When barriers hurt us

I walked through passport control at Heathrow airport yesterday, clutching my burgundy colored passport with the words European Union, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in gold letters emblazoned across the top.

Signs directed me one of either two ways through UK Border Control.

I moved swiftly through the “UK/EU Passports” line. “All other passports” progressed more slowly.

This experience is likely to change following the historic Brexit referendum last week when fifty two per cent of the British people clinched the vote to leave the EU.

The outcome has shaken me to the core.

I’ve always thought of myself as British, European and a global citizen.

One reason cited for leaving the European Union is so the UK can strengthen its borders. This, it is thought, will make the country safer, stronger, and solidly British.

Yet, each of us needs to ask if putting up barriers is the answer to our fears.

We need to consider that building up barricades leads to tearing down of relationships.

It’s natural to feel more comfortable with people like ourselves. However, we should not set boundaries to shut out others just because they are different. Being on the outside can make you feel insignificant and unimportant.

A barricade blocks your acceptance, unless you meet the requirements. I learned this lesson this week.

Tempted to treasure my work, I created hoops for people to jump through before they had access to my writing. Yet, the work I do is not mine to prize, it is a gift to give.

God does not require us to pass any tests. Access to him is free and clear. No barriers. No demands.

Jesus said “follow me” because if we do, we can walk freely into God’s presence.

Jesus said “follow me” because we are to imitate him.

When we exclude those who are different from being our neighbors or from sitting next to us in the pew, we are not like Jesus.

Jesus did not cross to the other side of the road to keep his distance. Jesus did not look down his nose in disgust. Jesus did not harbor hatred in his heart.

Jesus walked up and talked with a woman with differing theological views. Jesus had compassion on the woman whose morals didn’t match his own. Jesus embraced the woman as his daughter who had no one to vouch for her.

If you have been made to feel not good enough, then know Jesus welcomes everyone and ignores all barriers.

To become like Jesus, we have to behave like him.

Do you, like me, need to search deep inside and examine if you have built up barriers?

Linking up with Susan Mead at #DanceWithJesus, Kelly Balarie at #RaRaLinkup, Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart and Dawn Klinge at #GraceandTruth

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