Big Bad John stood back, looked at the wall, and admired his handy work. The wall was coming along very nicely. Almost three meters tall and three bricks thick, it provided a good solid barrier between his property and Kind Compassionate Ken next door. On the other side of the wall, however, Kind Compassionate Ken looked out of his window in despair. He didn’t know what he’d done to upset Big Bad John, if he’d done anything at all. But still that wall—that barrier—was a constant reminder that no matter what he did, Big Bad John would have nothing to do with him at all.
Indeed it seemed that every time that Kind Compassionate Ken tried to do something to be kind, or to try to be friends, all Big Bad John would do would be to check for gaps in the wall, repair it where necessary, and add another row of bricks to its height. For Kind Compassionate Ken it seemed an impossible situation where only a miracle could change what was happening. And that’s exactly what happened.
Because one day Big Bad John was checking his wall for cracks, and gaps, and adding yet another row of bricks, when all of a sudden “bang!” part of his wall came crashing down, right on top of Big Bad John. In his haste to add another line of bricks, he’d got the mix of the cement wrong. And you know what happened then.
Now Kind Compassionate Ken heard the bang. And even though he knew what Big Bad John would likely do (he’d respond by making the wall even thicker and higher still), he raced out of his front door, came around the wall, and came to Big Bad John’s rescue. And boy did Big Bad John need rescuing.
In no time, Kind Compassionate Ken checked that nothing was broken and that he wasn’t bleeding, and got Big Bad John to sit up on the pile of rubble. And even Big Bad John couldn’t help but say, “Thank you.” But knowing the way he treated him, he asked Kind Compassionate Ken why he had come to his rescue at all. After all, Big Bad John just couldn’t understand why someone he had mistreated so badly could really care. But he obviously did, and it made all the difference in the world to Big Bad John.
It made Big Bad John think about his wall, and how he had been so horrible. It made Big Bad John realise that he needed to change his ways; he realised he needed to do something about that wall. And, do you know what? He did. But he didn’t bulldoze the whole wall right away. No, but he did make a small hole in it, so that he and Kind Compassionate Ken could see and talk to one another—just a bit. Then as their friendship grew over time, the hole got bigger and bigger; the height of the wall has got lower and lower, and the thickness of the wall has got thinner and thinner too.
Of course, Big Bad John still has a long way to go, but now the wall is only one and a half metres tall and only one brick wide. So he really has come a long way.
Of course, the moral of this story is that it is easy to get upset with people, and overreact to the things that people do and say. It’s easy to build walls between us and other people, to keep them out. Similarly it’s very easy to build a wall between us and God to keep him at a distance too. But that’s not how it is supposed to be.
Indeed, the Apostle Paul tells us, that when Jesus died, he broke down the dividing wall between Jews and Gentiles, and between us and God. In other words he removed the barriers that we build so that we can keep others out.
And if he did that for us, imagine what would happen if we tried to break down the walls that we have with other people. Of course doing that may not be easy, and it may be a bit scary, at first. But with the walls that we build, we shouldn’t wait until there is a major disaster (like Big Bad John) before making the first move.
Posted: 25th September 2016
© 2016, Brian A Curtis