Romans 15:2 – Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.
Our lives often seem to be about building up walls. We build walls of privacy to keep some people from getting too close or from knowing too much about us. We build walls to protect our emotions from the hurt that comes when we get too close to other people. We built walls of ego and accomplishments so that others will look at our magnificent wall and like us. We build walls to keep people out and we build walls to hold people inside.
But oh how fragile our walls really are when they come under attack! It sometimes only takes a simple word to rip down a wall that took someone a long time to build. I know a woman who can tear down a wall with just a look. And I know a professor who is so intimidating that he can walk into a room and students are busy trying to reinforce the walls that are crumbling in his presence.
But I do it too. I throw out a careless word or say something that I thought was funny only to find that it was TNT to someones wall. Instead of helping them build a good wall I have torn down what someone took a long time to carefully build.
Now it is true that walls can be bad. But it is not up to me to tear down someones wall. They have to start that process on their own when they are truly ready. A wall can be bad when it keeps us from dealing with a truth. A wall can be bad when it hides us from society. A wall can be bad if it conceals a problem that should be addressed. A wall can be bad if it keeps us from growing. And a wall can be bad if it keeps God from working in our lives.
A friend of mine stopped going to church. He had been coming regularly and then abruptly stopped. I went to talk to him and he was very evasive. But then he finally told me that I had hurt his feelings when I preached on fatherhood. Without knowing I had lobbed a grenade when I said something for a quick laugh in my sermon. I really had to work to build back our relationship… I even apologized at church.
I also remember a time when my own wall was damaged by someone at my weight loss meeting. I didn’t go back for a few weeks because I felt hurt. My efforts suffered because my wall was damaged by someone else. I realized later that it was a wall that need to come down. But I had to be the one to start taking it down. Then I would allow others to help.
So often in our spiritual walk with the Lord we say and do things that do not glorify God and do not help others to grow. So often we think it makes us look better than others when we tear others down but truly it makes us look small and petty. And it takes the spotlight off Jesus and puts it on ourselves.
We must learn to help others to grow in the Lord.
Dear God, I praise you for helping build me up and for sending people in my life to help me to grow. I ask you to help me be a builder in other people’s lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“Whatever good things we build end up building us.”
“Life is like the video game, ‘Tetris’. The players build you up just to tear you down again.”