Whether it’s the Berlin wall, the Great Wall of China, Israel’s West Bank Wall or the Walls of Alamo, walls have always been built to mark borders, protect kingdoms or keep out unwanted people.
Walls are prevalent in the Bible as well. The Walls of Jericho (that came tumbling down), the Jerusalem Wall (which Nehemiah rebuilt), and all the fortified cities with high walls and gates which were conquered by Moses and the Israel army led by Joshua.
We use walls in apartment complexes, hotels and high rises to section off businesses, office areas and living quarters. We use walls in our homes to section off different living spaces such as bedrooms, bathrooms, garages, etc. Walls protect us from the extreme cold or heat from the outer elements along with unwanted critters. Walls bring a sense of security, safety and privacy. Even tents have walls; RV’s, cars, airplanes all have walls. We need walls!
But walls also act as barriers. You can hide behind walls. You can be different behind walls. As the saying goes, “Who are you behind closed doors?” That’s the real you! The true colors of a person are revealed behind walls. The integrity of a person is not really what (or who) we see out in the open it’s the person inside; the person behind the wall.
Individualism has always been an American ideal and part of the “Western” culture. We love privacy and alone time. The advancement in technology has greatly influenced individualism. We love our “I” phones, “I” pads and “I” Macs. Technology brings everything to us. These days we don’t even have to leave the home. Everything can be delivered right to our doorstep, even food! We can stream movies, videos, any and all data these days. We can stay connected with the world while sitting in our closet. We have zoom meetings, Facebook, Instagram and a host of other social media apps designed to get you connected, yet it feeds the individualism of our culture driving us further and further from personal contact and face to face conversations. “Technology makes life easier.” We have more time for ourselves and we don’t have to think as much. Technology creates robots to do the work for us. Have you seen how everyone tends to have their noses in their phones these days? I wonder who’s the robots? Albert Einstein said, “Why does this magnificent applied science which saves work and makes life easier bring us so little happiness? The simple answer runs: Because we have not yet learned to make sensible use of it.”
Covid has wrought havoc catalyzing our individualistic tendencies. Offices are closing down at alarming rates. According to the latest report from small business resource review site Digital.com, 69% of American businesses have permanently closed some or all of their office spaces since the onset of the coronavirus crisis, with another 39% planning to do so in the next six months. What do you think that will do to our office real estate across the country? More abandoned buildings, which affects the economy, which will affect me and you. What about the unforeseen social issues that develop through non-human interaction? Everything has been affected by Covid, including how we react and socialize with one another in stores, restaurants, hospitals, schools, churches, etc. Face to face interaction are at a minimal these days. Hugs? Out of the question. Division? THRIVING!
Yes, as scary and life-threatening as Covid is, the real plague we’re facing is individualism. Individualism focuses on self. It is self-made, self-centered and self-absorbed. It’s extremely “me” driven and self-ish. The world condones individualism saying you need to call the shots, you do it your way. Rebellion is applauded these days. But that goes against the very core of our nature and being created in the image of God. Individualism is the opposite of relationship. We were created for relationships; first with God and then with others… “It’s not good for man to be alone…”
Individualism began in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve decided to do things their way and please themselves. What happened after that? They hid from God. Sin brings guilt, fear, animosity and shame; it builds walls to hide behind. Sin breeds individualism.
Satan has always opposed loving relationships because that’s how he can get people to distrust, disagree, hate and fight with God and one another. Psychologists can trace individualism to certain traumatic events or relational deficiencies of your past? Loving and nurturing relationships are taught first through parents and family, secondly, through peers and thirdly, through leader/mentor figures. The fewer loving, caring or nurturing relationships a person has in their life, the more walls go up. Traumatic events also bring fear, pain, and anxiety causing walls to go up. All our interactions in the world will make and break us. We tend to separate ourselves from things we feel threaten us. That’s where the “walls” of individualism come into play.
My friend, Jesus wants to tear down these walls. He wants us to be free and to be all that He created us to be. The Apostle Paul tells us that Jesus came to tear down the dividing walls of hostility between Jew and Gentile making the two groups, one (Eph 2:14-18). In the same way, we are all one in Christ. So let’s tear down the walls of individualism within our churches… the dividing walls of opposing doctrinal views, spiritual giftings, those of high social status or those dealing with certain sins and addictions. What about the dividing walls between republicans and democrats, social issues (BLM, CRT, LGBTQ, etc.), Covid mandates (vaccine or not). These are all issues that Satan uses to divide God’s church. Let us tear down the walls of denominationalism, racism and nationalism. It’s no longer Jew or Gentile, black or white, male or female, Baptist or Lutheran or Pentecostal or Presbyterian. It’s no longer us and them. We are all human. We all need Christ. We all need love and nurturing. We all have walls of hostility that we have put up. It’s time for the church to repent of our demands for everyone to see things our way. Our Christian walls of hostility has become a stench. MR. CHRISTIAN, TEAR DOWN THESE WALLS!
God help us! I know I have my walls. With your help I can tear down these walls. Help me to remember I have died to that old life of guilt, shame and hostility and have been raised to this new life in Christ. Help me to build loving, caring and nurturing relationships where people can experience you. Help me to look past those with opposing views and to love them as you would. Help us Lord, to tear down these walls.