December 17, 2016

Bridge Builder

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 17, 2016

Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him.     2 Samuel 14:14

Sometimes, people do dumb, stupid, and even shameful things. Their unwise choices may have inflicted great harm and even compounded into calamity and crisis. They are foolish because they chose to inflict pain when they knew better. Sin has caused them to suspend their good sense and Biblical worldview for a season. It is a season of misery and messiness. They are confused, alone, and humiliated.

However, they may not be at a point where they’re ready to admit their mistakes, but deep down in their soul there is a wondering of how much they have disappointed God and those who love them the most. They feel confused, for sin does complicate matters. And now they are caught in a web of deceit that will not let them go. They have lost perspective and seem to be swirling down into a spiritual and a relational vortex. Not only are they estranged from their loved ones; they are estranged from their heavenly Father.

Separation from God is a lonely place. You can know for certain that your estranged loved one is conflicted, confused, and bitter. It is the love of God and your love that will bring them back to their senses. Sin has confused them and they have lost their bearings, but you know the way. It may take a third party to counsel you and coach you through this process of reaching out, but do not underestimate the effectiveness of your ability to build a relational bridge.

Relational bridge-building is not easy, and it takes time. But it can become necessary to woo the wandering one back home. Yes, they have made their bed, and now they are sleeping between its twin sheets of fear and insecurity. However, the bridge you are building leads to a bed of acceptance and peace. This current war of words is in need of a cease-fire. No one wins in a vicious and venomous volley of blame. Instead, a bridge-builder prays; he prays to first be changed. They accept blame and replace perceived rejection with action-oriented acceptance. A bridge-builder calls, writes, and sends gifts of encouragement and even takes the initiative to over-communicate. A bridge-builder seeks to understand and then love the estranged one at their point of need.

Maybe your child is living with an undesirable roommate. Reach out and get to know this person who is negatively influencing your son or daughter. By God’s grace, become the influencer of the influencer. Invite them into your home and love them to God. Let your home become a magnet of grace that draws them into a reminder of what’s good and right.  The bridge you build may not be crossed immediately. But just its presence speaks volumes to your availability, care, and compassion. One day, circumstances will unravel for your estranged loved one. When it does, you want your bridge of love and acceptance staring them right in the face. Stay faithful as a relational bridge-builder, just as the cross of Christ is God’s bridge to you. The cross you bear is your bridge to broken people. So, continue to pray and pursue this Christ-honoring outcome.

The Bible teaches, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18).

Prayer

Heavenly Father, give me the grace to give grace to those who are hard to love.

Application

What hard relationship requires my regular investment of time and love to earn the right to influence them?

Related Reading

Today’s reading is taken from Boyd’s most popular book: Seeking Daily the Heart of God, a 365 day devotional.

Post/Tweet today

Relational bridge-building is not easy, it takes time—and is necessary to woo the wandering one back home. #wisdomhunters #bridgebuilder

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