"the walls come tumbling down"

If you perform a Google search for the Rwandan genocide, you'll encounter thousands of disturbing stories and graphic images. The most disturbing emerge from a church building in Nyarubuye, where between five and ten thousand Tutsis were murdered. The visual depiction of such gruesome violence in the one place where the victims thought they would be safe is horrific. BBC writer Fergal Keane viewed the scene and described "the rotting bodies . . . twisted terribly, faces frozen in the last terrible expression of violent death." Keane finished with the question we all ask: "How could men do this?"

We do this, the Bible tells us, because we are sinful and are tempted toward the vile bent to crush others who seem different from us or who are offensive to us.

In Ephesians, Paul wrote a letter bursting with overarching themes of sin, mercy, and grace (Ephesians 1:2-9). After painting broad brushstrokes of God's redemptive activity, however, Paul specifically stated how God's people were to live in His world.

The central social issue of Paul's day was the bitter conflict between the Jews and the Gentiles. This was not mere dislike, but true hatred. One first-century Jewish theologian stated this extreme view: "The Gentiles were created by God to be fuels for the fires of hell." And the Gentiles abused Jews at every opportunity.

"But now," says Paul, "you have been united with Christ Jesus" (v.13). Because of Jesus, the wall separating human from human has come crashing down.

Jesus intends to do this to every wall sin erects. The wall of resentment between husband and wife. The wall of anger between daughter and dad. The wall between Israelis and Palestinians, between Hutus and Tutsis, between rich and poor. Everywhere we find a wall of division, the mercy of Jesus will one day arrive with a wrecking ball.

--Winn Collier, Our Daily Journey

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