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Building Bridges, Not Barriers

Building Bridges, Not Barriers
I am thankful for an outlet for writing, to let my thoughts flow freely.  

It has been now more than two months since the pandemic was declared.  The phrase, ‘stay home, stay safe’ has been etched in our minds.  It has begun to shape the way we live.  

I understand the caution.  I practice it for the sake of love for neighbor.  People whom I know and are close to me have had the virus, and got very, very sick.  We prayed.  One man has come out of an induced coma after six weeks on a ventilator.  I certainly do not what to throw all caution to the wind.

But what I also see is fear, a lot of fear and also panic.  I see it in people’s eyes.  Fear erects barriers and where there is fear, there can be no true love for neighbor.  Fear is often about self; call it ‘self-preservation.’   We might not be building high wooden fences around our yards but perhaps we are building fences in our hearts.

Since the pandemic began mental health issues, suicides have sky-rocketed.  So has drug and alcohol use. People are lonely already.  It’s becoming worse.   People have lost their livelihoods.

A person is more than just a physical entity, a collection of molecules.   A person is also an emotional being, a spiritual being, a social being.  This is the way God made us.  He didn’t make us to live in isolation. I heard one story where an 80-year old man has been living in his home, isolated for weeks. He finally called his young neighbor, ‘come visit me. I need to talk with someone! I’m going crazy!’

Again, I understand the social-distancing measures put in place, but fear is controlling the lives of many. What’s the way out of fear?   

Even as we practice social distancing, the narrative of our lives should be one of love, not fear.  Love builds bridges.  The Bible says it this way, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.”

When you come to know Christ, and God’s forgiveness of sin through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, your whole narrative changes.  There is hope, even in the face of death, “because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given us.”

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