Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April 18, 2013

'He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him he iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished." Isaiah 53:4-8
The "Me to We" soulshift is a shift from building barriers to building bridges.
By nature we build barriers instead of bridges.
If you own a home you probably have a fence around your back yard. Your fence sends the message, "Everything inside this fence belongs to me!"
Fences have pros and they have cons. While they keep some things in they also keep some things out. They keep strangers from wandering into your yard, but they also keep friends from coming in. If it is a privacy fence it prevents people from looking into your yard, but it also keeps you from looking out. Fences have a certain beauty and a serve a purpose but they also are expensive and require a lot of maintenance.
Unfortunately, not only do we build fences to protect our houses but we often build fences around our hearts because we feel the need to protect them, too. Sometimes these fences are constructed intentionally but more often they are put up subconsciously.
Often it happens when we mentally size up others with "ME" questions like these:
1) How is this person like me?
2) How is this person different from me?
3) How am I better than this person?
4) How much should I trust this person?
5) How much can I benefit from this person?
In the very process of uploading these questions we begin considering where we need to stake out our boundaries and construct fences.These fences become barriers to intimate and meaningful relationships in our families, our workplaces and in our churches, in other words, the places where belonging is most necessary and needed.
Amazingly, Isaiah tells us that Jesus refused to construct any barriers to protect His self from those who were a mortal threat to Him. Rather, He submitted to the will of His Father and let the power, grace and love of the Father be His protection as He died to remove the need for fences.
This morning prayerfully consider, "Do I tend to build barriers or bridges?"