July 18th 2011
“People always say you should stop smoking, but God’s gotta take his time, I’m working on it, I’ve done away with drugs and alcohol, I’m a work in progress” – Anonymous
Walls have always had a major purpose in society, Judah was surrounded by walls that were supposed to protect the city-state, In Berlin after world war Two there was the Berlin wall that was meant to separate the Communists and the Democratic governments. There was a figurative wall there two called The Iron Curtain which again separated Soviets and Democrats. In the city walls and fences are put up for privacy, we have one of those on my own building. All these walls have the same theme and underlying purpose, to keep people out. Like the walls of our houses keep out the elements (most of the time.) But with the wall around Judah and the Berlin Wall there is another similarity, they came down, as do the walls that we build in our cities eventually.
In our own lives we put up walls too, you’ve probably heard me talk about my wall of accomplishments that I front when meeting new people. The walls purpose is to keep people from getting close and to make people like me, of course I’ve discovered this summer that people like me better when I’m real. There are other walls we build too, walls of pain, when serving in Dallas I remember the general attitude a lot of the kids displayed was “You can’t understand my pain so don’t even talk to me.” I’ve put up my own walls of pain, an angry fasaude meant to chase people off and again to keep them from possibly touching me.
Walls are also two fold as in they can come from both people in a relationship. Part of my Messiah Trapping is the rescuer, if I constantly put up the wall of the rescuer and someone puts up the wall of pain to keep the rescuer from rescuing them they are going to push against each other and cause friction. However when both people are real and show their brokenness without walls then both people are going to benefit from the experience.
In homeless ministry one of the walls that has to be broken through is a wall of Stereotypes. I was raised all my life believing (and this wasn’t my parents it was me) that people who smoked, drank, had intercourse before marriage, did drugs and other stuff couldn’t possibly be Christians. It’s true that the Bible speaks against these activities because they bring harm to God’s temple (our bodies) but working at Christ’s Body has taught me that addictions don’t define your Christianity. Every day we get Christians in at Bible Study who , when they leave after lunch, are going to smoke, drink, do drugs and sell themselves for money. Now, not all of them are doing this, there are a lot of them who are trying to get their lives straightened out. In homeless ministry these two fold walls, the wall of stereotypes and the walls of pain can cause friction, we as ministers have to get over our walls of Stereotypes and even our walls of pain (and my wall of accomplishments) and be real and that will be disarming to those we are ministering too.
John Moorehead the Pastor at Christ’s Body has told me multiple times as I prepared for bible study several weeks ago and prepare my sermon for Sunday night “Just be real, they can tell if you’re being fake and they won’t listen to you, they can really tell when you’re being real”
I wonder what the world would be like if we could share out stories wall free; I have a feeling we would be really uncomfortable but what we would gain out of each other would be incredible. I must admit to you my friends that this is new territory for me, I’m so used to my walls that I don’t really want to give them up. But if that’s what God has called us to do, to put down our shells and be real with one another sharing our hurts, our hearts and our pains!