. Had to change things. I tapped out an email to a person whose words had bled me open that day. My fingers trembled. I sent an invitation to dinner. Not a rebuttal, not an explanation, not a defense. I invited their whole family to come over and sit across the table. Instead of having a break down or breaking fellowship, I asked if we could break bread.

When I saw their responding email, I closed my eyes and I prayed hard and I was shaking scared when I opened their words because you don't know when a fence might be built up or torn down.

I read the words there on my screen:

"I want to send you an apology . . . Something happened inside of me when I saw your name in my inbox.

I had neglected to remind myself—that you are a real person and, not only that, but a sister in Christ.

I can't deny that somewhere in my mind lurks this insider and outsider kind of thinking which somehow encourages me to extend greater courtesy to one group than another."

I put my hand on the screen and laid my head down on the table and I cried.

The Body of Christ has a thousand angry opinions, a thousand fractions and divisions and circles, all these cliques of circles, all these walls. But none of us are not broken.

And acknowledging our own brokenness is what makes high walls between people crumble. Because when you are broken—it's always your pointing finger that is broken. You can't point at anyone else anymore as the only sinner.

Brokenness breaks us from our need to be "right" and breaks us open to our need to extend the grace we have been given.

Is Christ divided?

Puritan Richard Baxter in his work The Reformed Pastor brazenly wrote:

"He that is not a son of Peace is not a son of God. All other sins destroy the Church consequentially; but Division and Separation demolish it directly . . ."

Division and separation demolish the Church directly. If you want a field to yield, you have to tear out the fences.

We are the women who take seriously enough the commandment of the Last Supper to love one another that we invite someone to our table from the other side of the fence. We are God's children who break bread together to break down walls.

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Displaying 1–3 of 6 comments

Martha Paxson

August 26, 2013  8:57am

I love the beauty and challenges of Ann's words. I have read her book, 1000 GIFTS, and it makes me think, think, and think some more.

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mabel wayne

August 24, 2013  7:37pm

We are told to forgive not to change. Leave the other person to God.

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Brenda

August 23, 2013  7:12pm

Anonymous: Yes, we are to forgive others from our heart, and in return, God forgives us all of our sins. Yeah! I want that! Hwever, RECONCILIATION is NOT REQUIRED until the offender admits they're wrong and have the desire to not repeat that behavior. In other words, if they're truly sorry they hurt you and will work from that point on to NOT hurt you-- then you can reconcile with that person. But, until they repent with compunction, we are not required to continue to interact with a person who doesn't care if they continue to hurt us or not. After all, God has called ALL believers to put on the new man. We are all to change to become better. NO ONE gets a free pass to remain obstinate and hurtful to others, especially in the faith. Please see LUKE 17:3 "Be taking heed to yourselves,-- If thy brother sin, rebuke him, And, if he repent, forgive him." Rotherham's Emphasized Bible. God doesn't want us to be hurt by another believer's callousness. We are all to change to become like Jesus

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